In September pupils were able to select their options for the first ever year of a new Sixth Form initiative; Community and Workplace. Pupils have since taken part in approximately 15 hours/900 minutes of volunteer work contributing to various areas in and around our community. There are a number of placements which have been focused on supporting schools in our local area whereby PGS pupils have been creating innovative, imaginative and fun resources for primary school pupils. Some examples of resources include videos and equipment to guide practical experiments in Science and Tech, videos of warm-ups and activities in Sport, and language support via cooking videos in French!

A highlight this term has been pupils working with the Mary Rose Academy, pupils have formed a great relationship with staff at MRA and have been able to learn about the varying needs of the pupils at their school. Based on conversation with teachers at MRA about classes with very specific needs, Year 12’s were able to create tailored sensory activities for their class. These activities were meticulously planned and well organised ready to be delivered to MRA who were excited to see the array of activities and expressed their gratitude, this group have since created and sent Christmas themed activities to their assigned class at MRA.

Placements have also included other community involvement and campaigning with various partners. We have a group of pupils who, in partnership with The Final Straw, have created a social media campaign on sustainability and have been working towards creating a database of businesses to offer solutions and alternatives for their plastic use. Some pupils have also been lucky enough to take part in a programme run by Pompey in the Community focused on enhancing skill set and social action whereby pupils chose to provide personalised letters and Christmas cards to residents in a care home that they were passionate about in an effort to put a smile on the residents faces during what can be a lonely time.

Another highlight of this term in Community and Workplace has been the progress pupils have made towards the Schools of Sanctuary award which focuses on inclusivity and equality for all, we have a group of incredibly driven pupils who are devoted to PGS becoming a School of Sanctuary and have been working hard with various members of staff to highlight PGS’ welcoming and inviting nature as a school. Each week pupils have been strategising and creating resources to raise awareness on information about refugees and minority groups, they have also met with various members of SMT to implement fresh and new ideas to enhance inclusivity.

Community and Workplace is just one element of the new Sixth Form Curriculum introduced this year alongside an academic enrichment programme designed to allow pupils to become deep-thinkers and intellectual risk-takers, including PGS Extend or the externally assessed Extended Project Qualification both aimed at encouraging independent learning and fostering a passion for subjects beyond the curriculum.

Moving forward, the whole Sixth Form experience will continue to evolve. Community and Workplace will continue to offer a range of placements to support pupils’ goals and aspirations as well as offering an opportunity for each group to work towards a final summer social action project of their choice.