Turn this Crazy Time Around! Creative Ways for Year 11 Students to Keep up Core Skills and more…

Stuck with Year 11 kids at home for the next few months? It’s been such a challenging time and while many students have found ways to be proactive, others have zero motivation to do anything. 

Many schools have now sent A-level work in advance of next year. Others have sent links to courses.

But lots of students haven’t yet decided on their plans next year. Maybe they’re not continuing at their current schools. Maybe they still need to keep up with core skills. Maybe they’re attacking their pre-A-level work with gusto – and now need to explore other things too.

So…we’ve put together a list of interesting ideas of things for students to be getting on with over the next few months. And hopefully it’s all a bit different from what you’re hearing about from schools.

We suspect that over the next 18 months this may also prove critical for UCAS; universities will be interested to hear how students spent this time.

Do pass this list to any year 11 students – or even Year 10, 12 13 students, if relevant – in case it would help them focus their minds on their future. 

Keeping Up Core Skills 

Some ideas for English and Literacy…

  • Set up a blog about something of interest. Here’s an example – Tolmeia Gregory has been running her blog challenging fast fashion since she was 11 years old! Another role model is American Gabe Fleischer, who established his newsletter WakeUptoPolitics when in his teens – and now has over 50,000 subscribers.
  • You might think there’s quite a lot at the moment that we need to challenge or campaign for in society. Are there any letters you could write or campaigns you could join or establish? Have parents or family members had any issues with insurance or business for which they need to write a letter? Knowing their writing has a wider purpose will encourage students to widen their vocabulary and watch their grammar. Using a site like Letter Expert may be useful.
  • READ THE PAPERS! If there was ever a time to do so, it’s now…!
  • Source some journals or magazines of special interest. Readly is a brilliant app offering access to hundreds of well-known magazines and is offering two months’ subscription free.
  • Start a Podcast! Podcast.co is free to sign up with little continuing obligation. 
  • Students studying A-level English Literature may be interested to look at this Reading List from Fortismere School, which we think is a brilliant and comprehensive resource.

Some ideas for Maths and Numeracy…

  • If your teen struggles to see the benefit of more complex Maths in everyday life but wants to keep their maths up, take a look at the BBC Bitesize Functional Skills page where they can see how they might use maths in the workplace.
  • A-level teachers say students must keep up their algebra, numeracy and problem solving skills if they’re considering studying it next year – they can attempt some of the work they’ll be studying next year through sites such as Maths Quiz or Mr Hegarty Maths who has a whole load of videos preparing students for A-level.

Thinking beyond core skills….

There are countless ways students can use their time wisely beyond just core literacy and numeracy skills.

Reading Lists: If your teen already has a reasonably clear idea of what they’d like to study at university, or just wants to do some browsing, a good place to start is some of the reading lists available on university websites. Great for UCAS forms! They can be course specific – such as this one for PPE (Politics, Philosophy, Economics – as opposed to the other PPE!) at Oxford…Or some universities have a huge central database of reading lists, regardless of subject, such as this one from Leeds University.

A budding artist? Here’s a repository of 30 diverse online courses. Also – we found this Graphic design course which looks interesting and starts in a few weeks.

If students have an interest in English, have a look at some of these short courses or indulge in some creative writing.

If teens fancy something more practical, learn to touch type or study for and then take a driving theory practice test!

It’s never been more important to be politically engaged. Use this time to understand what’s really going on out there. Check out Youth Politics which engages young people across the UK in politics and exercising their democratic rights. They’re currently recruiting for members of their committee, too.

Volunteer! Supporting local food banks is always welcome … but for more ideas check out Do It and Volunteering Matters for a wider range of opportunities.

Finally, if your student is business minded and have a burning idea, now’s the time to write that business planor create a LinkedIn profile

And if your child is not really all that certain about what to do next, they could spend some time on the National Careers Service website.

We’d love to hear of any other ideas we can add to this list! Please do get in touch or comment below to share.