School focus: Fir Vale School

Mugeet Qureshi and Chloe Haine
Mugeet Qureshi and Chloe Haine
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Gaining vital life skills is important for every youngster to learn during their school years.

Fir Vale School prides itself on giving pupils the very best opportunities to excel outside of the classroom.

Fir Vale School pupils

Fir Vale School pupils

Numerous scheme are run at the school which all students are given the opportunity to be part of and which help them to become more rounded individuals.

More than 30 year 11 pupils are part of the Cutlers' 'Made In Sheffield' programme which equips them with the skills needed for the world of work by connecting them with businesses and organisations.

Two strands of the scheme are run through the school - NHS and construction.

Successful applicants take part in various activities and challenges with employers and do work experience.

Pupil Fehzaan Gulfaraz

Pupil Fehzaan Gulfaraz

Claudia Clarke, Made in Sheffield project leader at the school, said the school started with the NHS strand in 2014 due to its close proximity to the Northern General Hospital.

Since then it has become the first school in the city to introduce the construction strand.

Mrs Clarke said: "It is a fantastic project to be part of.

"One of the initial things employers were saying was that pupils have the academic abilities for job but lacked the knowledge and skills to do the job.

Adil Hussain, Hadiyah Hussain, Ameena Hussain and Arafat Choudhury

Adil Hussain, Hadiyah Hussain, Ameena Hussain and Arafat Choudhury

"By doing the NHS and construction schemes, pupils are learning these transferable skills."

Year 11 pupil Ameena Hussain applied to take part in the Made in Sheffield construction scheme in when she was in year nine and takes part in activities every half term.

"We've been out on trips to see different development sites," she said.

Year 11 pupil Kamar Gubran has done work experience at the Norther General Hospital as part of the NHS scheme.

Fir Vale School pupils

Fir Vale School pupils

She said: "I always knew I wanted a career in health care but I didn't know what kind of jobs were out there and I didn't know there were so many different kinds.

"I found out about all the different opportunities available in the NHS."

The school is keen for students to develop their leadership and communication skills.

More than 35 year 11 pupils have become prefects and are given the responsibility of helping out at events and being role models for younger pupils.

Prefects Muqeet Qureshi and Chloe Haine recently became the school's head boy and head girl.

Their duties have included speaking to hundreds of people at the school's annual presentation evening and helping out at the year six open evening.

Chloe said: "I was really shy when I joined the school in year seven, but since then my confidence has grown.

"I was quite surprised when the teachers shortlisted me to become head girl.

"The role of head girl has really helped with my leadership skills."

Muqeet added: "When I did a speech at the presentation evening my heart was beating so fast, but it was really good in the end and I enjoyed speaking infront of so many people."

For the younger students, a pupil parliament has been set up so enable all youngsters to have a voice on school issues.

A group of year 10 pupils will meet regularly to discuss issues brought to them by younger group and present their findings to the school's leadership team.

Pupil parliament member Waris Ali said: "Our first meeting was about homework and revision and the next one is about gender equality."

Fellow parliament member Sabaah Rahman said: "The pupil parliament is about giving the younger students, year seven to 10, a chance of leadership to help the community and the school to improve."

Year 11 student Fehzaan Gulfaraz, like many pupils at the school, needed no encouragement to want to help others.

He is part of the school's charity team which is aiming to raise £500 for the Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity's Snowflake Appeal.

Having already helped to raise more than £320 for the hospital and Children In Need, Fehzaan is keen to do all he can and is busy persuading staff and local businesses to take part in the fundraising activites, which have included bake sales.

He said: "I care, especially for children, and I want to give them a better situation and make them happy.

"To make children smile is thanks enough."

To celebrate pupils' achievements the school recently held its annual presentation evening.

The sports hall was transformed and was packed with parents, staff, governors and special invited guests to celebrate the achievements of year eight to 11 pupils.

Specialist guest was The Lord Lieutenant of Sheffield Andrew Coombe, who presented the awards and GCSE certificates to the returning class of 2017.

Headteacher Simon Hawkins said: “Presentation Evening is a wonderful way to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work and achievement of pupils.

"I’m very appreciative of the extra work that staff do at Fir Vale to help pupils achieve and the support of parents and carers.”