Classes to prepare 6th formers for independent living

'Interactive digital workshops' to help Year 12 and 13 pupils explore realities of life after school

Catherine Lough

undergrad

Sixth formers will be given masterclasses to help them adjust to independent life after school, the education secretary announced today.

The interactive digital workshops, Leapskills, have been developed by student accommodation provider Unite, and are designed to teach Year 12 and 13 students about living away from home, managing money and dealing with conflict.


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The workshops confront pupils with typical scenarios that might emerge when living with peers, such as paying a TV licence bill; how to budget; helping fellow students who are struggling with their mental health; and communicating with flatmates about noise or antisocial behaviour.

Schools, colleges and sixth forms can organise the optional Leapskills sessions from September.

Over an 18-month trial, 1,000 students have used the Leapskills workshops, with survey feedback indicating that 96 per cent of students were engaged during the session and 91 per cent of teachers would recommend it to a colleague.

Education secretary Damian Hinds said: “For young people leaving school, starting the next chapter of their life should be a positive, life-changing experience – but we know that many people struggle with the pressures of moving away from home and living independently for the first time.”

“A huge part of education is preparing young people for adult life and it is right that we teach them what to expect for life after school, whether that’s at university, work or an apprenticeship.”

“Whilst the majority of that focus is on the knowledge and skills needed to get qualifications, it is also important that we teach our young people the life skills they need like managing finances and understanding healthy relationships, as well as helping them to build character and resilience to be equipped to cope with the everyday challenges in life.”

Natalie Corriette, a teacher at St Bonaventure's 6th Form in Forest Gate, East London who took part in the workshop, said her school was keen to offer the opportunity to students as Year 12 pupils can feel “anxious and unsure” about the prospect of independent living.

“These sessions afforded them the ability to reflect on university life and to consider how they can best prepare for university life in terms of establishing support networks and fostering social relationships and friendship groups,” she said.

“Our survey indicated that students' confidence levels in terms of their knowledge and understanding of university life more than doubled by the end of the session.”

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