Opening eyes to opportunities and creating rounded individuals

Year 7 pupils during the enterprise event at Park High School in Colne. (S)
Year 7 pupils during the enterprise event at Park High School in Colne. (S)

Pupils at Park High School in Colne learned life skills and explored future opportunities during an annual personal development day.

The day is designed to make the school’s students more rounded individuals and ready them for life after school.

Stephen offered up advice to children at Favordale. (S)

Stephen offered up advice to children at Favordale. (S)

Across the day, groups of Year 9 children were involved in a diverse range of tasks, including gardening, litter picking, baking buns and cakes for nearby residents and organising a charity fair while others visited three care homes for the elderly, including Favordale Home for Older People in Byron Road.

There they met a number of residents including Jackie, originally from Nelson and one of twelve children, who was a hit with the students.

They learned how fragile life can be though, as, only a few hours later, Jackie’s dementia worsened and she was taken into hospital.

But her daughter, Jean Clark, said that the photographs taken would be some of the last taken of her, which meant a lot to the family and that her mum had “loved being the centre of attention” and the children were “well mannered”.

Nearby residents Mr and Mrs Fletcher are delighted to receive a bun from Park High pupils. (S)

Nearby residents Mr and Mrs Fletcher are delighted to receive a bun from Park High pupils. (S)

Another resident, Stephen, a retired quantity surveyor involved in the project to construct the M6 Motorway, admitted to being a “slow-starter” at school but worked hard and eventually improved, later starting his own company.

He told the pupils: “When you work hard you feel like you’ve achieved something. Build yourself up to become the real you.

“Look for the things you love to do and never let go! And life should not always be about winning; it’s about what you give and not what you take.

“That’s the best thing – to have a good life and be there for the ones you love.”

Jackie proved to be a hit with Year 9 Park High pupils on a visit to Favordale Home for Older People. (S)

Jackie proved to be a hit with Year 9 Park High pupils on a visit to Favordale Home for Older People. (S)

Sarah Williams, Manager of Favordale, said: “The residents really enjoy the visits; it’s good for them to see the children and they get a lot out of it. In turn, the children learn from the residents’ experience.”

Other Year 9 pupils helped build links with the community; some baked cakes for neighbours, one group visited primary schools while another group created a quiz to send out the primary schools, inviting those with the highest marks for a tour of the school.

Year 7 children were given the chance to show their entrepreneurial side when they teamed up with fellow students from Marsden Heights Community College and Fishermore RC High School, in an enterprise day led by The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge.

Pupils were tasked with developing a new outdoor activity for Inspiring Learning Kingswood, a company providing educationally rich activity centre breaks for schools, with the national winners having their design developed and built into Kingswood centres.

Happy faces at Colne Park High's Personal Development Day. (S)

Happy faces at Colne Park High's Personal Development Day. (S)

Students devised, planned and launched the new outdoor activity - designing a logo, creating an advert and writing a letter to a celebrity asking them to become their brand ambassador - and finally presented to their peers.

New friends were made and confidence built up, with Park High’s Alfie Fox declaring it as “one of the best days of the year” and Phoebe Lord adding that the day helped “build team working and communication skills”.

The whole of Year 8 and Year 10 experienced a taster of university life when they visited Hull University and Newcastle University.

Those who went on their travels had their eyes opened to exactly what can be studied in higher education, providing them with ideas of what to work towards in the years ahead.

The focus of Year 11 was something much more immediate; preparation for the upcoming GCSE exams.

One of the country’s leading providers of student workshops, Positively MAD, worked with students on mindfulness, relaxation, stress reduction, mental and physical health and well being, as well as exam busting techniques for revision and the exams themselves.

The students were later joined by parents at a tailored twilight session, to enable them to help support their child through the difficult exam period.

Mrs Abbie Parker, Teacher of Personal Development and PE, said: “As we are reaching the vital period of our Year 11 students’ education, we thought it would be extremely useful if parents could also take part in the revision technique programme to help support them in achieving their child’s full potential.”