Workshops held to raise aspirations for students at Doncaster school

Students at a school in South Yorkshire have taken part in a number of workshops aimed to raise their aspirations as they look towards higher education.

Thursday, 7th February 2019, 14:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 17:22 pm
Year 8 students at Swinton Academy learning how to make a flotation device

Surviving a zombie apocalypse and engineering a flotation device were just two of the tasks Year 8 students at Swinton Academy, Mexborough, had to complete in a series of workshops aimed at broadening pupils’ horizons.

The school has been working with a number of businesses in the area, including Wickes, Boeing and the RAF, in a bid to show students what options are available to them at sixth form and beyond.

Some of the Year 8 pupils at Swinton Academy

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James Wilmhurst, Pre-16 Engagement Coordinator for Sheffield Hallam University, introduced the students to four characters who each had their own special skills and personal qualities.

They then had to decide which of those characters they felt would survive a zombie apocalypse based on their skills, qualities and qualifications. 

Representatives from the Sea Cadets Marine Engineering Pathways (MEP) also visited the Swinton Academy students to deliver a hands-on workshop covering buoyancy and teach them new skills. 

Year 8 pupils learning how to make a flotation device

James Graham, Assistant Principal at Swinton Academy, said: “The Zombie Apocalypse was a fun way of raising aspirations for all of our Year 8 students, giving them the desire and incentive to get themselves into higher education – and hopefully university.

“The whole idea was to show the students that there are a range of degrees available in a variety of areas.

“The Sea Cadet workshop was another huge success and covered STEM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) subjects which the students have already covered during the academic year.

“The workshop was a hands-on session aimed at teaching students about the principles of engineering through the use of marine based real-life scenarios.

“Students worked in teams to design and create a solution to the task; floating as many marbles as possible in a tank of water by creating a flotation device from materials which they had been provided with.”

Plans to transform technical education were announced in 2017, largely driven by recognition of the skills shortage and an increase in demand for technical qualifications and high skilled technical operatives.

Since then, Sheffield College has seen applications for engineering and construction apprenticeships double.