Non Qualification Activity
Statement of Intent
Landau Forte Academy Tamworth Sixth Form has every reason to be pleased with its links with employers and local organisations. We pride ourselves in offering a comprehensive package of support for every student in supporting skill development, via Non Qualification Activity (NQA); work experience and work-related learning, because we firmly believe that such practices will prepare our learners for greater success in their lives beyond the Academy.
We want our learners to be outstanding team players; highly proficient in working independently and with responsibility; reflective on the aspects of working that they are competent in and need to develop further, as well as creative in problem-solving.
Developments in 2015/16
In the academic year 2015/2016, the new leadership team at the Sixth Form started to implement the DfE 16 to 19 Programme of Study in full. In addition to their studies at A2, AS and or in vocational qualifications, every student was asked to undertake NQA – that is ‘Non Qualification Activity’.
The CEO was particularly interested in young people engaging in activity that had nothing directly to do with their academic studies.
Students were able to choose their activity – which could be:
- a) a voluntary role with an organisation;
- b) work experience or work related learning;
- or c) paid, part-time employment.
There were no set number of hours required for a student to participate in NQA.
In January, senior staff invited groups of students to meet with them to talk about their NQA. A large number of students (75%) described what they were engaged in. Many were engaged in paid part time work in Tamworth – and talked about the value of learning about the world of work. A few of the students talked about the customer communication skills learnt, especially where food was served or complaints needed to be dealt with.
In those early days of learning about how students responded to the NQA requirement, we heard some interesting and fascinating stories.
One student cooked the family meal twice a week – because his mother was a full time carer for a sick relative, and the mother welcomed the respite of not cooking for her five children on a Wednesday and Friday.
Another student did the shopping for an elderly neighbour who was not able to venture outside. This student needed to make out a shopping list with his neighbour, complete the shop and pay for the goods.
The first round of talking with students also showed that some students were heavily committed to the development of their own sporting discipline, e.g. hockey, Judo and Dance – often to a high level.
Another student worked in a local shop every Saturday afternoon. For two hours each week, the manager trusted that student to mind the shop and ‘cash up’ every hour.
Students gave many different accounts of what they were engaged in. My favourite came from a Year 12 student who worked in the local Italian restaurant on a Friday and Saturday evening. Her responsibility was to prepare all the starters and deserts, to ensure that each table’s order was served on time. This experience was not only a challenge, it also revealed that this student’s least favourite starter to prepare was ‘Avocado and Prawns’.
As the year progressed, we interviewed more students and their accounts became more sophisticated and self-aware. Students could identify how they were developing a range of new employability skills, as well as maturing. Others talked of their growing confidence in handling difficult and challenging situations in the work place.
In touring the Academy and talking with Year 13 students, I was struck by the number of 16-19 years-olds who had been told by their managers at work that they had grown in confidence and were less timid. Indeed, a recent HMI visit to the school, reported that:
‘Following the recent introduction of the Academy’s non-qualification activity (NQA) framework, there is a much heightened and increased focus across the academy in supporting students’ development of a wide range of personal, and employability skills. Data provided by leaders indicated that just 85% of students now engage in a range of relevant NQA employability and confidence building activities such as community and voluntary work, part time employment, participation in skills challenge events or undertake independent studies. Leaders should ensure that all students complete the NQA framework as an ‘essential entitlement’ associated with attending the Academy’.
Finally, Landau Forte would like to say a big thank you to all the employers and organisations who have engaged students in Non Qualification Activities. Listed below are some examples of these activities where students have indicated having gained positively from their NQA experience:-
- Castle Hotel (housekeeping, catering) – part-time employment
- Snowdome (waitressing) – part-time employment
- Mass Sports (sports activities in primary schools) – work experience
- Sutton Coldfield Hockey Team – plays in the hockey team
- Swadlincote Golf Centre (receptionist) – part -ime employment
- Amiee Louise School of Dance – competing and teaching
- Tamworth Football League (Referee) – part-time employment
- Tamworth Tennis Club – tennis coach
- Ashcroft Primary – volunteering
- Drayton Manor – various part-time employments
- Portobello (chef) – part-time employment
- Strokes (lifeguard) – part-time employment
- Wilnecote Leisure Centre – trampoline coach
Big Brand Employers
- Matalan (sales assistant) – part-time employment
- UPS (parcel sorter) – part-time employment
- McDonalds (sales assistant) – part-time employment
- Scope (shop assistant) – volunteer work
- Harvester (waitress) – part-time employment
- Rainbows – girl guide volunteer
- The Range (sales assistant) – part-time employment
- Outfit (customer services assistant) – part-time employment
- Greggs (customer service assistant) – part-time employment
- Dominoes (kitchen) – part-time employment
- Sainsbury’s – part-time employment
In 2015/16, 85% of students were engaged in a Non Qualification Activity. Landau Forte will make the NQA an essential element of attending this Academy. We will invite every Year 12 student to engage in an NQA beyond their academic studies.
Our NQA target for next year is that 100% of students are engaged in such activity and that we continue to prepare our young people so that they comprehensively successful in life beyond the Sixth Form.
CEO of Landau Forte Charitable Trust and Executive Principal, Tamworth Sixth Form / QEMS