60-second interview with Steve Jolley

Steve Jolley, Head of Sixth Form at The FitzWimarc School, Rayleigh, Essex

What kind of work have you been doing this week?
Working with students in Year 13 regarding their next steps following their mock exam papers, teaching both Politics and Business A-level, and supporting a variety of students who are becoming increasingly anxious about upcoming exams in Years 12 and 13.

Steve Jolley

What notable events have happened this week?
We have had a great deal of discussions in school about preparations should Public Health England decide that schools need to close as a result of the coronavirus. We are also dealing in school with the effects of building work being done at school, which is changing the way we all move around the school. Everyone is taking twice as long to work out how to get to anywhere!

How do you work with the the Make Happen team and University of Essex?
I work with the University’s School’s Partnership team during the year to take advantage of the outreach opportunities provided by Essex. We always take our Year 12 students on a campus visit in October, our Key Stage 4 students have attended events as well,  such as the Big Bang [now called STEM-tacular] and we have recently welcomed a speaker from the University to talk about American History.

What kind of feedback from your staff, students, and parents do you get?
Every event that we have attended at the University of Essex has been a hit with our students. The campus tour in particular always changes the impression of university for a large number of our students. Prior to the visit, we ask how many are thinking of attending university and this number is always a great deal larger on the way home.

Name three things you love about your job…
1) Being able to help young people achieve things that they did not think they were capable of
2) Supporting vulnerable students through a particularly challenging time in their lives
3) Working with such fun students and colleagues every day

…and one you don’t!
Dealing with the vastly increased amounts of pressure placed on young people due to the changes to the exam system.

What would you say to a teacher that doesn’t yet work with a university?
I would strongly advise doing it! There is so much support provided to help raise the aspirations of young people and this has huge benefits, even if they ultimately do not end up attending university.