Making Things Happen

Sixth Formers Return 100% Satisfaction Rating


South Wolverhampton and Bilston (SWB) Academy opened in September 2009. SWB aims to ensure that every student masters a wide range of skills through studying a broad and balanced curriculum suited to their needs.


The Academy, soon to move into new buildings, (see artist’s impression) also encourages its students “to gain the skills they need to become effective citizens and have a successful and happy life”.

Joanne Bandurak

Mrs Joanne Bandurak, Head of Sixth Form, wanted to give her students a flying start to their Post 16 experience. She was also particularly keen to stress to her students the importance of managing their time better and to increase their self-confidence, so as to raise their aspirations beyond their immediate locality.

Jo considered the Bright Futures 5-Stage Post 16 Programme. She quickly realised that it would work best if it were pre-planned and linked to other initiatives running within the organisation. So Jo contracted with Bright Futures for them to come into the Academy at different times during the year to provide an imaginative series of active-learning sessions to enhance the weekly enrichment programme running within the Academy.

This year, the Transition or Induction programme took place after the Year 11 exams in late June. Next year, Jo has decided to run this in early September of Year 12.

The Bright Futures’ Sixth Form Induction Programme provided Jo’s students with a series of enjoyable and stimulating challenges to introduce them to their new sixth form responsibilities. It covered issues such as motivation, self-starting, time management and team building and introduced students to the skills, qualities and attitudes they need to be successful, both within the sixth form and beyond. One student observed:

“I learned more about my own strengths and weaknesses. It also gave me time to think about what it means to be a sixth former and what is now expected of me.”

The Sixth Form Personal Leadership and Vision Programme invited students to examine different aspects of leadership and then focus on their own dream or vision so as to clarify their core values. The session culminated in student presentations in which each team member practised different leadership skills such as negotiation, communication and persuasion. SWB sixth formers gave this session 100% ratings for interest, intelligibility, enjoyment and learning about leadership.


The Bright Futures’ ‘Independent Learning’ Programme introduced Jo’s Year 12s to the attitudes and approaches needed to move from being a dependent to an independent and finally an interdependent learner. They also examined theories about learning, explored memory skills, practised time and self management, and gained a deeper understanding of their brain and of the ‘growth mindset’.

After the third of these programmes, Jo commented: “Once again the Bright Futures’ staff were very professional in all that they did with the students. Both students and support staff were very impressed by the sessions.”

The Sixth Form ‘Passport’ Programme occurred mid-way through Year 13 and it covered many of the practical aspects of independent living including financial capability, student loans, debt and credit, and practical budgeting. One staff member commented after this programme: “This was a valuable and engaging insight into the importance of money and the responsibilities that come with managing your own budget.”

Here are some more student observations about what they thought were the highlights of these programmes:

  • The bit about mind maps and note-taking;
  • The memory techniques for revising;
  • Working with people I wouldn’t normally;
  • The short activities were useful and enjoyable;
  • Organisation skills.

The only suggestion the students made for an improvement was to allocate even more time to the half-day sessions.

Staff present during the programmes made the following additional observations:

  • The students realised the importance of focusing and thinking about future goals;
  • They learned new skills including teamwork, independence, creative thinking, and risk taking;
  • They were really talking and listening to each other;
  • There was lots of thinking outside of the box.

Jo is now considering including the fifth Bright Futures’ module in her enrichment programme this coming year. In these uncertain times, she wants to make her students as employable as possible. The Bright Futures’ ‘Employability’ programme allows students to consider:

  • how to approach job applications;
  • what makes a good CV;
  • university and job interviews;
  • communication skills and other key employability skills, and
  • public speaking and networking skills.

Every Bright Futures’ programme always results in a detailed report to the Academy, mapping the exercises to the six PLTS and to the work-related learning skills framework.

Matt Watson, Director of Bright Futures, observed: “I am delighted to be working so closely with such a forward-thinking Academy. South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy has embraced the sequential nature of our 5-stage Post 16 modules and has realised how powerful the cumulative impact of the whole programme can be.”

Kerry Inscker, the Principal of SWB Academy, commented: “I am confident that these programmes will contribute to ensuring that all of our students make the academic and personal progress needed to enable them to achieve their goals and become valued and respected members of our community. We share with Matt the hope that our students will have a ‘bright future’.”

Kerry Inscker
South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy
Wolverhampton, West Midlands, WV4 6AP
T: 01902 558660
F: 01902 558661

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