It is a wide misconception that off-site learning, including work related learning, is simply a period of work experience that pupils might undertake over a period of time during the academic year. At Ribblesdale we are passionate about our young people learning employability skills, so that they are well placed for acceptance on higher level courses at any of our local FE Colleges or to be employed locally in their chosen sector. Employability skills can be delivered at a local FE College or in the work place.

At Ribblesdale we firmly believe that, when the time is right, some of our pupils should be able to engage in situations where they are able to learn skills which will help them secure local employment. We are aware that there are opportunities in the local job market and some pupils have a clear vision of the career path they want to follow.

We recognise that sometimes a pupil will benefit from going off site and doing a nationally recognised course at college or with a local provider, to complement and enhance his/her curriculum diet. Pupils going to college or to a local business, do so with the ambition to forge a career from their chosen course.

We are grateful to various local employers and Accrington and Rossendale College and thank them for their support.

This process is organised outside the normal options system. Pupils are carefully selected and only after full dialogue with pupils, parents and college link staff do pupils then decide to attend college. Pupils attend college 1 day per week ( in year 10 and 11).


Pupils who go off site to follow a vocational course do so after a very prolonged and intense selection process as outlined below.

Month Action Those involved
October List of potential courses for following academic year sent to Ribblesdale by Accrington College College/School link staff team
Mr Williams
Mrs Smith
End of October Form tutors, Pastoral Co-ordinators and Year Leaders are asked to submit names to Mr Williams of those pupils who they feel will benefit from following a college course. The factors when considering a pupil are:

  • Passion about a career / employment pathway
  • Intervention Strategy
  • To re-engage pupils in educational aspiration
Form Tutors
Year Leader 9
Mr Williams
November Discussion with PCs and Year leader. Pupil list is compiled and a trawl of data, looking at attainment grades, A*-C potential, effort grades and behaviour issues. PCs
Year Leaders
Mr Williams
Mrs Smith
December All pupils are interviewed by Mr Williams. A pupil’s passion for a career in a particular sector, experience already in the sector through part time / weekend work, their future aspirations and possible career routes are all explored as well as attitudes, desire, behaviour etc Mr Williams
Mrs Smith
January / February 2nd check and short list compiled
Pupils informed
Letter to parents
Mr Williams
Mrs Smith
March / April Information evening for parents to meet course tutors Parents
College Tutors
April / May Taster Day Visits to college Mrs Smith  
College Tutors
June / July Taster Day visits to College, sector related work placement visits – 1 day Mr Williams
Mrs Smith
College tutors

Ribblesdale Courses at Accrington College – Year 10 & 11

These courses introduce pupils to the chosen sector where skill development is mixed with practical application and are taught in realistic settings. Courses on offer are:

  • 50063467 - Diploma in an Introduction to the Hair and Beauty Sector (QCF)
  • 50105474 - Certificate in Vehicle Maintenance (QCF)
  • 50106752 - Certificate in Building Craft Occupations (QCF)
  • 50104342 - Award in Essentials of Catering (QCF)
  • 60024197 - Certificate Introduction to Health, Social Care and Children and Young People's Settings (QCF)

*Subject to availability

Employability Skills – experiential learning at sector related local businesses

The underlying aims of the employability skills programme are:

  • raising standards of achievement in school and college
  • to develop independent learning
  • to motivate young people to take responsibility for their own future and to have a thirst for learning
  • to develop positive attitudes to school, others and to lifelong learning
  • to increase the self-confidence of pupils
  • to improve the retention of young people in learning
  • developing career awareness and the ability to benefit from impartial and informed information and guidance
  • developing employability skills for career opportunities and further learning. 

Some pupils are currently learning skills in an authentic business setting. This situation arises due to many factors. The main ones being a desire by the young person for a career in that chosen area and a willingness from a local business to support, coach, teach and offer a local youngster an opportunity to become skilled and ready for work. These pupils do not follow a nationally recognised course, but work with local employers and learn “trade skills”

Last year some pupils engaged with

  • NORTHCOTE inc Three Fishes Hospitality & Catering

We have several pupils who use business premises as learning areas to learn and follow nationally recognised qualifications. The teachers are vocationally qualified and have many years’ experience in the sector.
This offer is by bespoke design and negotiation between parent, pupil, school and the locally accredited provider.