The school attended North East Skills in 2013 and received an email to attend again in 2014. We booked it up as the school and students enjoyed the event last year.
In 2013 we enjoyed the event but spoke to the organisers because we are a special school and felt there should be more provisions for colleges.
Before visiting I planned a lesson with my students. Most people did a lesson beforehand and we emailed around the group resources to everyone.
We organised a coach, minibus and car as this was the cheapest way of getting to the event. It was easy to organise a visit and travel to the event.
What Prospects did
Following 2013 Prospects listened to the feedback from the school and there were more colleges.
At first the school went round in groups with one member of staff to 3 or 4 students, but the students wanted to meet up with their mates, so teachers trailed around behind and talked to stall holders.
North East Skills had a range of different activities. We had a go at hitting the lights. One of the boys wanted to get his haircut but we needed to get in touch with his mum as we needed her permission, had we known we could have asked permission beforehand. We really enjoyed the photobooth, and the students really loved that. There was a bit of a wait for that but the students queued patiently and just chatted to others in the queue.
A real benefit was talking to other people, making connections and networking. We spoke to the colleges. One student is starting at Kirkley Hall one day a week and we were able to introduce him to people there.
It's all about making the links with real people.
Outcomes and results
The opportunity for teachers to network with exhibitors resulted in a meeting arranged with Ingeus who will visit the school to speak to students about careers options –a direct result of visiting North East Skills, as the school hadn't heard of the company beforehand and made that connection at the event.
A number of stands at North East Skills offered competitions, one was to win an iPad and this was won by one of the school's students, and it was presented it to him in morning assembly.
It is difficult to say whether the event motivated and inspired the students to think about their career options, as a special school our students have different needs. It did however give the students time to think after the event.
In future we will ask our students to prepare questions beforehand and go with questions to ask.
The students really enjoyed the event and went home with bags of goodies.
We will definitely be looking to bring students next year, it's an annual event for the school.