#YourShout: Getting by, getting on, getting good: CAVC questions Part 1
TheSprout has teamed up with the Cardiff Partnership for a series of interviews with the leaders of Cardiff's main institutions, and this week we interviewed the Principal of Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC), Mike James. This is part 1, and you can read parts 2 and 3 here.
theSprout: There is a stark difference in the levels of attainment between schools in the North and South of the city. What is being done to help all children and young people achieve their full potential?
MJ: One of the things that we're doing is working with the Cardiff Business Club (which I'm a part of) to make sure that we can get as many business members, and different types of community members, involved in school governance to support schools in driving forward pedagogy (which is the art of teaching) to provide opportunities for people in schools that provide clear progression routes. So, it's not just footballers that have been successful, who turn up and talk for 5-10 minutes and have a game, but real people - plumbers, doctors, electricians - who have been part of that community, who have worked hard, succeeded and reassure young people in those schools that they can move forward and make a difference if they want to.
What this means: Better role models, better business relationships, and a stronger community.
theSprout: Poor levels of attendance have an impact on attainment. How can we help children and young people to maintain high levels of attendance?
MJ: I think The first thing we can do is make the courses relevant, make them interesting and to make sure that we put the right students on the right course. We need to challenge the students, and to make sure that the students know exactly where they are at any one time, but most importantly, where they need to go and what they need to do to get there. So that means practical support. To me, it needs to be about skills, not just qualifications, so relevant skills to get an apprenticeship or to go to university, or skills to get a job straight away. I think we need to make sure that take interest in the individual rather than interest in the group. This means that you get better engagement in terms of attendance.
What this means: Better quality courses, an all-round education, and proper opportunities.
theSprout: How can we attract more Year 11 leavers to stay on to achieve post-16 qualifications? What is being done to identify and support those at risk of dropping out of school early?
MJ: We need clear progression routes; we need to be, being totally honest with students about where they are and where they need to get to, how long it will take them and the type of changes and degree of effort they'll need to input to make those things happen. We need to support that through clear advocacy with progression routes that provide opportunities and outline how tough it could be to be successful in their field. Through getting involved in school governance and the Cardiff Educational Development Board, we're trying to look at schools that have the potential to provide students that are NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) to offer programmes earlier in to make sure that students are engaged and that they?re able to move forward with something they really enjoy. For some students, it's more than just getting 5 A*-C grades with English and Maths some students are interested in other things. We can?t avoid the fact people need Level 2 Literacy and Numeracy skills, but we need to make sure that we engage with their interests and passions instead of what we think they ought to be interested in.
What this means: Fewer drop outs, using your interests to shape your future, letting you make your own decisions
theSprout: What is being done to promote career pathways for those taking non-academic qualifications?
MJ: We've got a number of people who do school liaison, so they go into schools. We've got an active website, we try to use social media to broadcast opportunities, word of mouth is still quite effective and general marketing. We've also introduced a full time student sabbatical officer, who is elected by the students to listen to their comments and feed back their thoughts on things they like, where things could be improved, and that student sits on our governing body to provide governance at a student level to make sure we're listening to our students and responding to their demands, including our on-site facilities. We want to prepare them for a world of work that is now fairly brutal, to be honest.
What this means: CAVC listens to what you've got to say, how you want to communicate and how to bring your world outside college into your career.
If you want to talk to someone about your career, exams or anything else, then remember that Meic are just one click, text (84001), or call (080 880 23456) away.
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[Photo credit: Got Credit]