“This was our first in-person shared learning session for almost three years. There was a noticeable buzz in the room as teachers and partners were able to share ideas and inspiration with one another. It was incredibly refreshing.
“The event began with a input from Paul Fleming, Interim Head of Service – Education, Learning and Inclusion at Dundee City Council. Paul set the scene by reflecting how YPI links with so many of the priorities from which the Scottish Curriculum is built on, including the four capacities and DYW. He encouraged schools to reflect on why they choose to deliver the programme, and how it is supporting their aspirations for their students. On listening to Paul it felt like this is an opportunity to explore how schools are joining the dots, and linking YPI with all the existing priorities at school, local, and national levels focused on skills development, engagement with partners and employers, and citizenship education. We echo Paul’s sentiment and believe that it is only by doing this can we maximise the impact of the programme for students, and communities.
“Laura Sturrock, the YPI Lead Teacher from Webster’s High School, then reflected on their journey with YPI. Laura’s enthusiasm for YPI is infectious. Having started the programme in 2019, Laura shared how the school has adapted over the last few years to ensure YPI remained an important learning opportunity. She shared how they engage wider school staff in the process, through supporting the creative outputs and mentoring, and how this has been invaluable in embedding YPI in the school. Due to Covid-19, their Final Showcases have not looked quite like she initially planned but she is looking forward to an ‘all singing and dancing’ event involving the whole school community in the 2022/23 academic year.
“Following Laura’s input there was an opportunity for attendees to explore how they can maximise the impact of the programme in their school considering curricular embedding, wider school engagement, creativity, partnerships, legacy, and added value. It was so refreshing to hear teachers together sharing and learning with one another.
“The next section of the event was focused on third sector engagement, recognising that this is a pivotal part of YPI. Zoe Armbrust from Feeling Strong shared their drivers for engaging in the YPI process beyond the grant funding. She reflected on the capacity to raise awareness of social issues and the work the charity does, form school partnerships, and expose young people to the volunteering and employment opportunities in the third sector.
“DYW Tay Cities supported and hosted the event, recognising clear links between YPI and the DYW agenda focus on employer and third sector partnerships.
“Marnie Laidlaw, a YPI alumni, then gave a thoughtful account of her engagement of the programme. Having represented a mental health charity, Marnie explained how this has subsequently influenced her career direction as she is about to start mental health nursing.
“Recognising that charity visits can present some logistical challenges, we committed some time to looking at the common barriers to arranging meaningful charity contact and how these can be overcome. The resounding sense in the room was that the benefits the students receive from engaging with community partners far outweigh the challenges that coordinating visits and meetings present.
“We finished the event by reflecting on all the rich discussions that had taken place, and challenged attendees to consider what their takeaway from the event was and what they would go back to school and action. We encouraged them to consider why they deliver the programme and how it aligns with the school priorities and to ensure young people getting the most out of the process.
“We look forward scheduling more virtual and in-person events in the coming months.”
A summary of the discussions can be found here.