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Year 13 Further Education Course

These courses will provide your son or daughter with the opportunity to develop their skills and learning in a wide variety of areas. They can choose something that will help them with the next stage of their education or simply to develop a personal interest that they might have. The list below is by no means exhaustive and we believe that your son or daughter is more likely to engage with an activity if they have the autonomy to choose what they would like to do.

Getting involved with the Y13 Further Education Course will be optional but we would strongly encourage your son or daughter to engage with at least one of these learning opportunities over their final 5 weeks at Berkhamsted.  This will give them a sense of purpose, which will be good for their wellbeing, but it will also be something concrete that they can show to future employers that they achieved during the lockdown period and will set them apart from those not fortunate enough to be offered such opportunities. How much time your son or daughter spends on these activities will largely be up to them. Those students who choose to do a MOOC will be assigned a mentor who we would expect them to meet at least once each week for thirty minutes or so and MOOCs typically take 3 to 5 hours of work per week. So, the total time investment for your son or daughter will not be huge but the benefits for them in terms of wellbeing, creating a sense of purpose and skill development will be considerable.

We have sent your son or daughter a form to complete so that they can let us know what they would like to do by Monday 11 May. If they would like to take advantage of more than one opportunity, they should indicate this preference on the form and if they have an idea which is not on the list below, they should suggest it and we will do our best to support them with it.

MOOCs

These generally last for 2 – 8 weeks and require 3 – 5 hours per week of study. The courses are usually free but certificates cost £20 – £50 – which the School will pay for. If students would like to do a MOOC which costs less than £50, they can get this signed off by their mentor and receipts should be sent to drichardson@berkhamsted.com. If a student would like to do a MOOC costing more than £50, they should send a request to the same email address.

Unifrog has an enormous number of MOOC opportunities and your son or daughter has access to this platform. Parents – you can access Unifrog by registering through Unifrog, and using the form code: BerkhamstedParents.

MOOCs are also available here:

AB INITIO LANGUAGE MOOCs

Introduction to Chinese: Conversation Shanghai International Studies University 

Learn how to hold a basic conversation in Chinese Mandarin and master around 150 Chinese words with this online language course.

Conversational Chinese Course

Steps in Japanese for Beginners 

You will learn to say greetings, to introduce yourself, to ask about food and to order things in Japanese.

Beginner Japanese Course

Beginners’ Spanish: Getting around 

Do you want to improve your language skills and communicate more easily and effectively in Spanish? This free course, Beginners’ Spanish: Getting around, concentrates on Spanish as a tool for communication, but it also provides some insights into Hispanic societies and cultures through authentic printed and audio materials. This OpenLearn course focuses on public spaces and how to get by in a Hispanic city.

Spanish for Beginners Course

How to learn a language? 

Interested in learning another language but don’t know where to start? Learn about the concepts and skills required to learn languages successfully in this free course, How to learn a language. This course will introduce you to the skills and strategies you need for language learning. You will be encouraged to set realistic goals when learning a language, and you will be given advice on how to keep motivated to achieve these goals. You will practise speaking skills and vocabulary learning strategies.

How to Learn a Language

Introduction to Intercultural Studies: Crossing Borders 

Take a closer look at geographical and cultural borders and understand their effects on people who occupy them or cross them.

Crossing Borders – An Introduction to Intercultural Studies

TAUGHT AB INITIO LANGUAGES

These will be virtual taught classes for those wishing to start a language from scratch. 

Ab initio German

This taught, short course will offer a 5-week beginner’s introduction to the German language delivered virtually by Head of Sixth, Martin Walker. 

Ab initio Italian

This taught, short course will offer a 3-week beginner’s introduction to the Italian language and will be delivered by Dr Enrico Cecconi of the University of Bath. 

WELLBEING/HAPPINESS COURSE

This takes the same format as other MOOCs and takes approximately 18 hours to complete. Those who choose this option will be supported by a mentor. The course has an approval rating of 97%.

Description: 

In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to incorporate successfully a specific wellness activity into your life.

This is the format:

1. Introduction

2. Misconceptions about happiness

3. Why our expectations are so bad

4. How we can overcome our biases

5. Stuff that really makes us happy

6. Putting strategies into practice

7. Rewirement Challenge and Final Assignment

LEADERSHIP

Working in small groups, and supported by a teacher to mentor them, the group will look at leadership theories, the component skills of leadership, the art of public speaking, debating and team working. This will include 2 hours of contact time with the teacher and some individual work, around 3 hours per week, which will include mentoring a class in the Senior School or Prep. Each student will receive a grade at the end of the course and a certificate to provide evidence of activity completed. 

CAREERS WEBINARS

We have had a significant number of parents who have volunteered to deliver webinars and talk about various aspects of their work: 

  • what they do (most fulfilling aspects and greatest challenges) 
  • how they got into that career 
  • the skills and qualities they look for in young job applicants (if they employ people) 
  • how they foresee the current crisis changing the world of work 
  • tips on leadership (perhaps in a crisis) 
  • what they have recently (whether in recent months or years) changed their views on 
  • the advice they wish they had been given when they were at school 

Students will then be able to post questions on the ‘chat’ function to which the presenter will respond. The webinars would last between 30 and 45 minutes and run on Tuesdays at 14:00 and Thursday evening at 18:00. These talks will be advertised to all students in advance and they will need to sign up if they would like to take part. 

SITUATIONAL JUDGEMENT IN GRADUATE RECRUITMENT

There will be 4 elements to this course: 

  •  A LinkedIn masterclass presented by Old Berkhamstedian, Megan Evans, who left in 2016 and has secured a graduate job 
  • On-line situational judgement questions with automatic feedback 
  • A follow-up session with Megan who has experience in interviewing graduate recruits 
  • A panel interview followed by feedback from staff who have previous commercial experience 

PERSONAL FINANCE COURSE

This will be a self-led course with each student having a mentor to check progress and help with any issues. The following syllabus will be used as a starting point: 

Personal Finance Course

VOLUNTEERING

We have set up a partnership with Age UK Dacorum to provide support to local elderly people who may be isolated and lonely at the moment. Students have already volunteered to collaborate on a project with some local elderly people called ‘Berkhamsted Living Memories’. The idea is that students will ask their contact in a series of phone conversations about their life stories and will then write a summary of their memories to be collated in a book / portfolio / blog. 

PREPARE FOR UNIVERSITY STUDY

UCL have some free online courses for Y13s to help them to prepare for study at university. The course takes about 5 hours to complete so can be done alongside something else. The link to this course is below: 

UCL Study Prep 

SUBJECT SPECIFIC MOOCs

If your son or daughter would like to do something more subject specific, then they should indicate the subject in which they are interested in the Form that they receive. They will then be allocated a mentor to support them. A list of MOOC providers can be found above.