Wrekin College replace exam revision with employability bootcamps

The school offered A-level students an opportunity to learn vital business and career lessons

A school in Shropshire has run an extended employability bootcamp for students who did not have to sit summer exams.

Wrekin College organised a virtual employability bootcamp for upper school students who were due to sit A-levels. More than 60 students signed up for the voluntary sessions, which were organised to make the most of students’ unexpected free time. Although normal timetables were unaffected by the lockdown, students revision sessions were cut following the cancellation of exams.

Head of the Wrekin College business school, Donna Irving, said the team were all too aware that this summer’s exam generation felt they were denied an opportunity to prove themselves without their final exams.

“We felt it was important to not just go through the routine of lessons or activities to keep them busy but to actually look at how this time could be used to create something that would replace that sense of achievement and add real-life qualifications of true worth,” she said.

Exams are a vital part of a student’s education, but we find success is more often achieved when young people are encouraged to see school as teaching them so much more than just to learn for an exam – Donna Irving, head of Wrekin College business school

Lessons focused on leadership skills, finance, creating a CV and cover letters together with a winning LinkedIn profile. Students had to also apply for a real job, with industry leaders assessing their applications and running interviews over Zoom.

“We had planned to do a two-day physical employability bootcamp for our Wrekin leavers after their exams so while the cancelling of the exams was disappointing, we as a school took the opportunity to extend the bootcamp to a 20-day online workshop to boost their employability,” said Irving.

“Exams are a vital part of a student’s education, but we find success is more often achieved when young people are encouraged to see school as teaching them so much more than just to learn for an exam. Turning a negative into a positive is a lesson well worth learning and we achieved that and so much more with this programme.

“It was a resounding success and the feedback from both students and those industry experts who helped us to assess the candidates was extremely positive.”


Read more: 2020 A-level grades: headteachers criticise ‘systematically unfair’ model

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