Out of the Classroom
The Smart Project is not just a classroom.
Cookery is one of the options that the students can choose to participate in on a Wednesday. Over the past four years it has become increasingly more popular, with more boys choosing this course than girls. We start with very basic recipes and in the second term work in pairs to choose and plan what they wish to cook. At the end of the academic year we run a master chef competition. Each student has a budget of £10 to plan, shop for and cook a two course meal which is judged, and a prize awarded to the winner. The students have been very creative and have produced salmon steaks with dill potatoes, chicken and mango bruschetta’s, crème brulee, and summer fruit cheesecake to name but a few. This course encourages creativity, self expression and increases confidence and many of the students attend work experience in the catering industry and start catering college when they leave the project.
Another choice for Wednesdays is to follow a Childcare Course. Over the year students will learn about pregnancy, child development, childcare, safety, play and first aid. This course also looks at women's issues and the students have the opportunity to attend conferences covering these issues. They will also be working towards an OCN in childcare certificate.
This course covers the theory and practical sides of basic car maintenance and servicing. Students will learn about tools, safety, engine and car parts in a working garage, as well as working on different vehicles. They will also be working towards a mechanics OCN certificate.
Arts & Crafts
Over the past couple of years we have worked with the Centre Project where the students have taken part in pottery, UV paintings, Batik art, mosaics, glass painting, Christmas decoration making and music sessions. These sessions help the students to develop and explore their creative abilities and have new experiences. They will also be working towards an OCN certificate in art and crafts.
The team building days are incorporated into the course at the start of every academic year. The tasks that they complete help to build relationships within the group and they help us to see who are strong leaders and problem solvers. We work with the Carmarthenshire Youth Service on these days and they are always very successful. The team building days play a huge part in putting together portfolios for the student’s ‘Working with Others’ Key Skill and the Princes’ Trust xl Club Award.
As part of the Princes’ Trust xl Club, the students take part in a residential activity which for the past 4 years has been at the Llandysul Paddlers centre. Over the two days the students have the opportunity to take part in the following activities:
Open boating on the River Teifi.
As well as taking part in these activities, the students have the responsibility of cooking an evening meal and breakfast for the group and cleaning up the kitchen. The residential has been a very successful part of the course and also helps to build relationships and increases confidence.
Towards the end of the academic year the students have the opportunity to attend a longer residential. For the past few years this has been a 3 night camping and open boating trip down the River Wye. The students have to prove themselves on 3 practice sessions before they are selected and we normally take between five and nine students on this expedition each year and it has been a fantastic experience for all involved.
All students are encouraged to take part in weekly sports sessions. These can include football, rugby, squash, badminton, netball, circuit training or swimming. These sessions improves the students' skills and fitness and are used towards their life skills certificate.
Personal & Social Development
Liz and Andrea from the Iechyd Da project come in during the year to do group sessions on Sexual Health, Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Personal Safety, Hygiene, Healthy Eating and Bullying. They are also available for one-to-one confidential sessions on any personal issues.
As part of the Project we encourage the students to attend a work experience placement for 2 days per week. The students choose their placement depending on what vocational route they would like to follow in the future. Work experience is beneficial for the students as they can try out the route before committing to it fully and eliminate it as a choice if they don’t enjoy it. No pressure is put on students to take part in work experience and they can decide when they are ready to attend. A great deal of support is given to the students and they are encouraged to keep a diary while at placement to evaluate what they have learned. A risk assessment is completed by Careers Wales West and a Health and Safety Checklist is completed by Jobforce Wales before the student starts in placement, to ensure that the employer can provide a safe working environment. Some of the routes that the students have chosen in the past include:
Hotel and Catering
Phoenix Fire Course
The Phoenix Fire Course is run by the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. In partnership with the Youth Offending Service, our students have the opportunity to attend this course. Over a week's intensive training the students learn about fire safety, how to use ladders and hoses, breathing apparatus, road and water safety and first aid. At the end of the course there is a Passing Out parade where the students demonstrate what they have learned and receive their certificates in front of family, tutors and local dignatries. The course is designed to raise awareness of emergency situations and give them a sense of responsibility, as well as encouraging team work and raising confidence levels.
Throughout the year we take part in many other activities as a special reward for hard work and good attendance. These include buggying, laser-zone, paintballing, ten-pin bowling and a day-trip to Alton Towers. At Christmas the staff and students have a fancydress party, and at the end of the year we have a farewell BBQ and prize giving.
In 2007 the students raised over £500 for Children In Need by holding a Bring-and-Buy sale and also took part in a Communities First project by picking up litter in the local area.
We work closely with the Princes Trust and have taken part in a Tag Rugby Initiative where the students trained to coach primary school children in Tag Rugby and then helped to run a Tag Rugby Festival at the Graig College. We also visited the Millienium Stadium where we met Scott Quinnell, had a tour of the stadium and watched the Welsh team train. We were also invited to attend an xl celebration day in the Millenium Centre where the students had an opportunity to take part in workshops about football skills, special effects makeup, army instruction, DJ skills and Brazilian dancing.