The Upper Sixth forum carousel runs every Wednesday afternoon for five weeks to help prepare students for life after Sutton Valence School. One of the sessions running in this carousel looks at the practicalities of student life with Miss Young, such as budgeting, accommodation and seeking support.
This session looks at the six topics of accommodation, finance, support, learning, employment and social life. Students are given the opportunity to explore the variety of accommodation options available at university and for renting privately. This activity demonstrates how to filter the accommodation on offer to suit your needs and how to navigate the resources which the universities have provided to their applicants.
This activity also explores the role of the residential staff in university halls and how students can avail of them for support whilst living there. Students discussed scenarios, such as disagreements in your flat, and what methods can be taken to resolve the problem. Those going into apprenticeships and direct employment received advice on how to deal with landlords and where to seek support on their rights as tenants.
During the session, students also got an updated talk on student finance for those entering university in September 2023. The student finance calculator was shared with the class and the Upper Sixth had the opportunity to provisionally enter their details into the calculator to get an estimate of what maintenance loan they may be offered. Given that information, students went on to complete a budgeting challenge using Microsoft Excel.
The Upper Sixth were given a populated spreadsheet, which they can also save for personal use, and some profiles of typical student spending in the UK. The Upper Sixth were tasked with organising a budget for accommodation, food, subscriptions and transport, given a specific amount of maintenance loan. The students had the opportunity to explore different locations and compare living costs between places such as London and the Midlands.
The final section of the session looked at both the academic and pastoral support available to students at university. This included scenario-based problems, such as wanting to switch courses, and how to avail of the support system to get the help you require. For those who are not intending to go to university, we discussed getting support from organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and charities such as CALM and Shout.
The session concluded with a Q&A, where students had the opportunity to ask questions on the topics discussed during the session. This gave students the platform to discuss their concerns and address misconceptions they may have about leaving Sutton Valence School.