Newlands Junior College is designed to provide a unique type of education, suited to the particular needs of young people who do not learn well in the mainstream educational system, but who have the potential to become useful contributors to society.
At NJC, all students experience a curriculum designed around three main strands:
- An academic curriculum focused on key skills.
- Vocational Education.
- Personal Development.
The emphasis on vocational education and personal development is the distinguishing feature of the NJC curriculum. It is seen as essential if our young people are to be motivated and encouraged to learn.
The Academic Curriculum
NJC’s academic curriculum has a focus on four vital areas – English, IT, Mathematics, and Science.
These are offered as discrete subjects, although every effort is made to establish connections amongst them. All students have the opportunity to achieve National awards at level 4, 5 or beyond depending upon individual needs and aspirations. Other curricular areas are covered mainly through planned interdisciplinary studies.
There is a focus on project-based learning and extensive use of new technology. The approach is aimed at engaging the interest of students who have not experienced success and fulfilment in the mainstream.
Vocational education is undertaken in collaboration with the City of Glasgow College, Riverside Music Complex, and private sector partners, GTG Training. Students choose three from a menu of nine vocational courses in year 1, all of which lead to nationally recognized qualifications at SCQF levels 4 and 5.
City of Glasgow College offers courses in engineering, construction, hairdressing, creative industries, hospitality/professional cookery, early education and childcare, sport and business administration.
A further vocational option is offered through the Riverside Studios in Busby. As well as potentially giving access to an expanding area of employment, this music technology course serves to extend the range of the curriculum into the expressive arts.
To complement the college based vocational experiences, work based learning in Vehicle System Maintenance is provided by GTG Training.
The full range of vocational opportunities provides attractive choices to students, whatever their interest, and to both boys and girls. All vocational courses are certificated at SCQF 4 and 5 levels. There is enhancement in year two, with additional time spent on vocational courses.
Personal development is seen as critical to success at NJC. A certificated two-year course is provided through SkillForce Scotland to develop personal and life skills. There is an emphasis on positive attitudes and motivation. Mentoring and personal support are important aspects of this course and indeed, of the whole NJC experience.
Partners and sponsors are asked to encourage employees to serve as role models and mentors for the NJC students.
A further course focuses on nutrition and health. Physical education and sport also form part of this strand and of the extra-curricular experience offered by NJC. In addition, all students are involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, again partly as an extra-curricular activity.
Another factor in developing motivation is an emphasis on skills for learning, life and work. Young people’s progression in relation to skills development is formally assessed and recorded in ways that will assist them in moving to positive destinations.
The purpose of each piece of learning is shared with students. They are helped to see how every part of the curriculum contributes to making them more employable and more personally effective.
A critical aspect of the NJC experience is the close personal support provided for each individual. The quality of relationships is a key to success. To assist in promoting positive relationships, especially between learner and teacher, classes are limited to 15 in NJC itself and around 10 in college settings.