Girvan Academy

'How can the senior phase at Girvan Academy better support you in your core attainment
and what additional learning opportunities could help prepare you for your future?’

In 2015, Girvan Academy re-structured the senior phase of their curriculum to create more time for wider achievement and attainment, focused on helping young people to prepare for their transition beyond school.

We facilitated a youth-led inquiry with a diverse group of 18 S3/4/5 students to help them offer insights and ideas about what learning experiences they thought would best compliment their ‘core attainment’ to prepare them for their future work and lives. They worked alongside educators, local employers and other community stakeholders to develop some of their ideas and put them into action.

The group recognised aspects of the curriculum that equipped them for life and work, but thought the transition into employment could be a struggle. They suggested that what happens in and out of school should better prepare them for work/further education upon leaving school. They shared a concern that after young people leave school, many don’t know what to do next, lacking the basic skills that help engage and be a strong candidate for an employer.

They thought part of the solution could be to offer a wider range of pupils more diverse work experiences – currently only offered to S4 pupils.

Pupils suggested PSE (Personal Social Education) could be better utilised to help with further education or work readiness. They also had thoughts around connecting up a range of experiences that help young people identify and develop the right kind of skills. They agreed that school played the biggest part in developing a young person’s social skills, but recognised that strong working partnerships with businesses would create wider learning opportunities, enabling them to apply transferable skills between the worlds of work and school.


When presenting their ideas, the young people enjoyed being able to engage with an audience of employers and some even secured interview opportunities with attendees. It’s clear that building young people’s confidence to have conversations directly with potential employers helps to build positive relationships and create new opportunities.

“Things would be better if choices, timetable, skills, responsibilities were connected in a way that helps more, with more time available to focus on this stuff, and commitment from both pupils and teachers to do this in partnership.”

Update: We are delighted that action groups at Girvan Academy are taking forward three key areas that came from the youth-led enquiry.

  1. Enabling young people to meet employers before they choose Work Experience opportunities & inviting ex pupil speakers to share how they got into job/career and their own experience of University
  2. More meaningful Peer Support – subject specific choices, youth work training working towards qualification, volunteering or wider achievement awards
  3. Volunteering and experience opportunities