The Get Ahead Programme (GAP) is designed to help you think more closely about how you can successfully market yourself to ‘Get Ahead’ of the crowd! As well as your academic achievements you need to be able to offer something else to a university or employer to make yourself an ‘attractive’ proposition. will help you make the most of your existing skills and may also help you find new ones. Everyone who applies to university through UCAS has to get ‘the grades’ to be successful but not everyone who has the necessary qualifications is offered a place … this means that unfortunately grades are not enough! You need to have something else to offer!
Now it may be that you have never really thought about this or that you already do loads which gives you an edge over other candidates but you just don’t even realise it. Built into your school timetable is a 2 hour each week that you can use to help you , but you need to use this time effectively. So you need to find something that makes you a better candidate by improving your knowledge, leadership skills or your personal reputation as a team player.
What are my options?
1) Find something to fill the from the opportunities mentioned in this page to be undertaken in a suitable in your timetable.
2) Find your own volunteer work and let us know.
3) Look at the things you already do in your own time, let us know what you are up to and use the 2 hours in your timetable to of your work so you have less to do after school.
In School Opportunities
EPQ: Extended Project Qualification (Staff Contact: Mrs Bell)
EPQ is a highly valuable and recognised course which will prepare you for the University style of study as well as develop transferable skills for the future. Ultimately it’s a personal research project that extends learning in a subject area OR in an area of personal interest. It can be something really creative, commercial, vocational or academic; it’s up to you and what you want to learn. You develop key research and independence skills in preparation for your future career or educational development. EPQ is a taught subject and is timetabled at 2 hours per week. You can take the EPQ in any direction which you think will benefit you, choosing your own brief, so it is incredibly flexible; we only specify that it mustn’t directly link with a project you are already studying for academically; the key word is ‘extension’.
EPQ is valued by employers and universities:
‘We welcome the introduction of the Extended Project and would encourage you to undertake one as it will help you develop independent study and research skills and ease the transition from school/college to higher education’ (University of Cambridge)
“Where applicants have undertaken the Extended Project (EP), the University will not make this a condition for an offer (as the EP is not a compulsory element of post-16 study) but recognises that the EP will provide an applicant with the opportunity to develop research and academic skills relevant for study at Oxford. Candidates are encouraged to draw upon their experience of undertaking the project when writing their personal statement, particularly if the topic is allied to their chosen degree course.” (University of Oxford)
We value the research skills and independent learning that the Extended Project is designed to develop.’ (University of Newcastle)
‘At PwC we’re not just looking for one type of person but for those from many different backgrounds with a variety of skills. We’re interested in talented students applying to us with strong academics but just as important are your employability skills’. (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
The EPQ could also give you an AQA baccalaureate qualification alongside your other A-Levels, not forgetting the potential 70 UCAS points for an A*
There are up to 40 places per year to complete the EPQ. Students will be given the opportunity to take part in this course if places are available and your timetable allows. If more than 40 students select the EPQ an interview will take place to gauge your commitment.
Some of the successful titles chosen by past students:
Will tourism have a detrimental impact on the health and lives of lions, leopards and cheetahs in Africa in the long term?- Anna Scriven
What are the hidden effects of diabetes and how do these effects impact on the quality of life for people with the illness?- Emma Livsey
‘To create a leaflet as part of a wider commercial campaign for West Yorkshire Fire and rescue service. The leaflet needs to educate Calderdale District residents about the consequences of their behaviours or actions on the roads. The final product needs to be in the form of a leaflet and A5 in size, it must include statistical information, from Calderdale specifically. A main feature of the leaflet should be a slogan that stands out, is simple and makes people stop and think. – Hannah Holden (In house task in 2012)
“In light of the police shootings of September 2012 in Greater Manchester, should capital punishment be reinstated in the United Kingdom’’ – Sam Denison
To what extent do you agree that the Magna Carta was a vital development in Legal History?- Matthew Ward
My Amazing First Cookbook- Katy Ratcliffe
‘A guide to the effects and treatment of binge drinking for adolescents’.- Isabelle Forrester
What are the socioeconomic benefits of advancing development in nuclear fusion and will it become a viable energy source within the next 20 years?- William Crabtree
How and Why Has the Old Trafford Football Stadium Developed Since Its Creation In 1909?- Thomas Dobbins
Students in the last cohort at Crossley Heath said they got a lot out of the course, learning valuable research, presentation, analytical and essay writing skills. Students also improved self-organisation and referencing skills whilst at the same time gaining in-depth knowledge and experience in a topic of their own choice. All of these skills will help with applications to University and work.
Enterprise (Staff Contact: Mrs Bell)
This opportunity is only open to students of Economics and Business. Want to set up your own small business? The Programme is a realistic business activity in which students set up and run a small business which sells products or services through a range of selling events, run their own bank and company accounts and participate in regional competitions. The Programme is supported by regular contact with a local Business Advisor and a representative from Young Enterprise Yorkshire.
