Oakley School was the first school to allow the School Outreach Team for the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) in Kent to trial their ideas to promote the "World of Work" and employability skills in Schools. They worked very closely with Simon Bounds, Phase 4 Leader and other teaching staff on our Tonbridge site and together they created a programme which consisted of a three week course of activities. Alongside classroom workshops, the programme included DWP staff volunteers mock interviewing students. The last day of the programme consisted of a visit to Gravesend Jobcentre and Bluewater shopping centre. During the visits all the students were thoroughly engaged asking some very good questions to the staff.
In recognition of all their hard work and enthusiasm, the Team at the DWP won second place for the Head of Profession Award at The National Civil Service Awards on 6th February. They were nominated for the Public Service Award which was presented by Sir John Manzoni Permanent Secretary for The Cabinet Office and Chief Executive of the Civil Service. They also received an extra award for Head of Profession which was presented by Peter Schofield DWP Permanent Secretary and Cross Government Head of Profession. This is a fantastic achievement as there were only 3 prizes (not bad out of 250,000 civil servants across all Government departments!). The Team were recognised for the inspirational work that that they do within schools and for forward thinking in the way that they work, especially with students with learning disabilities.
Our students got so much benefit from the experience, supporting their 'Skills for Life and Independence' that Oakley School has also readily agreed to run a pilot where DWP staff with disabilities talk to students about resilience and how having a disability should not be a barrier.