Beyond BSB – a skill-enrichment program for students


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Please share a brief background of your innovation.

Beyond BSB is a multi-faceted enrichment programme which aims to develop the skills and interests of all students within the BSB Senior School to ensure that they are successful when they enter their chosen universities and careers. A BSB education is more than just the learning that occurs within its stimulating lessons. At the School’s heart is the development of a love of learning and the skills that make BSB students successful, not just at school, but when they graduate and begin their chosen career paths. Beyond BSB is part of this enriching provision. A range of activities complement the curriculum, including a weekly lecture series by passionate colleagues and visiting guest speakers on a range of engaging topics pitched to first-year degree level; an independent study project, completed as an introduction to independent research in

Year 10, and as an extension to A Level study in Year 12; subject-specific support and guidance with University applications, interviews and entrance exams with nominated experts within each faculty; bespoke University guidance and support for a range of international aspirations, including some of the best Universities worldwide; and the BSB mini-MBA, which is a fifteen-week voluntary course for passionate and committed Year 13 BSB students, who aspire to a career in Business or Business Management.

The Beyond BSB programme has provided students with the opportunity to complete an independent study project in Years 10 and 12, with an increasing level of challenge. This encourages natural development of the skills required, as well as a programme of guidance and support in completing the project. The programme of support is provided via the PSHE programme and through an online platform, where students can access information videos and examples to help them in their work.

They are also assigned an individual mentor, who will work closely with them for support. As the project progresses, the level of guidance and support subsides, to enable the students to fine-tune their study skills in preparation for submission. This process intensifies in Year 12 as students make the decision to submit their project for an EPQ qualification or not.

The university counselling aspect of Beyond BSB has kept the student at its core and parents are encouraged to become active participants in their child’s application process. Information and advice are filtered through a counselling team that is led by the counsellor and deputy, head of year and form tutors. A range of activities and events supplement the process to give a wide-ranging and stimulating view of what is available and how to access it. 

Information talks with specialists, Universities and Alumni forge partnerships, whereas access to an online platform to store their applications allows students to easily track their application throughout, as can the counselling team. This transparent overview gives parents, students, and the counselling team an open dialogue to ensure focused and efficient communication regarding applications. Finally, parents are also invited to the lecture series as well as students, to gain a better understanding of what their children are learning or interested in. This can be useful in initiating conversations about university aspirations.

The entire Beyond BSB programme is about student enrichment; enhancing future prospects through additional activities and developing new skills and passion. Students are given extensive training and support in preparation for university interviews and entrance tests, through mock tests and interviews with various members of staff. The staff will range from subject specialists to the general staff, in order to focus on different aspects of a university interview.

How was it planned?

Beyond BSB was born as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, in response to an opportunity that was presented by the cancellation of the summer examinations of 2020. This gave schools a large chunk of curriculum time that is not normally given. Despite the imposed lockdown, BSB operated a fully virtual school throughout, including Year 13 students. It was decided early to provide students with a programme that would prepare them for university in ways that have never been possible. 

The lecture series was accompanied by ‘life skills’ sessions on basics like cooking, relaxation, meditation, and independent study skills. To remain a successful and popular long-term programme, it has evolved into the current enrichment programme that compliments the curriculum and begins in Year 10. The concept of project-based learning and the associated skills is something that can be developed further and embedded within the curriculum at primary and early years Key Stages, to maintain a common theme throughout the BSB learning journey.

The Beyond BSB lecture series has begun online, delivered through a webinar-style platform. This can reach an unlimited number of users from any location around the world and the next steps are to invite students from sister schools within the Inspired network to join the weekly lectures. Each lecture is recorded and can also be made available publicly via the school’s social media platforms where appropriate.

Did you face any challenges in implementation?

All schools prepare their students for the next step in their educational journey. However, the British School of Bahrain wanted to re-think the possibilities of what this preparation could look like and design something innovative that was challenging for all students within the local community and had the ability to evolve over time. The critical aspect was that it should reach beyond the walls of our school, not just in who was involved but also who benefits from this programme. The most exciting part is that the Beyond BSB programme is already evolving every year and developing in innovative ways.

Beyond BSB addresses the challenge of how schools prepare students for the future whilst balancing all stresses in their lives, including educational demands for success. These can have a negative impact on any student’s well-being. Students must prepare for an unknown next step when the world of industry and future roles have not been invented yet. By working with both global and local experts, we designed a multi-faceted approach that enabled industry speakers, university-level academic preparation, expert-led super curricular opportunities, career pathway initiatives and opportunities for student leadership and social skills development.

Beyond BSB has improved the well-being of all participants within the school and community. Not only do students now feel more secure in the choices they make, but also that they are developing the skills needed for whatever the future holds. Graduation to university, or careers, has been transformed from something feared to something they relish.

By inviting other schools to participate and join lectures, the sharing of good practices would hopefully lead to reciprocation and a network of schools offering an even larger range of webinars for students to access. Schools could potentially become leaders in particular specialisms or faculties to streamline the content further. Links with our guest speakers have also enabled us to establish good links with both local and international Universities, with whom we are encouraging our students to apply and directing them towards bespoke advice and guidance in their applications.

A brief assessment of your results

The Beyond BSB Community Enrichment programme continues to develop all aspects of this multi-faceted programme. The students are optimistic about the impact Beyond BSB has on their learning experiences. Khaled S, a local student, stated “Beyond BSB is an amazing experience… represent the school and yourself as an individual…way of networking to businesses and firms and ensures that students are ready for the real world”. Teachers, from across the community, have also commented on the positive impact that the programme has had on student motivation and curriculum development.

The implementation of Beyond BSB Connect has focused on developing each student’s responsibility of digital networking, and professional platforms use such as LinkedIn for gathering information and research for their future focus. This element provides all students with both the knowledge and the skills required to develop a positive presence on digital platforms. Students across the community all establish their own LinkedIn profiles and identify areas that need further development through internships, qualifications or evidence of skills.

A partnership with twelve local embassies has led to the development of the Global Etiquette programme. This element enables students to engage with country ambassadors and global industry leaders on formal and informal greetings and business protocol with different country representatives. Through these experiences, all participants across the country can positively develop an intercultural understanding of different countries, cultural norms and customs.

In hindsight, what were the most valuable lessons learned? Could things have been done differently?

The most exciting part of the Beyond BSB programme is that it is already evolving every year and developing in exciting ways. Beyond BSB has become an umbrella term for an ever-increasing number of separate components which feature as part of the programme. Each element stands alone as part of this outstanding provision; however, each shares the central purpose of developing the knowledge and skills of all students within the community.

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