From education to employment

Merchiston introduces Electives Programme to prepare boys for working life

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Scotland’s leading independent all-boys school, Merchiston Castle School, has introduced an Electives Programme, giving students a deeper insight into and hands-on experience of several fields.

Pupils at Merchiston can select up to three electives each term to expand their horizons and gain knowledge of different sectors. The programme seeks to inspire and inform boys about the next steps in their careers as they prepare to leave school.

Research suggests half of school leavers do not feel prepared for working life, while a third of university students would reconsider their degree choice.  

Merchiston wants to change this by providing an array of elective courses that pupils can try their hands at throughout the academic year. Going far beyond the traditional curriculum, the Electives Programme include ‘Sports Desk’, ‘Content Creators’ and ‘Robotics’, affording students a whole gamut of subject areas and interests.

The programme is open to all boys from the Junior School up to Sixth Form, and the courses available are dependent on age and experience. While some electives require previous knowledge, such as the ‘Media Academy’, which gives students experience in audio-visual technologies, others including ‘The Week in Politics’ and ‘Kitchen Chemistry’ can be taken by complete beginners. 

The launch of the Electives Programme follows the success of Merchiston’s BTEC in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. This A-level equivalent allows Sixth Form students to develop entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and a growth mindset through real-world engagement with the entrepreneurial sector.

Jonathan Anderson, Merchiston’s Head Teacher, said:

“I am delighted to announce the launch of the Electives Programme at Merchiston. The courses available have been designed to offer our boys a breadth of opportunity that is rare to find in schools, ranging from climbing to coding and more. 

“At Merchiston, we strive to provide boys with the resources and experiences that will prepare them for the world of work. Going beyond textbook learning to gain hands-on experience in these fields will allow boys to make informed choices, be it on their university degree or an apprenticeship in their interest area.”

Dr Dale Cartwright, Deputy Head of Learning and Teaching at Merchiston, added:

“The popularity of our Entrepreneurship BTEC course speaks to a growing demand for professional training at school level. 

“Our Saturday Electives seek to build on that for pupils of all ages. Boys on the Sports Desk will learn how to write a press release, while the Content Creators Club will teach students audio-video production skills. Parents and students alike have embraced the opportunity, understanding the huge benefits it has in broadening horizons and adding new skills to CVs and UCAS applications.”

Nathan, a Fifth Form student at Merchiston, said of the Sports Desk elective:

“Sports Desk is a fantastic and unique way to spend time with friends and enjoy the thrilling sports during a Saturday morning. More importantly, however, it offers an insight into how sports journalism is done, the technical aspects of writing, and the marketing of articles.”

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