All young people, like those at Oakfield College, could see their self-confidence soar, with help from Raising Your Game
Oakfield High School and College is a special school for students with complex needs, aged 11–19, near Wigan in Lancashire.
Many of the students are vulnerable, and there are several young people who have been in trouble. There is a widespread vulnerability towards crime – “about two thirds of students are susceptible to getting into trouble”, says the school’s assistant head teacher Mrs Claxton.
Last November, Raising Your Game gave Oakfield College the opportunity to get involved in the Choosing My Life pilot. Raising Your Game staff led a range of workshops on topics including personal rights – making sure the students knew about opportunities to vote and use their voice.
All 51 students at the college took part in the interactive sessions, every Monday – during Personal Social Health and Economic Education lessons – for six weeks. They involved teambuilding exercises and quizzes, along with learning about the criminal justice system.
“Students looked forward to Mondays,” says Mrs Claxton. “One said ‘We love working with Raising Your Game – we always do fun stuff’.”
At the end of the six weeks, the students had not only completed the Choosing My Life course, but also a unit of accreditation for the National Open College Network. The course has also had a noticeable impact on their self-confidence.
“The opportunity to be involved in Raising Your Game and learn about the criminal justice system is invaluable to the students’ development,” says Mrs Claxton. “Making appropriate choices, knowing what may happen if inappropriate choices are made and understanding their rights and responsibilities have all helped students become more self-aware and self-confident.
“There is a massive change in one girl with very limited speech – she can be quite shy and insular. But Raising Your Game staff built up a really good relationship with her – it’s very rare to see.”
Raising Your Game’s involvement at Oakfield has also had an impact on staff, as they have been able to share teaching ideas. “The way Raising Your Game approached workshops in flexible and innovative ways, to target students with varying levels of learning disability, was great,” says Mrs Claxton. “They used a policeman’s helmet, remote control car and giant Jenga – the young people weren’t always even aware they were learning.”
To get involved in workshops, email firstname.lastname@example.org