In the next of our series exploring school / college programmes we meet Cherona Clark from Cumnock Academy, and Cole Archibald and Callum Stewart both from James Hamilton Academy. These 4th year pupils from Ayrshire are all studying a Uniformed Services course as part of their school curriculum by attending college two half days a week. This has been their experience so far.
Why did you choose this course?
Cherona: My Head Teacher, Mrs Cassidy, told me about the College courses that were available. I went along to an open day and had a tour of the department. I’m quite a sporty person and I’m thinking of joining the Police in the future so I thought this would be a good course to choose.
Cole: I am good at PE and I play football for the Crosshouse under 16’s team. My Guidance Teacher helped me to choose my course and we thought this one would suit me best.
Callum: I picked it as I thought it would be a good thing to have on my CV as I want to join the Police.
What have you been doing on the course so far?
Cherona: We do lots of different sports; volleyball, football, badminton, table tennis, circuit training and fitness testing. The Psychology students work with us and they are our mentors. Rebecca is my mentor and it’s great having her here as it makes me feel part of the College.
Cole: Various sports and fitness classes including a 12 minute run each week. The HNC Sports Coaching students work with us which is good as they motivate you to work hard. It makes you feel more included – like a real student.
Callum: You get to try different sports and take part in fitness tests. We’ve also just been given a homework task – pick two uniformed services and find out all about them. I liked doing that. We get to work with the full time students. It’s a great experience and I’ve learned a lot from them already.
How does it fit in with your school?
Cherona: I come here Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2pm – 4pm. I get the bus from Cumnock. We are given a bus pass so we don’t need to pay for our fare. I also come 1pm-2pm to practice with the College ladies football team. I already play for the Kilmarnock Football Club for girls. I used to play for Cumnock Juniors, where I was spotted and invited to play for Kilmarnock.
Cole/Callum: We just walk over from James Hamilton Academy at lunchtime. College goes on later than school but that is fine with us!
How does College compare to school? What are the similarities / differences?
Cherona: I don’t really like school. I prefer College. There is a different atmosphere here; I feel more respected. You get to call the lecturers by their first name. Dave is not as strict as my teachers at school however he sets boundaries and everyone knows not to step over them.
In school the classes are 50 minutes long whereas here one class lasts two hours with a ten minute break. It’s much better. College is a mix of active classes and time in the computer rooms.
Cole: The differences are all the students are older, they are friendlier and I get along better with the other students and staff compared to school. Similarities would be the computing class is a bit like school.
Callum: I like the staff here – Dave is a really cool guy. They definitely treat us more maturely at College.
What have you enjoyed the most?
Cherona: I’ve enjoyed meeting new people. I get on well with the staff and this positive relationship helps me to feel better about myself. I feel I am doing well on this course and I think I will achieve success with it. I don’t feel this way about the National 5’s I’m studying at school.
Cole: I’ve really enjoyed all the sports and getting a chance to try new ones. My favourite is football as this is my main hobby.
Callum: I’ve enjoyed trying all the sports and working with the HNC students. I’ve made new friends here. I don’t play sports outside school/college I love technical theatre and I am a member of Centrestage.
What have you found most challenging?
Cherona: Just coming here on my own at first. It’s a long way from Cumnock and I was nervous about finding the College myself and meeting new people. I didn’t know what to expect.
Cole: I haven’t really found anything difficult. I was a bit nervous at first because I did not know anyone. But I made friends on my first day. For people coming here next year I would say don’t worry you will get on really well because everyone is really friendly.
Callum: It’s not what I thought it would be like. I thought we would be sitting in a classroom. It’s 90% practical and 10% classroom. This helps me learn and it keeps me fit as well.