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Pate's Development Week

Pate's first Development Week (22-26 Feb 2021) provided an opportunity for our Year 12 students to develop their skills and enhance their understanding of the world of work and Higher Education.
10 Feb 2021
School News
Pate's Sixth Form Centre
Pate's Sixth Form Centre

Last week saw Pate’s first ever Development Week – and what a great success it was! Organised by the Sixth Form team for Year 12 students, it replaced the pre-Covid Work Experience Week.  Students could sign up to a wide range of activities including online courses, seminars, alumni talks and virtual work experience. There were opportunities to support super-curricular development with extra reading, competitions, and EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), as well as researching higher education options from universities, careers and apprenticeships. Students were then able to design themselves a week of useful activities tailored specifically to their own requirements.


Our students created all sorts of extraordinary opportunities: there was some limited in-person work experience (including lambing on a farm!) and plenty of virtual work experience covering medicine, law, finance and journalism with one student doing research for a podcast series for the Foreign Office and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative! We had students learning sign language, game theory and Spanish and choosing courses in everything from immunology, engineering the future, and screen writing through to calculus and economic development!

We have had some really positive feedback from the students - here is a selection of their comments:

  • Development week has given me an opportunity to do many online courses, webinars, virtual work experience, university research and my EPQ application while also having a break from my A-level subjects. This week has therefore proved very useful to me for aiding me in deciding my future career, university, degree and my EPQ
  • The independence given to us to have a go, while also giving us resources to act as a prompt
  • The week emphasised to me that my career choice was correct. I didn't find motivation or engaging in the activities that I undertook a chore, everything was fascinating and left me eager to learn more
  • I learned more about just how difficult it is to do medicine, and the emotional struggles that doctors encounter. This has helped to show me that I am committed and that despite hearing about how difficult medicine is, I still want to do it
  • I found the MOOCs in particular very valuable as it gave me a taste of subjects, courses, topics, careers etc that I hadn’t ever even really thought about and now am really interested in. Conversely, I also found them really helpful as they made me realise what I really don’t want to do
  • Having a week off to focus solely on, well, ‘developing’ myself, was beyond valuable
  • I loved Development Week. You just need to use it right. Figure out what you like and what you don’t; search yourself to find out areas which you have a genuine fondness for. And always remember, if you are not enjoying your Development Week, then you are not doing it right
  • I had never seriously considered apprenticeships but the alumni talks really opened my eyes to the opportunity
  • I liked the talks given by the alumni. It’s a lot better to hear about a career or pathway from a student rather than just another website
  • I found the Pate's offered alumni talks and live webinars the most useful. This has helped me to put things into perspective and be proactive about my future.


We would like to thank those alumni who contributed to Development Week by giving scheduled Teams talks to the students. They shared their personal experiences of studying Veterinary Medicine (Charlotte Winch, Nottingham University); Medicine (Beth Jones, Nottingham University); Psychology (Memoona Ahmed, Oxford University); and economic and engineering apprenticeships (Hebah Pervaiz with the Government Economic Scheme and Jack Young with Jaguar Landrover). Charlotte and Hebah reflected after their talks:

Charlotte: 'I really enjoyed talking to the Year 12s and sharing my experiences with the Veterinary Medicine course at Nottingham. I hope I provided a helpful insight for them'.

Hebah: 'I hope Development Week gave students an idea of the exciting and varied routes they have open to them following sixth form, with degree apprenticeships being just one of several brilliant options. I enjoyed reflecting on my experiences since leaving Pate's in 2019 and hope the talk was insightful for Year 12s!'

The alumni talks were recorded and will shortly be available to view on the Careers and Mentoring page of this site. We would be very interested to hear from alumni who would be keen to work with both our current students and fellow alumni by giving a careers talk or recording a 5 minute video about their career.  We hope that these will be a really valuable Careers resource for all those looking for inspiration and answers. Please contact the Development Office development@patesgs.org if you are interested.

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