There are many activities which students can get involved with which are over and above the National Curriculum. Some of these activites are hilighted below.
The school provides a minimum of thirty hours of enterprise learning for all our 14 -16 year old students. This has been taught throughout Key Stage 4 in our ‘Fit for Life’ lessons. With enterprise you think about creating a business. But Enterprise education is changing: enterprising qualities such as a can-do attitude, creativity and the ability to make ideas happen are increasingly recognised as the key to long-term prosperity. This is why the Government is encouraging young people to play their part in creating a more enterprising culture in the UK.
At John Spence we also work with ‘Young Enterprise North East’ to deliver the Company Programme to a group of gifted and talented Year 10 students after school on Wednesday evenings. This is year long programme and the rationale behind this is to give these young people the opportunity to actually make ideas happen, encouraging them to further develop those enterprising qualities not only that the government are looking in to but that will be very useful in their future lives.
The Company Programme gives a practical insight into the highs and lows of business as the students set up and run their own business over the course of an academic year. The ability to work in a team, the first-hand experience of key business functions and a willingness to take responsibility and initiative are just some of the enterprising skills that this programme is designed to develop.
Company Programme students are supported during their year by a business volunteer, working in partnership with a link teacher. Over recent years our students have come up with a range of ideas for launching their own businesses, such as creating language books for very young children, designing and producing high-quality t-shirts and developing educational packs for use by children on holiday. These projects have resulted in teams from John Spence winning local, regional and national Young Enterprise awards over the last three years.
A small number of our Year 10 and 11 students access an alternative/extended curriculum which allows them to experience a number of vocational activities which are intended to improve their employment prospects. The activities are designed to use the context of work to develop knowledge, skills and understanding that will be provide a realistic introduction to the world of work, with student choosing from a range of areas including Beauty Therapy, Catering, Photography, Motor Vehicle Maintenance, Retail, Word Processing and Joinery. Each activity lasts for12 weeks and is either accredited via AQA units or through an ASDAN qualification.
For a very small number of students who are at risk of not being able to complete their education at John Spence we have been able to access the two year ‘Flexible Curriculum in Construction Skills’. Students on the Flexible Curriculum pathway spend four days of the week out of school and one day in school completing their English, Maths and Science GCSEs. In their time out of school they study for the BTEC First Diploma in Construction Skills by spending some of the time at ‘The Barn’ learning joinery skills and the rest of their time at NTTS learning bricklaying, painting and decorating etc.