YPI has allowed the teachers at Tain Royal Academy to better understand and build relationships with their students. Angela explains, “We’re always amazed by how confident they are when they stand up and do their presentations, as well as at their creativity and the things they come up with. We also get to see our pupils in a different light – see the hidden skills and talents come out that you don’t see in a normal classroom. We have pupils that are normally very quiet in class and yet they will happily stand on stage and sing or play an instrument – you get to see them in a whole new way.
Reflecting upon the last five years of YPI at Tain Royal Academy, Amy and Angela know how important the timescale for the programme is. The schools starts the YPI programme at the beginning of the academic year and hold their final at the start of December, before any of the Christmas events start. This decision was made after their first year of delivery, when the final was planned close to the end of term however the schedule slipped resulting in the final being held in January – which caused a loss of momentum over the Christmas holidays. Amy explains, “You need to think about timescales and deadlines for your final if you want to maintain the enthusiasm and keep everyone motivated.”
Also, having a clear timeframe can support planning and the creation of a real buzz in the weeks leading up to the final. Amy continues, “Staff are always offering to support the final and add bits to the programme e.g. public speaking, design, music, we even have H.E. getting their pupils to do the catering and the technical department take the presentations and help the teams lay them out properly. There’s so many people who get involved and they really value YPI, they’re very supportive of it and talk very highly of the programme. Needless to say, the run up to the final can be quite stressful, so getting everyone on board is a great help, including the office support staff, canteen staff and janitors. As everyone gets to see the end product, they really value what we are doing and are more than happy to help out.
So, what would be the best piece of advice they’d give to anyone just introducing YPI to their school? “You need to set deadlines and have a clear timescale. From a teacher’s viewpoint, you also need to have someone to work with – even if it’s just as a sounding board, or for reassurance and to check your to-do list. Anyone working on their own on YPI would find it a challenge.”