Here we are in April and Spring is definitely in the air. I’m enjoying the brighter days and seem to need to fewer cups of tea to wake me up in the morning!

April sees us wrapping up our support for S5 pupils in the form of ‘Individual Action Plan meetings’ or IAPs for short. As with so many things over the last few years, we started digitally, with a form that asked pupils about their current plans for education after school, how they were getting on just now and looking ahead to S6 options, including course choices. It also gave pupils a chance to reflect on their current skills, with reference to Skills Development Scotland’s ‘meta-skills’ framework and consider which ones might be relevant for Higher Education and future careers.

These forms were then followed up with an individual meeting (or phone call) where pupils could discuss their responses with LIFT OFF Staff and head away with their Individual Action Plan. The plans included things like referrals to Access to High Demand Professions projects, how to start course exploration using UCAS or college websites, career exploration options, gaining experience over the summer and a link to our S5 resource webpage.

We definitely believe these meetings work better in person, where possible, and it’s been so good getting back to chatting with pupils face-to-face about their aspirations and interests. We’ve had discussions on everything from articulation routes and how to fund Higher Education studies to prioritising courses with a year abroad in America and even researching how to become a Lego Designer!

Example of Action Points on a Pupil's IAP form including looking at Psychology courses and check if need Maths or Science, try UCAS search and use in-school study support. Text in two framed boxes with a cartoon person sitting in one.
Example Action Points from an IAP meeting

Of course, it hasn’t been easy arranging in-person meetings with changing restrictions and many schools having to extend their prelim periods. This shifted the IAP meetings to later in the year than they have been previously, which has meant a fair bit of adjustment, particularly in relation to S6 course choices. However, thanks to the hard work of LIFT OFF staff and our School Contacts, we’ve managed to arrange the majority of meetings in person. I’d also like to thank the S5 pupils for coming along – we know it can be a bit daunting but now is a great time to be thinking about what you want to do next!

Some of the discussions also touched on the fact that for a lot of S5 pupils, the 2021/22 prelims were the first exams they have sat in proper exam conditions. For some, both the exam situation and the revision alongside it came as quite a shock to the system. To help support these pupils, LIFT OFF offered a two-part live online session during the Easter break: LIFT OFF Revision Live. This was opened up to all our Core Pupils, so S4s and S6s could also benefit. We hope the chance to ask questions and investigate different revision techniques will help pupils feel more confident and ready for their exams.

LIFT OFF Revision LIVE title slide, with a cartoon of the LIFT OFF team together plus a cartoon of a pupil tired from studying, surrounded by books.
LIFT OFF Revision LIVE title slide

For the S5s who are staying on to S6, we look forward to seeing them again after the summer, when we kick off our S6 programme…they can expect advice on how to choose the right course for them and, as you might expect, help with applications, especially writing personal statements!

Core pupils can get in touch any time if they have questions, but for now we’d like to wish them all the best of luck in the upcoming exams. Four-leaf clover

Two cartoon women standing in front of a road sign that shows college and university directions. They have speech bubbles that say 'what course should I study when I leave school? And how can I explore my Higher Education options?