Planning an APEX Saturday Workshop Programme
By Michelle Sims, APEX Projects Manager 2007-2012
For anyone who would like to continue with the APEX Living Legacy in the form of a Saturday Workshop Programme I thought that it would be useful to have an overview of the model that APEX have successfully developed over the years in developing, delivering and evaluating a programme of Saturday workshops for enthusiastic young learners.
Summary List of Documents downloadable from here.
Guidance Notes on the Application and Communication Process for schools (for Saturday workshops)
The APEX Approach
Saturday Workshops have run most weekends for each school year group throughout term time, either in schools around the Local Authority area or other venues such as local Museums or Art Galleries. There was no charge to pupils from Bath & North East Somerset maintained schools. Workshops were usually for a two hour period, although occasionally they ran for a whole day.
The design of the Workshop Programme sought to achieve a balance between school year groups and interest areas, drawing on the strengths, experiences and passions of the bank of Workshop Providers who worked for APEX on a casual basis.
The programme of workshops for a term was publicised a term in advance, and the School’s Able Pupil Co-ordinator or Teacher Leading in Improving Gifted and Talented Education, submitted applications via email using an Application Form excel spreadsheet through to the APEX Support team in Bath & North East Somerset. The pupils for whom applications were submitted were chosen in accordance with their school’s Gifted & Talented Policy.
Up to three weeks before the workshop date workshop places were allocated. Workshops were frequently over-subscribed, in which case allocation of places sought to achieve a balance between pupil priorities and needs and fairness between schools. Initial priority was given to pupils who were at risk of marginalisation, relying on information provided to APEX by the schools identifying individual educational needs. These pupils may have been members of one or more of the following groups:
· Black or a member of a minority ethnic group (BME)
· Eligible for free school meals (FSM)
· Looked after by the local authority (LA)
· Young carers (YC)
· Identified as having a special educational need (SEN)
· Fragile/disaffected/passive compliant learners, who are often invisible (I)
· At risk of not attending school (A)
· The youngest in their year group as they have summer birthdays (Y)
· Rural Disadvantage (RD)
· Priority (P) – details provided by school
The remaining places were then allocated with a view to achieving a balance with respect to gender, and involving pupils from a spread of schools, and the geographical area they represent.
We learned from experience that a number of children and young people do not turn up on the day, despite having been allocated a place. To maximise the use of places we used our experience and regular monitoring to offer more places than the ideal, but with a view to ensuring that if everyone turned up the children would still have a good safe learning experience.
Running the Workshop
Each Workshop was run by a Workshop Provider, who was supported by a Workshop Assistant, whose role it was to support the Workshop Provider in the effective and safe delivery of the APEX workshop.
All workshops were supported by a Quality Assurance Monitor (QAM). It was the role of this person to be responsible for the smooth and safe running of all APEX workshops being run at that venue on that day, ensuring that the Local Authority’s standards and workshop objectives are achieved at all times.
Before responsibility for a child can be taken on a workshop the QAM must have received a completed Parental Consent Form from the child’s parents/carers. Included on this form must be at least two emergency contact numbers, details of any medical issues or allergies that the child may have and the parent/carer’s signature to confirm that they agree to the consents detailed on the form. If a parent does not agree to one or more of the consents this must be discussed with the QAM before the parent leaves the child. If the QAM agrees that the child can still attend the workshop unaccompanied the QAM must ensure that the Workshop Provider and Assistant are aware of the arrangement with the parent/carer and abide by it. Eg. Where a parent does not give consent for a child to be photographed.
It is the QAM’s responsibility to ensure that all children are picked up and the end of the workshop and leave with the correct parent/carer.
After the Workshops
Each parent and child was asked to complete an Evaluation Form and hand it in to the QAM before they leave.
Once all children had left, the QAM would review these completed Evaluation Forms with the Workshop Provider and Assistant and gather feedback from the Provider & Assistant. A discussion would take place around whether anything should be changed for future workshops and whether any specific feedback should be passed back to an individual child’s school.
All registers, forms and completed evaluation forms were then returned to the office where they would be reviewed by the APEX Projects Manager and any appropriate remedial actions taken.
Flow Chart of the APEX Saturday Workshop Process
Bath & North East Somerset is committed to the Health and Safety of its employees and service users. To this end risk assessments were required to be undertaken and documented for each APEX workshop by the Workshop Providers, and agreed with the APEX Projects Manager.
The Workshop Risk Assessment was carried out by the Workshop Provider during the workshop design phase. The APEX Projects Manager should be able to consider the content of the Risk Assessment before agreeing to run with a particular workshop. The Risk Assessment was agreed by the APEX Projects Manager at the same time as the Workshop Flyer is approved.
The purpose of the Risk Assessment process is to be able to identify common workplace/learning environment hazards, evaluate their risk and identify precautions that can be taken to reduce the likelihood or severity of the risk occurring. A hazard is something with the potential to cause harm or injury. To evaluate the risk, and determine a hazard as high, medium or low you should consider the likelihood of the risk occurring and the severity of the harm or injury if it does.
A risk assessment for the venue was documented and reviewed by the APEX Projects Manager and the venue owner/caretaker.
Child Protection & Safeguarding
Bath & North East Somerset is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of Children and Young People and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. An enhanced Criminal Records Bureau Certificate is required for all APEX Workshop Providers, Assistants and QAMs prior to running a workshop.
All adults who come into contact with children and young people in their work have a duty of care to safeguard and promote their welfare. The duty which rests upon an individual is to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure the safety of a child or young person involved in any activity, or interaction for which that individual is responsible. Any person in charge of, or working with children and young people in any capacity is considered, both legally and morally, to owe them a duty of care
If an APEX Workshop Provider or Assistant saw any signs which caused concern, or heard a comment made by a child which indicated the child may be suffering or has suffered abuse, they were directed to refer the matter immediately to the QAM.
It is not the responsibility of the APEX staff to investigate suspected or alleged abuse. It is important that the child is not questioned by various different staff about the concern or disclosure. Rather APEX staff were directed to record in writing the discussion or observations as soon as possible after the event and pass this information immediately to the QAM. The QAM would then decide whether to refer the observation or discussion to the BANES Safeguarding Team.