The Wood Foundation, manager and principal funder of YPI in Scotland, has been accredited by the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS) as a provider of professional learning and YPI has been endorsed by Education Scotland as a programme offering offering high-quality professional learning and leadership opportunities. Ryan Lynch, a PE teacher at Alloa Academy, shares his professional learning journey during his first year leading YPI at the school.
“When I was asked to lead the YPI programme in the school, I knew this was an opportunity for me to grow the programme’s prominence in the school. I have been at Alloa Academy for two years and this has been my first whole-school responsibility.
“Leading YPI has opened my eyes to its potential within our school, as well as to my potential as a learner.
“In preparation for taking on the responsibility for YPI, I attended a Practice Sharing Final at Dunblane High School. That was a great experience to see how different schools deliver the programme and the opportunity to share ideas and collaborate with colleagues from other schools in the region was advantageous.
“In June, I joined last year’s winning team at the National Event in Perth. The young people showcased on stage were inspirational and made me realise what our pupils should be aiming for through their presentations. It was also another great opportunity to meet other teachers and charity representatives.
“The Teacher Resource Guide was an invaluable tool and it felt like there was something holding my hand throughout the process which was particularly useful for my first year leading. The timeline, templates and other advice is absolutely fantastic.
“We review the programme in the months after its completion to capture ideas for next year. These will be further explored at the 2020/21 Programme Development Session. We are already in discussions with the Awards Network and will further explore the Strategic Resource to see what other opportunities can be aligned to YPI.
“This has increased my confidence to explore whole school ideas and interdisciplinary opportunities. It’s been great to enhance my skills in this area. It has given me a taste of management experience for a worthwhile cause and I am already proud of what we have achieved with YPI this year.”
A major focus for Ryan has been the development of a whole school ethos. Here he talks about some of the actions undertaken by Alloa Academy to align YPI to wider achievement and involve pupils and departments not undertaking the programme.
“I certainly drew inspiration from Dunblane’s delivery model for our final. We involved pupils from throughout the school with S3 presenting and S5 prefects managing our VIPs and judges. Our Junior Leadership team were also really involved with the process. This helped to create a real buzz about the programme.
“We held a charities fair which was open to S5 and S6. This has exposed S5 pupils to local issues and charities in the area a year before YPI so hopefully we will be beginning next year’s programme with pupils who already have an idea about what they would like to address and why. It was great to see how engaged the pupils were with the charities and some even signed up for volunteering.
“A big focus for us here at Alloa Academy is developing skills for work and life, alongside respect, ambition and resilience. YPI plays into each of these drivers. We do face issues in terms of pupil confidence, particularly in areas such as presentation skills. We are going to deliver a workshop in S5 and we hope this will be beneficial ahead of their YPI experience in S6. Our technical department is also involving S5 pupils in filming our finals, teaching them important digital and management skills which will feed into our school’s YouTube channel.
“YPI is a vehicle for change and we want to realise its full value for our school community. I am looking forward to seeing how we can further develop it next year and beyond.”