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Mr Ross: A teacher's view

Headteacher, Kirkland High School

S3 pupils from Kirkland High School and Community College participated in the Lift Off to Success programme during the summer break. LO2S helped the school to raise the aspirations of the young participants at a critical time of their school career. The pupils were given the opportunity to experience different colleges and universities during a residential held at Dundee University.

The pupils were able to work with staff and students from universities and colleges across Fife, Dundee, Perth & Kinross and Angus. The purpose of the initiative was to raise the aspirations of the young people and to demonstrate what life is like as a student. This was a unique experience giving young people who had possibly not considered continuing with education after school the opportunity to meet students and staff and experience a week of student life.

The experience is designed to demystify the perceived barriers to education and give the young people the motivation to consider further study as an option available to them. This has given them the chance to access valuable information, advice and guidance from current students, lecturers and advisers. One of the participants said that LO2S "allowed me to do things I didn’t think I could do" demonstrating that the lessons learned from this experience often cannot be taught in the classroom. Sharing the experience with other young people from many different schools has inspired the participants.

On returning to school the pupils have certainly demonstrated that they have much higher aspirations and are motivated to consider college or university as a future option. The programme embodies the values of the school in terms of our School of Ambition and the school motto “Learning for Life”. Often young people who are not familiar with college or university do not feel that they have the confidence or the ability to consider this as a future route. However, a positive and open attitude can inspire young people.

In the words of Henry Ford;

"If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right".

This programme has given the participants a "can-do" attitude and the option to minimise barriers to post-school study. It provided them with the opportunity to develop life-skills and to develop the four capacities – successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.

We would wholeheartedly recommend young people to participate in this project if they are given the opportunity.

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