At King’s College, Taunton, the lockdown has led to a number of online innovations to help its pupils and over the last two weeks of term the school ran a Festival of Careers and Entrepreneurship for the Upper Sixth Form.
Making full use of the omnipresent Teams technology, and the good will of their guests, twice a day for ten days King’s welcomed a wide range of speakers, all with the desire to squeeze the very most out of life’s possibilities.
Guests included the soon to be Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie, successful entrepreneur old boy Ted Nash, David Flatman, rugby player and broadcaster, Colonel Wilde for a take on life in the military, and the President of Astra Zeneca UK, Tom Keith-Roach, who took time away from finding and manufacturing a vaccine for Covid, to give pupils his take on how to forge a fulfilling life.
The activity was the brainchild of King’s Director of Development, Julian Mack, and Head of Sixth Form, Oliver Ridley and began with academic enrichment programmes for both the Fifth Form and Upper Sixth Form.
Pupils in the Fifth Form were able to undertake pre-A level courses, learning more about what to expect next year, while the Upper Sixth engaged in undergraduate-style micro-courses, designed to give them a flavour of university coursework.
These courses were written by former students of King’s who are now at university themselves. They put together a week’s worth of undergraduate work to let the current Sixth Formers have a go at what they will be doing next year. The final two weeks of the programme were then focused on careers and business.
Commenting, Julian Mack, said: “Rich with messages, reflecting the ethos of King’s Schools, we hope the advice offered will be invaluable to our leavers, who no doubt face a tougher than usual challenge to assimilate into the world post school.”
He added: “The age old truths came flooding through: get stuck in, be kind, be positive in the face of adversity, be yourself and avoid perpetual comparison, force yourself to step out of your social comfort zone, make a contribution to society particularly during a crisis like Covid, develop hobbies and bring humanity and humility to everything you do.”
Oliver Ridley, Head of Sixth Form at King’s, said, “Given the circumstances we felt it was really important to give these young people plenty of useful and enjoyable work to do. Communicating with the pupils while they were working at home allowed us to be creative and imaginative in our teaching methods, and I think the academic staff have really enjoyed that challenge.”