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Education for Life Focus Days
Throughout the year, all students undertake a series of structured Education for Life focus days as part of their wider learning at Highsted. Each year group becomes involved in different activities for the day which cover a broad range of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education topics.
On Friday 17 January, all students took part in the Education for Life Focus Day 4, as part of their PSHE curriculum. Each year group was involved in different activities for the day which taught a variety of new skills and gave students the chance to get creative, engage in problem solving and develop their critical thinking.
The Year 7 day was based around learning about puberty and the changes girls can expect around this time. The day was divided into sessions including: Menstruation, Body Image, Puberty and Healthy Eating. Students engaged in activities and discussions to help answer any questions they might have and allow them to understand better this important part of their development. There was also an effort to look at the mental and emotional changes during puberty, often overlooked when focusing on physical changes to the body.
The Year 8 day was focused on respect and internet safety. The first session was about the danger of Sharing Sexual Images. The activity began with students saying that they would never share an image – but admitting they knew little about the laws around this or how they could advise someone. Over the course of the session students explored trends in psychology and behaviour to help understand why people might send images, and explored the various laws that surround this issue. The second session looked at issues relating to Alcohol. Students learnt about the laws surrounding alcohol and discussed the side effects on the body of drinking alcohol and how it influences decision-making and risk-taking. In Online Safety students looked at peer pressure and thought about how teenagers are under the impression that they have to maintain a perfect online status or version of themselves. They discussed the extent some of them would go to get ‘likes’ on their social media content and how easy it is to be influenced by others. The final session explored Teenage Relationship Abuse. Students learned about the different types of abuse and how it can affect relationships, as well as how to get support and advice.
Year 9 visited the County Careers Fair at Detling Showground to explore options available to them in the future. The Careers Fair offered students the opportunity to interact with a large number of exhibitors on one day and receive a talk about apprenticeships. In the afternoon, students returned to Highsted to discuss their options choices for GCSE studies.
Year 10 students had sessions in the morning looking at Extremism. The students explored the difference between extremism and terrorism, and what radicalisation means. Later they discussed how activists could be viewed over time, looking at animal rights activism and the suffragettes. There was also an opportunity during the day to start preparations for the Year 10 Enterprise event, held each year in the summer, where students work in teams to put together a small business. In the afternoon Year 10 also visited the Careers Fair at Detling Showground; since the students have already embarked on their GCSE courses this visit gave them the opportunity to start thinking about A-level options or careers after school.
Years 12 and 13 attended a talk with Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu. Dr Shola is a lawyer, political and women’s rights activist and founder of the Women in Leadership publication. As a woman who unapologetically stands up for what she believes in, the Head Girl Team, see her as a role model of significant value. They hoped her visit would motivate the Sixth Form to be as passionate and determined as her, and it most certainly did not disappoint. Dr Shola discussed ideas surrounding achieving your potential, and how education plays a pivotal role in this, in addition to other values such as determination. As an academic enthusiast, Shola has an Executive MBA (Cambridge); PhD (Birkbeck); LLM (London School of Economics & Political Science); MA (Westminster) and LLB Hons (Buckingham University) so displayed a clear message to our students that there is no limit to what you can achieve in your studies if you work hard at it. Shola teaches intersectional feminism to female refugees and asylum seekers as well as co-organising women's marches and social campaigns. She is a true figure to admire.
This was followed by a very informative presentation from a faculty member of Canterbury Christ Church University. The talk dealt with the financial side of a student’s application to university, something about which many students were unfamiliar. It alleviated some of the anxieties students felt, and also brought them up to speed about applying for a maintenance loan and how university fees are paid off. An interesting point, of which many students were unaware, focused on bursaries and how they may be able to claim them. Overall, the input offered a very useful insight and students left feeling more confident about these practical aspects of the university application procedure.
Finally, Sixth Form students had a visit from a ‘boobette’ who is a representative from the breast cancer charity Coppafeel. The Boobettes are a group of women who were diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 35. They use their negative experience to create positive change in other people’s lives by empowering them to know their bodies and making them aware of the key signs for cancers. Students were alerted to some staggering statistics such as one in two people are diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime, and 400 men in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. These statistics were very shocking and gave everyone an incentive to take all appropriate steps to detect cancer early.