The Community School of Auchterarder is an all-through school from nursery to secondary that caters for young people within the areas of Auchterarder, Aberuthven, Blackford and Dunning, writes PE teacher Amy Macdonald.
The secondary school serves around 550 young people and has close links with UHI Perth and Gleneagles Hotel.
We originally became an SCQF Ambassador School in 2018 as we were looking to diversify our senior phase curriculum to better meet the needs and wants of our learners and to provide more appropriate learner pathways. As a result, a lot of the groundwork had already been done in terms of staff training around the SCQF and increased parental awareness through curriculum evenings and parents’ evenings, to then quickly gain Bronze and Silver SCQF Ambassador awards.
Since 2022, however, we have really focused our attention on promoting the Ambassador programme as an incredibly useful leadership opportunity for our young people to become involved in.
Our SCQF Ambassadors are ever-present at parents’ evenings and curriculum evenings by successfully setting up stalls in the centre of the school to raise awareness of the SCQF and to engage young people and their families with the various pathways available to them.
In addition to our Ambassadors interacting with parents, the exciting news of our awards has been shared on our school Twitter account and school newsletter, and our plaques are on immediate display for staff, pupils and visitors as soon as they walk into our building.
Our Ambassadors ensure that informative leaflets are placed and maintained around high-trafficked areas of the school promoting the SCQF and sharing the SCQF principles for all pupils and staff to read. They continue to present annually to multiple year groups through interactive lessons as part of Personal and Social Education (PSE). Throughout the lessons they share the values of the SCQF and work through case studies of how pupils can use the SCQF to benefit their learning journeys.
We offer a variety of National Progression Awards (NPAs) in the school at SCQF levels 4, 5 and 6 and our local college, UHI Perth, offers a plethora of courses to our pupils looking for further courses and opportunities.
In our 2023-24 session, our Physical Education department introduced NPA Exercise and Fitness. The lead teacher discussed the benefits of the course and stated:
The pupils have fully engaged and there has been measurable improvements in their fitness levels. It’s providing pupils with a wide depth of knowledge in addition to a variety of leadership opportunities throughout Broad General Education (BGE) classes and school fitness clubs.
As a school, we aim to further expand the courses available to our pupils through our self-evaluation processes and through careful consideration of the SCQF Framework and the courses available through the SCQF Database.
SCQF Pupil Ambassadors have commented:
• I wanted to become an SCQF Ambassador because I wanted to participate in more ways to benefit the school and learn about the SCQF myself.
• I’m really enjoying taking an NPA this year because I didn’t know that was an option for me in school when I was younger!
• I chose to become an Ambassador as I feel it is important to educate peers and parents on alternative qualifications that are available.
• It’s important to me to represent the school and educate others on the different educational pathways available.
• We need to share the SCQF with other students so they can understand the options they have for their own learning.
Our S5/6 Ambassadors continue to work alongside our newly appointed S4 Ambassadors to achieve Gold status. Currently, they are leading on delivery sessions to our new S1, S3 and S5 year groups. Additionally, our S6 Ambassadors are looking to have a greater presence on social media and to create noticeboards to raise further awareness and celebrate all the hard work they are putting into their roles.
As a school, we continue to work closely with the local college and businesses to give our pupils the most varied opportunities available to them. We strive to inspire our pupils to take a path which will allow them to achieve their personal life goals and career aspirations and will continue to use the SCQF framework to facilitate this.
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