TEACHERS have taken an innovative approach to boosting life-chances for students by turning to technology and tapping into a national careers pilot scheme.

Year 11 pupils at Wyvern Academy, Darlington, are using their passion for video to help their learning in a hi-tech approach developed during the pandemic.

Teachers across the curriculum have recorded key revision technique videos to help students hone their skills and subject knowledge as mock exams approach and they ready themselves for next year’s GCSEs.

They have also been provided with hardcopy study aids to boost their resources in a unique approach to quality learning.

Wyvern Academy’s deputy head teacher Owen Inglis said: “Every department has contributed to the online resources which Year 11s and their families can use throughout their final year with us. Lockdown has actually helped teachers develop their skill sets and make the videos, which resonate perfectly with this YouTube generation.”

Connie Ward, 15, and Liam Hayton , 16, have been making the most of both the online platform and the hardcopy study aids.

“We have never had anything like this before and it has been really good,” said Connie, who  hopes to study A levels in English literature, psychology and criminology at the town’s Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College.

Liam, who hopes to secure an apprenticeship, added: “This is a great opportunity for us to really help ourselves and we are using the books and online videos for revision in the run up to the mocks.”

Meanwhile, 28 Year 10 pupils have been specially selected to join a national careers pilot which is part of the Government’s One Vision programme to improve children’s life-chances.

Seventeen girls and 11 boys have been hand-picked for a scheme designed to boost their aspirations and put them on the right path to fulfilling and successful careers.

Funded by the Department for Education, Wyvern Academy is one of 28 schools taking part across the North East, 12 in the Tees Valley area, with the support of the Tees Valley Mayor and Local Enterprise Partnership.

Careers lead Cath Gibbins, a former pupil at the school, said: “We started by talking to them about their hopes and their dreams. Some had a notion of what they would like to do while others weren’t sure at all.”

Jobs ranged from veterinary nurse and engineer to cabin crew and creative technologies such as game design.

“From this point we can help them build their aspirations, provide everything they need to be able to access their career goals and develop their CVs and portfolios to give them the best chance of success,” Mrs Gibbins said.

“We are aiming to open their eyes to the potential of university and top flight apprenticeships where they may have never experienced anything to do with higher education first hand.”

She said when COVID restrictions relaxed there were plans to take students on visits to university campuses and engineering companies to give them an insight into the possibilities they could access.

“Young people are going to have to work even longer before they can draw their pensions and during these extended careers they might have to adapt and retrain at various points along the way,” she said.

“This is about giving them the means to cope with change and remain happy, healthy and successful. This region is one of the most resilient. It has already had to adapt to the decline of traditional industries and, being launched during a pandemic, this initiative has never been needed more.”