CSLA: Community Sports Leader Award (Staff Contact: Miss Mallinder)
The award is a nationally recognised qualification that enables successful candidates to lead groups of people in sport/physical activity under indirect supervision. The qualification teaches generic skills such as organisation, planning, communication and teamwork through the medium of sport. It is a fun and practical qualification with no entrance requirements or final examination to sit. Students must complete 10 hours of sports leadership within the Community. Some of these hours can be achieved by leading and officiating at Primary Festivals held on our school site or in school clubs at lunchtime, however students should aim to assist in clubs outside school where possible. Students will also get the opportunity to undergo a 1st aid training as part of the course. The qualification is useful for students who might be planning to pursue teaching, personnel, sports coaching or who just enjoy working with young people. It is an excellent addition for students to include in their CVs.
Squash / Racket Ball (Staff Contact: Miss Mallinder)
Held at Queens sports club and can be arranged through the PE Department at school if you are interested.
Duke of Edinburgh Award (Staff Contact: Mrs Gallimore)
The D of E programme is a real adventure from beginning to end. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. You just need to be aged between 14 and 24 and realise there’s more to life than sitting on a sofa watching life pass you by. You can do programmes at three levels, which when completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The award is nationally recognised and another chance to really stand out. See: www.dofe.org/
STARS: Students Taking Active Roles in School (Staff Contact: Department Leaders)
A great way to gain new skills is working within departments in school. STARS have many different roles across the school depending on the subject’s needs at the time. Activities have included: development of the VLE, peer / subject mentoring for other students, display work, lunchtime clubs etc. To get involved talk to the Head of the subject that you would be interested in working with and see if they would like your help.
MOOC: Massive Open Online Course (Staff Contact: Mrs Bell)
A MOOC is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. They are supported and promoted by many universities and may provide you with knowledge and experience that other applicants don’t have. MOOCs use a variety of media and learning styles and courses are available in all sorts of areas and subjects and there may be one that suits you – check out https://www.mooc-list.com/
examples of just a few recent courses include:
The Bilingual Brain: This course explores the brain bases of bilingualism by discussing literature relevant to differences in age of initial learning, proficiency, and control in the nonverbal, single language and dual-language literature. Participants will learn about the latest research related to how humans learn one or two languages and other cognitive skills.
Common Sense Economics for Life: The Stavros Center for Economic Education of Florida State University (FSU) and Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship of Northern Michigan University will offer a six week cutting-edge, online course in economics and personal finance. Developed by a team of master economic educators, this course is for students who would like to learn more about economics, wealth and prosperity. This 16 module, multi-media course is understandable, easy to navigate, and focuses on what you really need to know about economics and personal finance. It will be taught by a seasoned online instructor.
Introduction to Dental Medicine: The mouth is the window into human health. This course provides an overview of dental medicine to engage, educate, excite and assist you in improving the oral health of your patients and members of your community.
Begin Robotics: Explore the history, anatomy and intelligence of robots with this free online course. Test drive robots using exciting simulations.
Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier: Explore the archaeology of the most heavily fortified frontier in the Roman Empire, its people and their lives.
Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe: Exploring the biggest mysteries of modern astrophysics.
Work Experience / Volunteering
Alzheimer’s Society (Staff Contact: Ms Rudman)
At Alzheimer’s society we run services in Calderdale which support people living with dementia and their families and support network. Alzheimer’s society groups in Calderdale are supported by a dedicated team of volunteers and this includes people supporting our memory cafés, our singing groups and our support groups. Our volunteers support us in the practical tasks of setting up and offering refreshments and also join in the groups to chat and sing with people who attend. Our groups are lively and fun and we look for friendly people who are willing to join in and get to know people. We are also very keen to meet people who play a musical instrument and would be willing to bring their skills to our groups on occasion! Our volunteers all need to provide two references and need to complete a DBS check. We ask people to commit to a regular group for at least six months as a lot of change can be disruptive for the groups. We do often have one off events which we look for support with though so if you can’t come on a regular basis then still get in touch.
NHS Hospitals (Staff Contact: Mrs Lea)
Every year students sign up to volunteer at either Halifax Hospital or at Huddersfield Hospital in their own time. This does involve a large commitment and an external application process. If you are interested please talk to Mrs Lea in the Science Department for further details.
St Augustine’s (Staff Contact: Ms Rudman)
St. Augustine’s Centre, based in Park Ward Halifax, is a community centre for anyone who needs help, advice or support. Based on the Christian faith, which respects and values individuals, the Centre welcomes the vulnerable and cares for all, regardless of faith, ethnicity, background or any other factors. We offer a warm and welcoming environment for people to access support and advice from friendly workers and volunteers. We help with basic needs and hope to build confidence to encourage participation within the community, which enables people to improve their lives and reduce the barriers that can cause poverty and isolation. The people who come to St. Augustine’s Centre are at the heart of our work. They come together to share meals and stories, to work together, supporting each other and becoming friends – in short to build a community. If you would like to be part of our work, then there are opportunities to get involved in our packed programme of activities including weekly Support Groups, Adult Education, Social Activities, and Advice Sessions. You could get involved in hosting the Welcome Café, some case work, research or help out in the very busy office. Two placements are available, depending on your individual interests.
