At Copleston, we believe strongly in the development of the person alongside the development of the student. We want every student to leave Copleston Sixth Form having not only achieved excellent results in their exams, but having also invested in their own personal development. We recognise that students need a broader education beyond their chosen subjects. Students need an understanding of the wider world and the issues facing them as young adults. They need to develop skills and qualities that will enable them to be successful both in their careers and in their future lives. They also need an understanding of the practicalities of becoming independent, such as personal finance, healthy living and buying or renting a home. Students also need support with developing good study habits and with understanding the science behind successful studying, as well as with university or career applications and interviews.
The APEX - Our tutor time programme
We have developed a bespoke programme of tutor time activities called The APEX. The APEX is about enabling students to develop as individuals and as global citizens as well as helping to equip them with the tools, knowledge and experience needed for future careers and university or job applications, encouraging them to aim high in all aspects of their academic, personal and social development. This is guided by tutors and involves video clips, discussions and booklet activities. Students say they enjoy the activities and find them beneficial. Each week has a theme and begins with a thought-provoking question which frames the activities for the week.. Some of these include:
- "Image is everything" - is this really true? Understanding body image and the impact of the media on mental health.
- How easy is it to "just say no"? Exploring the role of peer pressure in teenage behaviour
- Isn't slavery in the past? How do I spot if somebody is being exploited? - Understanding modern slavery and trafficking
- How do you know if a relationship is destructive? Issues of consent, coercion and forced marriage.
- Are your mistakes really in the past? Understanding your digital footprint.
- What is the difference between gender identity and sexuality? How can a better understanding help us show acceptance and support? - Start of Pride month
I think APEX is a good way to start your day in form. It really shows the societal and cultural views of the world and educates us. - Year 12 student
I’ve enjoyed the APEX because it helps me start to use my brain at the start of the day while also learning about interesting topics. - Year 12 student
I feel like APEX's greatest achievement is it being age appropriate. As someone that is becoming an adult, learning about rent, tax and savings has made me feel more secure in the next couple of years of adulthood. - Year 13 student
The topics we cover include the following, and many more. We are constantly reviewing the content to ensure it reflects the issues that students and staff feel are the most important for them to learn and discuss:
- mental and physical health (including a responsible look at alcohol consumption for those reaching the legal drinking age)
- different forms of prejudice including racism and homophobia
- environmental issues such as climate change
- world issues such as modern slavery, immigration, conflict and the role of the UN
- careers and university applications and interview skills
- types of activism; healthy relationships
- the influence of social media
- peer pressure
- personal finance including budgeting, bank accounts, mortgages, renting, tax and pensions, understanding payslips
Students receive a spiral-bound booklet at the start of each year to outline the course of study and with a minimum of a double A4 page for each week's activities. This enables them to build a record of useful information that they can look back on in the future e.g. a checklist of how to buy their first home or how to read a payslip.
Year 12 students have three timetabled Enrichment lessons per fortnight, two of which are supervised by an Enrichment tutor. Year 13 students get two Enrichment lessons per fortnight, with one supervised. In these sessions across the two years, students follow a range of units that cover:
- Employment - how the job application process works, how to put together a CV and covering letter, and how to excel in an interview
- Life skills - developing independence, managing the balance between various commitments, communication skills and financial literacy
- An independent enrichment project - where students choose an area of focus for a term, which could range from learning a language to researching topics that could be studied at University. We encourage students to choose areas unrelated to their chosen subjects to give them a broader education. These might be knowledge-based e.g. astronomy or ancient history, or they could be skills-based such as languages, creative writing or how to start a business.
- UCAS / Higher level apprenticeships - In Year 12 all students go through the UCAS research process so that they can make an informed decision about whether they wish to attend University or not. In Year 13, students choose between two pathways (Employment or University) and complete tasks focused on their next steps.
Our Enrichment programme at Copleston gives us insight into later life at University and beyond and gives us the tools to effectively navigate life. Lessons include "how to apply to a competitive university", "finance management", "how to build a noteworthy CV" and more. - Year 13 student
Enrichment lessons allowed me to work on my personal statement and UCAS with the help of dedicated teachers. - Year 13 student
the extended project qualification
Students will also have the opportunity to take the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) as part of our enrichment offer in Year 12.
What is the extended project qualification?
The Extended Project Qualification is an additional qualification that students undertake alongside their A Level study. The project is designed to inspire, challenge and extend a range of skills through the development and realisation of a free choice topic, taking students beyond the scope of their A Level subjects.
Why study an EPQ?
An EPQ is an excellent taster of university-style learning as it is effectively an independent research project. Completing an EPQ in Year 12 will show to Universities that students have the academic interest, rigour and skills to go above and beyond their core A Level studies.
What could I study?
For example, an aspiring medic could write a research article analysing the difficulties associated with management of the NHS. A Historian who found The Cold War' in History really interesting could do an EPQ project on the role of nuclear weapons in contemporary international affairs.
Other Enrichment Opportunities
As part of enriching the Sixth Form experience our students will have many opportunities to attend a variety of academic conferences, theatre and museum visits and subject specific field trips both nationally and internationally.
Sixth Form Students will also come together at regular times throughout both Year 12 and 13 to hear high-quality speakers who will cover a range of different topics including:
- University advice and guidance
- Opportunities within the local job markets
- Subject specific lectures
- Fund-raising opportunities
- Safer driving
- Drug and Alcohol awareness