While most pupils who took exams last term get their results later this month, for some the wait is over. One group at JFS in particular has had cause to uncork the champagne.
All 11 sixthformers on the childcare and education course have graduated from it with an A*. The course is equivalent to three A-levels.
“We’ve never achieved anything quite like this,” said Shelley Poll, the teacher who oversees the programme.
Administered by the Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education, it was introduced by JFS 12 years ago in response to demand for more vocational courses. It is ideal, she says, for those thinking of careers such as teaching, social work or speech therapy.
As well as academy study, the course includes “a huge practical element where students are in placements in nursery and primary school for two days a week,” she explained.
It covers child psychology, topics such as how play helps children to develop and educational methods in different countries.
Mrs Poll, who has taught at JFS for 41 years, attributes its success to a close-knit band of teachers who “spend a disproportionate amount of time on our students. We are very passionate about the course and it filters through to the students. They are keen and motivated.”
Ninety per cent will go on to university. “It’s wonderful when they come back and throw their arms around you as a newly qualified teacher,” she said. “I just received a thank-you from one of our students who has landed her first speech therapy job straight out of university.”
The attraction of the course was the reason why Mia Bogush, 17, from Hertfordshire — one of this year’s A* crop — moved from Yavneh College to JFS. She is off next month to do a degree in primary education at Leeds Trinity. “The teaching at JFS was amazing,” she said. “It gives you such understanding and knowledge.”
During the course — whose requirements include a 5,000-word dissertation — she had two placements. “You get to learn behaviour management, you get to plan and do activities,” Mia said. “You get to see everything you have learned happen in the classroom.”
She has always aimed for a career in primary education as “I love helping children and helping them to achieve. This was the best course ever. I feel so prepared to go to university.”