Alex Handy is Leader of Enterprise, Enrichment and Employability and Assistant Headteacher at Caludon Castle Teaching School, Coventry. He shares how he and his school have successfully embedded Unifrog into its careers programme and empowered students to support the delivery.
We became a Unifrog school last spring and since September have begun using it fully for IAG including for Personal Statements, UCAS references, and from half term we will be rolling it out from Year 9.
One of the main barriers facing schools when implementing whole school careers provision is how to engage students, parents, and teachers. Only when this happens can truly effective IAG occur and whilst I certainly can't claim that we have mastered this process, Unifrog can certainly help move schools along in this journey. With this in mind, to make the use of Unifrog as effective as possible in your school, I would argue you need to ask yourself a few questions.
Who will be your Unifrog Champion(s) be?
A number of my colleagues have started to refer to me, with a wry smile, as Mr. Unifrog. From my perspective this is brilliant news because it tells me two things. Firstly, that unlike most online careers tools, other teachers have actually heard of it and know what it is. Secondly and more importantly, they know that I'm the person to contact for support when using Unifrog and who to refer students to if they are unsure of how to help. Every school has to have their own careers lead, and within this, Unifrog Champion if they want outstanding IAG.
However to take this one step further, we have launched a Unifrog Champion scheme for 6th form students. Students apply in September and to use the tools with limited training up until half term. At this point, if they have completed set tasks, they become Unifrog Champions and receive a badge indicating this to others. They then are fully trained and help other students. This is also used as part of their enrichment hours for Year 12; in essence, everyone wins.
How are we going to provide training and support for staff, students and parents?
Once your school has its champions, consideration needs to be given to how to all of the main stakeholders become fully trained. In many respects this is one of best features of Unifrog. Because of all of the tools are constructed in the same way, training is very easy. I am so confident of this fact that we gave virtually no training to our new Year 12 students other than how to log on and a brief assembly highlighting how to use the University tool. Six weeks later and I haven't had a single student come to me with an issue about using any of the tools. However, even with the ease of use in mind, each school will use the tools differently and therefore careful consideration needs to be given to this if staff are to champion Unifrog on your behalf.
How can we make resources which support Unifrog as easy to use as possible?
The last question is one which can be easily overlooked, but is one of the most important if you want Unifrog to be successful in your school. Often the teachers leading students through the tools, especially at KS3 and KS4, will have had little time to work with Unifrog and even less time to prepare engaging tutor time sessions, super learning day activities etc. With this in mind, I always use the philosophy that resources and activities to use alongside/ with Unifrog should, if required, be so simply designed that even a teacher who has never seen them before can guide students effectively. Naturally, the ideal is that teachers have an opportunity to read through and adapt resources to suit their needs; however if the resources can be effectively used without this preparation, you significantly improve the chances of success.
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