On Monday 21st May students from year 9 were involved in poetry workshops with Leeds based spoken word poet, Saju Ahmed, to help them express their identity and creativity.
The workshops which were organised by English Teacher, Farhat Alam, in partnership with The National Literacy Trust, were led by Saju Ahmed, whose easy and charismatic style really engaged with our students. Saju shared his own life experiences and family history (describing himself as Bengali curry with a quarter pint of Guinness) to help students explore the theme of ‘identity’ to create poems that reflected them and who they believe they are.
Saju is a rappoet, whose work highlights social issues, encouraged our students to break stereotypes in their writing and try switching writing styles and to use other languages they knew, in the poems they write.
Ms Alam Said: “The workshops gave students a broader understanding of the poetry genre, introducing them to Youth Spoken Word, which is not only a creative writing practice but a way of connecting diverse young people. Students, who may have previously thought poetry was old fashioned, were opened to the idea that poetry and creative writing can be a relevant and vital part of self-expression.”
Students have recently been involved in a series of events specifically designed to raise their future aspirations. We’ve taken the essence of our moto ‘Aspire, Accomplish, Achieve’ to build our students self-belief and provide them with some unique opportunities to look to their future.
A cohort from Years 9 and 10 are involved in a programme with Queens’ College, Cambridge, aimed specifically at widening participation with the Russell Group universities. They have been involved in workshops that explore many aspects of university and higher education from the academic to the practical, such as living away from home and student finance. Sessions have also involved skype conversations with current university students for an insider’s view of university life. The programme will support students throughout their GCSE and Post 16 journey as they begin to select which Universities and courses they want to apply for. There is the possibility in year 11 to attend the Queen’s college Cambridge Summer school.
In addition, all students in Year 10 have received one to one interview coaching. The interviews were arranged through the Ahead Partnership and saw our students receive a mock interview with local employers form a range of backgrounds including digital media, architecture, recruitment, education and the armed forces. The mock interviews were an opportunity for our students to develop their transferable skills; helping students understand the importance of interpersonal skills and communication for the world of work. Each employer provided students with tips and feedback to help them improve and equip them with a better understanding of what it takes to gain employment.
UAK’s Aspirations Programme this academic year has enabled all students to access an experience day at our Sponsor – University of Bradford, so far Years 7, 9 and 11 have all experienced STEM activities at the Bradford campus, with years 8 and 10 planned for the summer term. Additionally the programme has had a particular focus on Girl’s aspirations with a series of activities aimed at female students. Year 9 girls have been working with volunteers from the employment sector and the National Literacy Trust this term on a project called ‘Words for Work’. The project aims to develop both written and verbal communication skills for the world of work.
In celebration of International Women’s Day girls from Years 7-10 were given a Careers Aspiration Presentation from Helen Illman (Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership) to raise the profile of the ‘Future Jobs Campaign’ highlighting the skills and roles available to girls in the region’s three key sectors: Digital, Manufacturing and Engineering.
Girls in Year 8 were also invited to take a day’s work experience with academy staff covering areas such as: events and facilities, pastoral and community, science technician, administration as well as academy leadership. The girls were asked to review the job before hand to say what their perception of the job was and then to evaluate their day and see if they were correct with their perceptions.