high school students walking outside

Steve Rhodes – NPTC

We’ve been speaking to Steve Rhodes of NPTC sixth form college to find out why this part of education is so critical, and how it is achieved. Click on the link below to read our interview with Steve.

Steve Rhodes – NPTC

British education is famed worldwide not just for the quality of academics that students receive, but for the life-skills and opportunities that students get outside of the traditional classroom setting. We’ve been speaking to Steve Rhodes of NPTC sixth form college in beautiful South Wales, to find out why this part of education is so critical, and how it is achieved. Click on the link below to read our interview with Steve.

Our interview with Steve

Everybody knows that passing exams are important, but what else is there to education?

Examination results and passing exams are really important – but in preparing for progression to university or work, students need to present their broader skills to give them the edge on their many competitors for University places and jobs.

I think the main reason for the UK being so strong in this area, is that we consider what our students learn rather than what we teach them. That is not to say that we don’t spend a lot of time planning the teaching activities, we do, but we do this within what we call a ‘student centred’ approach. So essentially the core skills we will help you develop – like; with working within a team, working independently, developing study skills, developing research skills, communication, self-reliance and independence all help our students to become well rounded ‘learners’ where their skills are developed as life skills both in and out of a traditional classroom setting.  And of course, writing a really thorough and interesting Personal Statement, setting out what your other life achievements, interests and ambitions will serve well in preparing for progressing in life.

Do you think that having evidence of these things helps students when applying for University?

Absolutely, whatever you say about yourself has to be authentic and convincing – so you must be prepared to say more in an interview situation about what you have claimed on an application. ‘Keep it real!’

So these things are important for those wanting to go to top universities, but do you think there are wider applications for these skills and experiences?

Yes definitely!!  Accessing University is a one-time event for most people, although the skills students learn outside of the classroom in the UK will last them a lifetime.  For example, developing strong communication skills will help students in both a professional and a personal way throughout their lives, whether they are competently explaining why they deserve that big promotion, or simply developing and maintaining their ever evolving social circles.

NPTC are known for having an excellent programme of enrichment opportunities for your students, can you tell us a little about this?

Our slogan is ‘more than just an education’ and we really live up to that in all that we do for our students, giving them a full and rich experience. Our students are able to join and even form clubs and societies and interest groups. We try not to prescribe what they do, allowing them to develop the things they want to in friendship groups. Some of the things our students have done for example, is to set up small enterprises, making and selling cakes to raise money for charities or to finance trips. There are also the obvious activities like sport and recreation activities.

How do students decide what they want to get involved with?

Within our Student Services department, we will invite them to both get involved in extra-curricular activities but it will be about personal choice with the things they want to get involved with – what is really great is when our students bring ideas to us of the types of things they want to get involved with and help set up. We are very keen to develop the ideas that come from our students.

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