Waid Academy in Anstruther works to create positive pathways for its pupils whilst minimising the impact of its rural location. Through DYW (Fife) and multiple programmes and partnerships with local businesses, colleges and bodies, the team coordinates and facilitates positive career destinations and contextualised learning opportunities across Fife to meet the needs of Waid Academy pupils.
With DYW (Fife) as the mechanism to bring it all together, the school has had some incredible results for businesses, young people and wide-reaching benefits for the local community. From collaborations with Fife College, Cambo Estate and North East Fife Credit Union to SRUC Elmwood, the Fairmont Hotel, East Neuk Frail & Elderly Project and St Andrews Links Trust, Waid Academy has some exceptional success stories to tell.
Waid Academy has strong links with The North East Fife Credit Union to lessen the impact of rural poverty in the area, for example running a blazer bank and saving scheme for families who may struggle with the cost of school uniform or to help them budget for trips and additional school expenses. At school, the credit union is run by pupils who learn vital financial management knowledge and skills.
A partnership at the home of golf with the St Andrews Links Trust, creates valuable tourism work experience and training for pupils. In one example, this includes building a bank of additional support for a pupil who needs an enhanced transition. Working together to meet his needs, a programme of support was developed which aims to build towards a full apprenticeship. This has created the perfect environment for him to develop the necessary skills and experience over time to ensure readiness for his future. In this way, he will be able to successfully build his skillset and work towards accessing an apprenticeship at a manageable pace.
The school also runs a monthly befriending service in conjunction with East Neuk Frail and Elderly project. With a half day every Friday, pupils volunteer after school to meet and engage with the elderly community from Anstruther and the surrounding area at a monthly lunch club. The regular attendance and engagement from the community is testament to the success of the project and the benefits for young people include social skills development and waitressing, as well as being responsible for entertainment and games at the session.
At Cambo Estate, there have been many successful placements for pupils with lots of gardening, landscaping and green woodworking skills on offer. In some cases, the pupils succeeded in tasks that they didn’t think they were capable of, creating confidence for pupils and a great deal of pride in their achievements. Many pupils use these experiences to progress onto courses at SRUC Elmwood in Cupar, who also run horticulture classes at Waid for senior students.
Moreover, as a traditional fishing area, many Waid Academy pupils have accessed Sea Survival Training, which was developed with the Fife Fisherman’s Association and help from the local RNLI. This allows pupils to complete a ‘Sea Readiness Certification’ which is a first step towards getting onto a boat. This encompasses essential safety training including rescue and recovery, aimed at minimising and managing ‘risk to life’ situations at sea.
For teachers, DYW (Fife) offers a more in-depth understanding of how subjects taught in school can relate to the job market and the value of transferrable skills. Helping pupils to see how their school subjects translate into industry and giving clarity on skills for improved employability, puts things into context for everyone involved.
DYW has supported the school to engage more productively with local businesses and colleges to create the best possible opportunities for pupils. The links between enterprise and education are more entwined and focused on working together for the greater good. Certainly, for those further from the job market, DYW (Fife) ensures that the destinations pupils are working towards, are more long-term, career-based opportunities.