One of the of the highlights of working at Open Awards is visiting our centres and meeting learners. It keeps you connected to the reason why we do what we do - to change lives through learning. Based in Cheshire The Russett School caters for learners aged from 2 to 19 years old with special educational needs. I was lucky enough to be invited to sit in on a class at the school working towards achieving an Open Awards Skills for Further Learning and Employment (SFLE) qualification.
Walking through the school corridors with teacher and Careers Lead Julie Hulse I could see how diverse learner needs were and was impressed by the range of specialist resources available. Julie has worked within the school for just over a year, having worked previously with SEND students in Further Education. She explained that the learners who I were about to meet had a range of special educational needs and were aged between 13 and 19 years old. The session would be covering content from the SFLE units ‘Following Instructions’, ‘Understanding a Balanced Diet’ and ‘Participating in an Enterprise Project’. I was about to witness a cookery lesson!
As I walked into Room 11 (KS4/5) I was greeted by a lively group of learners wearing aprons, hands washed and ready to bake. The class has been working on a business plan as part of the enterprise unit and came up with the concept of the Apple Café – a fully working café within the school selling items for profit. Learners had already worked on their business plan – identifying their target market, conducting market research, naming the project and designing a logo. Today the group would embark on baking their first two products - lemon and orange drizzle cakes.
Julie led the session by working through the recipe with the learners and getting everyone involved. Every opportunity was taken to reinforce knowledge – even some functional skills were thrown into the mix. “We want to make two cakes – what is 225g doubled?”, “What could we do to reduce the saturated fat content in this recipe?”; “Does anybody know what the difference is between granulated and caster sugar”? The group were happy to answer questions confidently and each took their turn to weigh, mix and zest. At one point in the session learners encountered a problem –after pouring half of the mixture into the baking tray it became apparent that there wasn’t enough mixture to fill the other tray. Julie opens it up to the class -“How can we solve this problem?” The group quickly decides to nominate a person to make some more mixture resolving the issue.
With both the lemon and orange drizzle cakes in the oven the group took time to reflect on what they had been doing. It was time for me to leave. The class had clearly bought into the idea of the Apple Café. They enjoyed working together with their peers and learnt new skills in a lesson which not only covered many different unit specifications, but was also lots of fun.
Claire Cooper-Shaw - Development and Marketing Officer
To find out more about SFLE qualifications click here or give us a call on 0151 494 2072.