Marr College, located in South Ayrshire, began its journey with the SCQF in January 2023 when it unveiled the School Ambassador Programme to pupils. This initiative, which saw the participation of student ambassadors from S3 to S6, has recently culminated in our achieving the SCQF Silver Ambassador Award, writes Lucy Campbell, PT Developing Young Workforce at Marr College.
Initial staff training took place in January 2023, led by Donnie Wood, SCQF Lead for Learning Pathways.
Following the training, PowerPoint slides from the session were distributed to all staff members and added to the Staff SCQF Teams. SCQF Ambassadors played a key role in facilitating an interactive session for all staff in May.
The purpose was to ensure that all staff understood the aims and benefits of the SCQF Ambassador programme and to support departments in enhancing learner pathways and providing alternative pathways to pupils in their educational journey.
Departments have recently established educational pathways that incorporate level-specific terminology and are encouraged to explore how these pathways can extend beyond Marr College, which include opportunities available at local colleges.
Leading up to options choices, our ambassadors conducted short SCQF lesson inserts, as part of the Personal and Social Education (PSE) curriculum. These lessons were designed based on the SCQF-provided lesson plan and incorporated real-world case studies.
Our ambassadors also played a crucial role in preparing informative materials about the SCQF for option choices, distributed during personal support classes. It included a video explaining how the SCQF can support their individual learning journeys and emphasised the value of courses beyond national qualifications. This initiative also served as an opportunity to showcase the significant enhancements made to our curriculum offerings.
Our ambassadors created a central SCQF noticeboard in a high-traffic area of the school, serving as a constant visual reminder to students about the significance of the SCQF in our curriculum.
This noticeboard will undergo regular updates, featuring the most current information about the SCQF and Marr College's evolving educational journey.
Marr College has established a SCQF Twitter account, @MarrCollegeSCQF, where regular updates are shared concerning SCQF-related matters, skills development, SCQF option choices, school opportunities and pupil achievements. The SCQF Ambassadors have an active involvement in managing this Twitter account and plan to gradually assume more responsibility for the account as the SCQF continues to grow and solidify its presence at Marr College.
Our ambassadors represented SCQF at Marr College’s Careers and Options Evening, where they engaged with both students and parents, discussing the significance of SCQF levels, sharing their personal SCQF experiences, and highlighting the available options for the current year. Furthermore, these ambassadors have proudly represented the school at family learning evenings and will remain an active presence at various school events in the future.
This year, we have revised the options choice forms and updated the information available on the school's website to embed the language of levels. It’s also been important for us to continuously evaluate our curriculum and evolve it to work for our changing cohort of students. An integral aspect of this process has been expanding SCQF Level 5 opportunities and identifying ways to enable students to earn two qualifications within a single subject area, such as the combination of NPA Level 4 Events and N4 Admin within a single subject choice.
We are actively working with our community to refine our curriculum design, aligning it with the demands of the local job market. For example, engineering and construction are sectors experiencing significant economic growth in South Ayrshire, translating to long-term employment prospects. In response, we have introduced DEC: Design, Engineer, Construct (SCQF Level 5) to address this demand. We hope to extend this offering to Level 6, thereby establishing a clearly defined educational path for our students towards sustainable job opportunities or further education.
Moreover, we have also been attentive to the needs of the health sector labour market. Currently, we provide Skills for Work (Level 5) Health Sector courses, and this year we are introducing NPA Exercise and Fitness Leadership (Level 6) to further meet the demands and interests of our students and the industry.
As a whole school, we have worked hard to develop the external relationships we have with employers, colleges and universities. We work in partnership with Ayrshire College offering opportunities for our pupils to select a college course as part of their curriculum in senior phase as well as providing Vocational Burst experiences for Broad General Education (BGE) and Vocational Insight days.
We have established strong connections with local and national employers, providing unique opportunities for students to engage with industry experts which provides our pupils access to a wider range of learning opportunities.
Moving forward, we aim to increase further the number of curricular pathways available to our students. We will continue to engage with parents and employers to emphasise the value of courses beyond national qualifications, and support young people in making the best choices for their chosen path. We will also aim to recognise all of our learners’ wider achievements and have these accredited wherever possible through qualifications and awards. We plan to work closely with other schools within South Ayrshire and share our good practice so that even more young people can benefit from the SCQF Ambassador programme.
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