Shadow Day 2018

An important reason on why Sharnbrook Academy (SA) encourage all prospective students to take up the offer of a shadow day, is that in 2018, 81% of students believed it helped them to make informed decisions about their A level/BTEC course choices. In 2017 the figure was 70%. Without question, shadow days play an important role in the post 16 decision making process. 

Shadow days are also an opportunity for prospective students to meet other students, engage in lessons and to experience first-hand what it means to be a Sharnbrook Academy Sixth Form student.

Administering shadow days is a complex task which involves subject staff, form tutors and sixth form students.

The process starts in September and rapidly accelerates in the first few weeks of the New Year. This year 41 prospective students joined us over a period of 2.5 weeks, and 159 SA students signed in, collected a shadow student and accompanied them in class, you returned them back safely ready for the next custodian to take over; and so the process continued, finishing at the end of period 5. Collectively you put just under 200 hours of your time, this includes time in class, break times and tutor time as no shadow student was left unaccompanied at any point. If I equate this to a 37.5 hour working week; you have collectively worked 5 weeks over a 2.5 week period. That’s a work rate of 200% - this is quite incredible enrichment work!

I say this every year, and genuinely, this feat would be unattainable without the co-operation of students and staff members from every department. The high quality teaching and student engagement experienced during lessons was commented on throughout the annual shadow student survey. Shadow student response rate was 66% and the results are extremely encouraging:

Shadow day 2Shadow day 1

Moreover, I want to also mention, how some of you made the student’s experience ‘extra’ rewarding. This is how you did it; when absent; you delegated, called your friends and asked them to accompany the student to the lesson; you took the stress away and made the whole process seamless. Where staff were unavailable, some of you collectively ran ‘mock’ lessons– covering in detail the course structure and content which ensured the student left with thorough knowledge of the subject. When you couldn’t make the commitment due to ‘other prior/last’ minute engagements, you let me know in good time so I had the opportunity to ‘fix’ it. Some of you returned on multiple occasions to assist during lunches and break times. When students had questions, you answered these; students arrived feeling anxious and nervous, you put them at ease, they left feeling relaxed and commented on their positive day. Their safety and well-being was entrusted in to your hands; you looked out for them, you looked after them. Nothing was too much trouble in your determination to make their day enjoyable; YOU DID THAT!

Now I want to share some student and parent feedback:-

“Everyone was very friendly and polite. Welcoming me to all subjects and helping me when needed”.

“They were very helpful and willing to answer any questions that I had about the subjects or the school”.

“Very friendly, felt as if I was one of them”.

“Thanks you to everyone who helped on my taster day. I really enjoyed it”.

“Thank you so much for today, I had the best day ever! I hope I get in in September.”

“Really nice students who made me feel very welcome to the school”.

Student XX had an amazing day thank you. He was full of excitement about the prospect of being a sixth form student. In addition to the day he made some friends which was great too particularly as he doesn’t know anybody in Sharnbrook so a really great ice breaker for him”.

Thank you students and thank you staff for doing it the only way we know; the SA way!

Mrs Bains

Assistant Sixth Form Centre Manager

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