The Devon Studio School
The Devon Studio School is a new and exciting educational development. The school, which will open in September 2013 on the Torbay Hospital site, will give young people the opportunity to focus on health, social care and early years in a specialist environment. All studio schools aim to bridge the gap between educational and working life and students are given the opportunity to take part in relevant work placements alongside their studies. Changing the balance between education and working life is part of Principal Katherine Davis Wills motivation behind setting up the school.
I think it is an exciting opportunity to access work experience in a wider range of fields. The Devon Studio School will allow students with interests in health, social care and early years to do this. This ethos will run through the academic side of their curriculum as much as the vocational.
The school will have a capacity of up to 300 students and I look forward to seeing how the school develops and meeting its pupils in the future. Contact details for further information are as follows: 08000 380701 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
An extract from Heidi's life story in her own words.
My name is Heidi. I am 24 and from Paignton. I am going to tell you a little extract from my life story. I am autistic and I was diagnosed when I was 18. I was severely bullied at school and it affected my life. It knocked my self-confidence and self-esteem. I struggled through my life and I felt very insecure and had no self-identity. I was called names and shouted at. When I moved to secondary school I struggled so much with the work.
I felt worthless, unwanted and beaten up. My mum had taken me to the doctors and got me tested, as she had read about autism and she was comparing me to the sort of signs and symptoms described. The doctor agreed to get me tested for autism. So in early 2008 I went through the various tests and it came out that I had mild autism and learning difficulties, all this struggling in school if only I had been diagnosed then and had the right support!
I always wanted to work with children as I love working with children, but people kept putting me down and saying you can't do that. It was winding me up and making me feel more awful than I felt before. So I decided to take the bull by the horns and do my NVQ2 in childcare in 2007 and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It gave me a sense of life and purpose I had never had before and I proved people wrong and that I could do it.
After that course I did a Volunteers Award Certificate and I got nominated as Learner of the Year for overcoming my dyslexia. In 2010 I completed my NVQ Level 3 in childcare and I am now looking for some paid employment. I feel so happy that I battled through thick and thin to get to do what I wanted with my life. I believe you can do anything if you can put your mind to it. You can prove so much to people and to yourself. It may take some time and it takes patience, perseverance and determination to prove people wrong. It has been a terrific rollercoaster ride for me but I have come out with such an achievement.
If you want have more insight of my story or leave a response in the guestbook feel free to look at www.mylifewithautism.net
Send my Friend to School
Children across the constituency have got involved to remind world leaders about the importance of education for all in the annual "Send my Friend to School" campaign. I was delighted to receive the gold medal messages from some of the pupils and to see their dedication to raising the profile of those less fortunate than themselves
"We Made It"
Calling all thirteen to sixteen year olds. Would you like to take part in "The We Made It!" competition which is being run by the Dods Manufacturing Dialogue. You are invited to submit designs for an object, gizmo or toy you would like to see made. I will be looking at all the entries from this constituency and forwarding the winning entry to be entered into the nationwide competition with a chance of making your idea a reality. The overall winner will be announced at a ceremony in Parliament to which all the constituency winners will be invited. So please get creative and imaginative and start inventing now!
It is always a pleasure to welcome local students to Westminster to gain some work experience. I recently welcomed Paignton Community College student, Chloe Oldham for a week in Parliament where she helped out in the office and attended some debates.
Chloe said; "My experience of Parliament was amazing and I learnt a lot. I was able to watch a debate in the House of Commons and I thought that the MPs were very devoted and passionate about their views and causes. I was also lucky enough to be there during the Prorogation and watch the ceremony whereby Parliament is closed by a speech from the Queen. Overall it was a brilliant week and a great opportunity to learn some of the 'ins and outs" of Parliament and I enjoyed my time there".
One Man Against the Odds
Written by Oli Masters
People say that being a woman in a man's world is difficult, but has anyone stopped and thought about how difficult it is to be a man in a woman's world?
I am a student at South Devon College studying Childcare and Education. People have told me I would be better at mechanics or joining the Forces but in my mind childcare is the career that I want to do for the rest of my working life. I love working with children; they bring a certain joy to my life that no other profession can offer to me. There is nothing that would change my mind as when I walk into my placement I cannot help but smile. The children there make me feel like I am wanted and needed. They instil a sense of pride and responsibility in me that is un-rivalled throughout my life.
Out of a class of thirty, I am the only male and sometimes I feel quite outnumbered especially when I am looking for someone to talk to about the Formula One. I do not feel any less like a man because of the course I am on. This course is an opportunity for me to prove to people that men can be good at working in childcare settings and I am determined to break the bad stereotype of men around children.
My interest in working with children was first apparent at aged six when my dad's new partner started to come to my house with her little daughter. I used to play with her and entertain her with any of the games I could remember from when I used to play them. I used to love making up new games and stories for her, her smile was something that I looked forward to seeing when I visited my dad at weekends. When people saw me with her they used to tell me that I had a gift with children and I could soothe her easily when she was upset.
Because of my extensive family I was always around younger children, I cannot remember a time where I was not a role model for the rest of the children. In a sense I was a carer of these children and I went to 'parents evenings' with them when my family could not and cooked when my parents were at work. I also love to see these children from when they are very small and holding my finger with their whole hand to when they first learn to say my name. Seeing them flourish under my own and my parents' care is a feeling that keeps me determined to do the best I can for these children.
There needs to be more male role models in childcare especially now that there is a fear of grooming and this is something that with the right education and careful safeguarding policies we can prevent. Some children can go all week without ever seeing or talking to an adult male role model and so I wish to have more of these role models in settings so that it does not become something out of the ordinary to speak to men.
I wish to be a nursery practitioner but I also wish to educate carers and children alike about the benefits of working with children and the impact we all can have on the lives of those we care for.
During February I visited South Devon College, where I met some young people who have taken advantage of the National Apprenticeship Scheme.
Lily is one of these apprentices and her story below highlights the benefits of earning whilst learning and achieving recognised qualifications, if you feel as an employer or as a young person that you would be interested in this scheme please click the links for further details.
I am a Sport Development Apprentice at South Devon College. My main roles are to promote sport around college, encourage people to get involved in physical activity, organise events, apply for funding and congratulate young people on their success.
In my opinion, apprentices are the way forward. They bring life to businesses by sharing new ideas and up to date practices. Employees can develop a young person's potential by sharing their expertise and showing them things that work and things that don't work in their areas.
Personally I love being an apprentice, I get to work in a real, day-to-day environment and therefore I am learning new things every day. I have built up so many contacts and networks while I have been working here and I have met a lot of inspiring people who have made me want to work really hard for what I want.
I am gaining a Gym Instructor Level 2, a higher sports leader's award, my Gold Duke of Edinburgh award and 2 coaching qualifications on top of my NVQ 3 in Sports Development whilst on my apprenticeship.