IT Support / Computer Networking (Staff Contact: Mr Lees)
At the Crossley Heath School we run a modern computer network based on Virtual Machines, Meraki Switches and Wifi, Active Directory amongst many other things. Students may volunteer to help out with the IT department in school, we do ask people to commit for at least a year as there is a lot to learn and you will gain some invaluable knowledge and experience should you wish to further you career in IT.
We have some excellent opportunities to work in Primary Schools in the area and have built up some great links. Student volunteers have gained a lot from these placements in terms of work experience and personal development.Due to the responsible nature of working in schools; these are the expectations from our contacts:
– Attend the school at a regular time and day, so as to build a relationship with teachers and students; young students will be very disappointed if they are waiting for you and you don’t turn up, or if you are late. You can discuss this on your first day and agree a timetable, some schools prefer timetables to be agreed before you arrive.
-Commitment to the whole academic year, even after UCAS forms are written! You will jeopardise future placements at these schools if you do not make a good impression and it gives you a more realistic experience of a professional working life if you complete a full year.
-Good communication: if you can’t attend for any genuine reason you should communicate this in advance to your link person at the school, always greet students and staff, say thank you and goodbye, little things make a big difference.
Primary Schools (Staff Contact: Mrs Bell)
Currently we have links with Savile Park Primary, Copley Primary, Holy Trinity Primary, St Mary’s Catholic Primary, New Road Primary School, Burnley Road Primary and Salter Hebble Primary. However, if you have a contact at your local Primary School and would like to contact them yourself to offer your help you may get a placement there.
Ravenscliffe High School (Staff Contact: Mrs Bell)
Working with disabled children and SEN staff at Ravenscliffe.
The Gleddings (Staff Contact: Mrs Bell)
This year the Gleddings are also looking for two responsible students to run their library on Wednesday afternoons. (Payment is not possible for enrichment, but vouchers may be offered for this placement).
How to apply for school based placements:
Contact Mrs Bell via email to apply for school based opportunities, please provide a written statement and one reference as to your ability to commit responsibly firstname.lastname@example.org Please note these may be passed on to the schools and should be written formally. A preference to which school you wish to volunteer at may be expressed in the email section (not the letter), but this will be subject to availability.
In addition to a large personal development project you may also want to get involved in some of the things below which may help fill the in your personal statement however, on their own they are not enough to make you stand out …
School Official Positions, Form Prefects, Charity Officials
All of these positions show that you can deal with responsibility and have organisation / leadership skills that may appeal to an employer.
There are numerous House Activities throughout the school year and even if you are not a House Official the 6th Form students are essential to ensuring that these events take place and are a success.
Basic First Aid Course
Each year we offer a half day basic first aid course for students with an interest in medically linked careers. This will be set up often on a staff training day and students will be able to sign up for a place on the course. Look out for information on this opportunity via the notices in form time and please note this is not to be chosen as a main enrichment area, only to supplement other enrichment choices.
The fitness centre is open to students who wish to use it on a lunchtime and after school in support of a healthy lifestyle. If you choose this option you will be expected to complete a log book, to record each session, this is to show commitment to it regularly just as you would any of the other options because on its own being a ‘gym junkie’ is just not enough.
Expectations, Monitoring and Support
The activities you find to fill the in your timetable need to lead to some form of personal development and must show commitment in order for them to be useful in terms of improving your university and job applications.
This means that the work put into them should equal approximately 40 hours over the whole school year (1 hour per week) as a minimum. This can be done either as a stand alone project or a weekly commitment.
Any ‘work’ undertaken must be voluntary and unpaid.
Please note all of our placements expect a certain level of reliability and commitment. You will also be expected to be polite, punctual, appropriately dressed for the placement you are undertaking. You must also ensure that if you cannot attend for any genuine reason you contact your placement as soon as possible as a matter of courtesy as people may be relying on you.
You will need to set up your activity by the start of October. You will also need to inform Mrs Bell (Geography) / Ms Rudman of your plan and submit your Form to Mrs Fisher in the 6th Form office.
In your 1:1 meeting with your Form tutor progress with your G.A.P project will be discussed.
Also once a term (November and March) a simple monitoring form will need to be filled in by you and we would like it to be signed by your host with regards to your attendance, attitude, commitment and progress, which will then need to be checked and signed by your Form Tutor.
You can also see Ms Rudman (Post 16 Pastoral Support & Careers Coordinator), Liz Hirst (Careers advisor), Mrs Fisher (Sixth Form Pastoral Administrator) or Mrs Bell ( Coordinator and Teacher of Geography) to discuss options or speak to any of the staff/ students named in this booklet about the opportunities available to you. You can also ask your Form Tutor or Mr Donlan for any help or advice you need.