Our Year 11’s continue to impress on the fantastic construction course at Rylands Farm.
Just before Christmas we reported on the same group of Key Stage 4 students who had made foot stools on the carpentry unit of their construction course. This term they have been learning the basics of plumbing, and I was lucky enough to see first hand just how independent and confident these students have become.
The students were each given an upright plasterboard which they then had to attach a wash basin to and correctly connect up all the pipes and fixtures. Their instructor Phil was on hand to supervise and give general advice, but all the practical work was completed by the students. As soon as they arrived in the workshop, they got their steel-toe boots on and got straight to work without even being asked. They proceeded to totally concentrate on their work for the next three hours, only stopping to make cups of tea for themselves when they were thirsty and needed warming up.
One of the students gave me a demonstration of how to cut a copper pipe to size, another told me what all the fixtures were called (I thought an olive was just something you ate) and another explained where and why he needed to use a drill.
Instructor Phil said: ‘This lot would be more than capable of doing a plumbing course at college. When we started they told me they had never used a drill before; I suppose nobody has ever trusted them with one, but why? They come in and work sensibly without any trouble for the full three hours. They are great kids’.
I was already impressed by the intense concentration displayed by the students, but even more so when one of the boys insisted on making me a cup of tea when I was about to go and do it myself. I asked the student whether he liked the construction course and he said: ‘Yeah, it is the best part of the week. Phil says what to do, but then he just lets us get on with it by ourselves and it doesn’t matter if we do it wrong. If we do it wrong he shows us how to do it right and then it is easy’.