The programme is aimed at secondary school students of all abilities. Primarily the programme is targeted at students attending one of Villiers Park Educational Trust’s 44 Scholars Programme partner schools and colleges, or one of almost 400 Inspiring Excellence Programme schools and colleges. However, the programme is open to all students and schools in the UK, and is not limited to just Villiers Park partners.
To empower students to develop key skills by sharing their knowledge and expertise with other students to raise their aspirations and attainment. The aim is an improvement in whole school culture and ethos. INVOLVE students:
- develop leadership and project management skills including organisation, time management and team work
- improve confidence and resilience
- develop employability skills including communication, networking and marketing
- increase knowledge and understanding of specific topics or issues
Villier Park Educational Trust is a UK charity that empowers talented students from lower-income backgrounds to develop a passion for learning, and the study and life skills to ensure they reach their full academic potential.
The Villiers Park Educational Trust INVOLVE programme is open to secondary school students of all abilities. Currently the focus is on encouraging participants on the Scholars Programme and Inspiring Excellence Programme to return to their schools and colleges as an Ambassador, and share their knowledge and skills with their peers. These activities can now be converted into projects that will be graded and awarded, by the Villiers Park team, according to the number of hours and level of leadership undertaken. However, INVOLVE is open to all students, from all schools and colleges, across the UK.
- Villiers Park Educational Trust
Villiers Park INVOLVE enhances the school experience by empowering students to enrich the learning community in their schools and colleges. Students register to use the INVOLVE Portal where they will have access to a collection of tried and tested resources to help get their project started, and support them along the way. Once registered, students can undertake projects of their own choice and design by submitting a proposal to the Villiers Park Team. The proposal is an online form (no word limit) which includes: the type of activity (series of lectures; peer mentoring etc), how many hours they think it will take, the project title, which Award level they are working towards, request for resources, how many other students will benefit from the project, and the contact teacher at their school.
Once the proposal is approved the student works independently on the project – with guidance from their teachers and Villiers Park if required. They must regularly log-in to the Portal on the Villiers Park website to update their projects and demonstrate that key milestones have been achieved. Once the project is completed it is submitted to the Villiers Park Team who grade it depending on its length and difficulty, ranging from an Introductory Bronze Award through to an Advanced Gold or Platinum Award (please see below ‘Assessment’ for details on all levels).
Through organising and managing a successful project students will develop employability skills (including communication, networking, and marketing) and increase their knowledge and understanding of specific topics or issues. They also have the opportunity to develop leadership and project management skills including organisation, time management, and team work, and to improve confidence and resilience.
The following are some ideas of the type of projects students can undertake:
- Students as leaders – Organising a programme of visiting speakers, running workshops for younger students or arranging revision sessions are just a few examples of what students can achieve, often with impressive outcomes.
- Students as communicators – Assemblies, staff meetings, parents' evenings, online articles are examples of forums for students to improve their communication skills and confidence.
- Students as mentors – mentoring younger or less experienced peers to develop academic and personal skills.
All GCSE and A level subjects and career opportunities (e.g. medicine and law) are covered by the programme. Other skills areas that are developed may include:
- written and verbal communication
- ability to work in a team
- enthusiasm for learning (e.g. motivation and effort)
- resilience (i.e. ability to overcome difficulties)
- leadership (e.g. through being elected to roles of responsibility within their school or college)
- career and employability skills
Secondary, age 11 – 18
To recognise the hard work, effort, and commitment students will need to make to successfully complete their project, the Villiers Park Team will award one of four levels (please see below ‘Assessment’ for the criteria):
Villiers Park Educational Trust assesses each submitted project against the following criteria and awards are designated accordingly:
- Bronze Award – Up to 10 hours, active participation in an INVOLVE project. On completion of the project a summary should be submitted to the school or college.
- Silver Award – Approximately 20 hours with an aspect of leadership. On completion the student is responsible for submitting a project summary for publication in school or college literature.
- Gold Award – A more in-depth project, involves leading a wider scale project and may include an outside organisation or more than one school or college. On completion a full report is written and published by Villiers Park and the school or college.
- Platinum Award – Variable in length, a student is nominated by their school, local team or Villiers Park Team. On completion it is likely that a report will be published by Villiers Park, the school or college, and external press.
All criteria must be achieved in order to receive a specific Award level.
If the Villiers Park Team feels that the project has not met the standards or criteria required, they feedback to the student on what they need to do to successfully complete their project.
The Award level depends on two things; the number of hours undertaken (from a minimum of 10 hours through to a maximum of 100 hours) and the level of leadership. A student can undertake more than one project in each academic year.
The programme aims to prepare students for HE study through the development of key academic and personal skills that not only raise their attainment, but also gives them the skills needed to thrive at university and demonstrate wider curriculum involvement during the application process.
According to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, based on the 2013 – 2014 cohort, the non-continuation rate is 6% for all students, which rises to 8.2% for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Villiers Park INVOLVE aims to empower students by developing key success skills, including: leadership, project management (organisation, time management and team work), confidence, resilience, employability skills (communication, networking and marketing), and an increased knowledge and understanding of a specific topic or issue. In addition, evidence from Villiers Park Educational Trust’s other programmes demonstrate that 99.6% of their state school students due to graduate in 2016 did so.
Projects are assessed as they are completed, enabling students to undertake more than one project a year if applicable.
This Award is current – the online portal launched in December 2016 and complements the current processes in place.
Certificates are produced and sent to the student after each Award level is completed.
There is an expectation that students will progress through the Awards from Bronze to Gold, although students can start at any level. The Platinum Award is a stand-alone Award for students completing any level.
There is also an expectation that a large majority of students, and their peers, will progress to higher education, particularly if they have also participated in either the Scholars Programme or the Inspiring Excellence Programme.
Further information on Villiers Park INVOLVE and the Awards Portal are available here: www.villierspark.org.uk/our-courses-and-programmes/villiers-park-plus/
In addition information on Villiers Park Educational Trust’s other programmes is also available here: www.villierspark.org.uk/our-courses-and-programmes/