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BTECs learning life skills outside the classroom

Rockley's BTEC L3 Sport (Outdoor Adventure) students took time away from the classroom and spent the day on Sandbanks beach clearing up litter, handing out leaflets and chatting to the public as part of their NSC (National Citizen Service) - a government programme set up to improve the personal and social development amongst 15-17 year olds.

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The initiative was primarily developed to encourage youngsters to engage with communities and promote good citizens. So far, the year 1 BTEC's have experienced a week-long residential at Surrey Outdoor Learning & Development centre where students took part in a variety of activities including rock climbing, high ropes and map reading. As well as learning practical skills, students developed skills such as team work and leadership. BTEC year 1 student Zoe really enjoyed the week - "It was great to mix with all the other BTEC students instead of those just in our class. One of the guys in our group was scared of heights and it was up to the rest of us to encourage and motivate her. It really brought us together as a group and made us realise the importance of working as a team"

As well as the residential week, students were also set a Dragon's Den style task. This involved groups of students coming up with an idea and presenting it to members of the Rockley Team -  Peter Gordon (Owner), Pip Woods (Managing Director), Kat Sargent (HR Manager), Rob Clark (Operations Director) and AJ (Poole Park Manager). While this was definitely something which took them outside their comfort zone, it also gave the students the experience of standing in front of what some may consider a daunting group of people! BTEC student Drew really enjoyed the experience particularly as the whole panel were receptive to his groups 'deliveroo style' idea for parcels when people are not going to be at home to take delivery.

The final part of the programme was the Beach Clean where students were encouraged to engage with the locals, hand out leaflets and educate them on the importance of keeping the local beach and our waters clean. They were also proactive in clearing the beach of litter.

Rockley's Head of Education Clare Hicks decided to include the programme as part of the BTEC curriculum identifying the positive benefits this will have on her students both in their approach to society and to learning. She commented: "I believe that education is more than what you learn inside the classroom. Initiatives such as the NCS go a long way in changing and improving an individual's behaviour towards both the environment and to others. It's about putting students out in the real world and allowing them to grow and develop, be part of the community and be respectful to the environment in which they live. It's about encouraging youngsters to think outside the box, to understand the importance of learning together and giving them the confidence to achieve. If they can show this level of development and consideration then we will have contributed to producing well rounded, sympathetic and sometimes extraordinary individuals"

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