I firmly believe there is more than one way to achieve any goal, writes Julie Richards, principal of Chesterfield College.
I was reminded of this at GCSE results day. I heard inspirational stories from students who had worked incredibly hard to re-sit their maths and English qualifications and were focussed on getting the grade they needed to help them progress to the next stage of their education or career.
English and maths are vital qualifications which open the door to many jobs and are required for most university programmes. The Government expects students to achieve at least a grade 4 in English and maths before they leave further education (equivalent to a grade C in the old format).
Many students are required to re-sit exams until they reach this standard. As a college, we are at the forefront of helping people of all ages to get to this expected level.
Traditional teaching and learning methods don’t always work for everyone. The process of sitting an exam could also be a barrier for many. Others may need more time to further develop their existing skills in preparation for the exam. Exploring what each individual student needs is the secret to success.
How we develop skills over the period of our lives and our time in education depends on a wide range of factors. Our learning style, our natural aptitude and our academic ability all play a part.
There isn’t one solution to suit everybody.
At Chesterfield College we are investing in specially designed classrooms and learning environments to provide an alternative space in which to learn. We also provide an excellent student support system to help people tackle study skills and overcome exam nerves.
We have a successful Maths Ambassador programme in place. Students with good maths and English skills volunteer to support their peers as mentors.
We have also adopted a Maths Mastery approach for teaching certain topics of the maths syllabus. This gives students the opportunity to learn maths in a more practical way. It encourages them to think differently about the subject and helps to increase their confidence.
Offering a different approach to teaching and learning is one of the ways we are supporting students to achieve the grades they need to pursue their career goals.