Compass For Life have worked collaboratively with Pewsey Vale School since September 2016. This work has become integral to the school. Projects have been varied including working with senior leaders (vision and team), whole staff CPD, student workshops, parent/family workshops, transition for Year 5 & 6 pupils, leadership training for students and the development of a whole school programme. Pewsey Vale now support a wider network of schools in implementing and developing their own programmes.

"This programme has already proven its potential to close the disadvantage gap between students and assist social mobility. Once developed, these skills become a powerful support system on their journey through life."

-Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham and British Education commentator

We started the project by running a Compass For Life launch day with new Year 7 students in which they developed their own map. Parents were invited to an evening event. This was very well received with record numbers of parents attending – they wanted to see their child’s map. The project then extended to developing student leaders – Navigators – who have taken on numerous roles across the school. These include: peer mentors – helping students in younger years with well-being; inspirational role models – running Compass For Life activities for younger year groups;working alongside the SLT to develop a student voice; attending parish council meetings to have a wider voice in the community; and supporting the transition of new Year 7 students. The programme now runs throughout the school with lessons being delivered as part of the PSHRE lesson timetable, but more importantly running through the culture. Each pupil at Pewsey Vale has their own Compass map which they have shared with staff, parents and fellow pupils. This identifies their Super North Star, as well as the tools that they will need to reach it. This empowers the pupils on a daily basis as it provides a context for their learning that extends far beyond the classroom. Compass For Life has led to inspirational people coming into school to support careers activities, such as Mindy the astronaut attending the school careers fair. A student who identified that her Super North Star was to become a professional skier also had the opportunity to interview Olympic ski-jumper Eddie the Eagle. Compass For Life has supported the school to deliver the Gatsby benchmarks for statutory careers education, particularly linking curriculum learning to careers and addressing the needs of each pupil.

“Why do Compass for Life? That is simple, because it is what many of our children need, a compass to give them direction in life and the skill set and mindset to achieve their Super North Star.”

We are tracking student Super North Stars year on year, and we have seen a massive increase in aspirational goals. This was also evident at our last presentation evening with far more students going on to study courses linked to their Super North Stars post-16. The Compass For Life Foundation enables young people to consider a future without limitations. As such, this creates positive changes in social mobility helping to reduce the disadvantage gap; not only in Pewsey Vale School, but in all of the schools in which they work.

Tracy Richards

Chair of Governors at Pewsey Vale School

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