The Caldecott Foundation

Life Skills Programme

As year 11 pupils come to the end of their compulsory education it is a difficult time. Many young people finish school after the Easter Holidays and go on ‘Study Leave’. This extended period of leave, can for some young people make the task of returning to study after an extended period away from the learning environment difficult. The national statistics for young people considered as ‘NEET’ (Not in education, employment or training) would support this.

For the young people at the Caldecott Foundation School this is particularly true. 82% of the students at the school are ‘Looked After Children’ and also reside within one of the Caldecott Foundation’s residential homes. The remainder of students are day pupils, and of these, only 12.5% reside within their own family, this represents 2.5% of the Whole school roll. The other 87.5% of day pupils live within local foster families.

Whilst like other schools the pupils at The Caldecott Foundation have access to the full range of the National Curriculum, opportunities to develop life skills are more limited due to their personal histories and living environment. Most young people living with their own families have opportunities for vicarious social learning experiences. They can ‘practice’ leaving home while attending university, whilst still in receipt of support from their families. With ‘Looked After Children’, they often do not have that luxury. It is with this in mind that the 7 week Enhanced Life skills programme was developed.


  • To provide young people skills, develop opportunities and information to help them live independently.
  • To provide young people with a variety of opportunities to make choices, decisions and practise new responsibilities.
  • To provide role models (employers) showing how individuals can lead productive and rewarding lives.
  • Preparation for leaving care will also provide young people with opportunities for planning, problem solving, self care skills, practical skills and interpersonal skills.
  • At the completion of the 7 week Life Skills Programme all young people will have compiled a portfolio with useful information and contacts, a skills audit to high light the transferable nature of the skills they have learned. The information gained during the programme will provide a solid foundation for their adult life.

Learning Objectives

Week 1 – Money management ▼

  • Understand the services that banks & building societies offer. Visit a bank manager, have a scheduled appointment with a financial advisor.
  • To understand different types of payment for work, tax & national insurance, sick pay, holidays, trade unions, expenses, pension, gross & net pay. Visit payroll office
  • To be able to plan and maintain a housekeeping budget. Debts & savings
  • To be able to manage daily food/ household shopping. Manage supermarket deals and enticements. Build a basic store cupboard of essentials to save money.
  • To understand how to access services for advice & assistance whether it is saving or debt management. Visit advice centres workshops about managing financial difficulties.
  • Understand careers in the financial world by meeting employers & businesses

Week 2 – Building a home ▼

  • To understand how to look for a home, search adverts, websites, estate agents. Understand the process needed when renting a flat, tenants agreements, references, rent, how to be a good neighbour, refuse & recycling. Visit an estate agents and view rental properties.
  • Have an insight of interior design, create mood boards, second hand furniture, visit different interior designs and second hand furniture shops. Research Kirstie Alsop’s website.
  • Learn basic home maintenance skills, painting, wall papering, plumbing, electrics (including fuse box & consumer unit), hanging shelves, mirrors, basic brick work. Visit employers at DIY store. Talk to trade employers.
  • Experience household management, run a family home including menu planning, shopping, food preparation, cooking, cleaning, maintenance, how to read metres, grow herbs for cooking, be a good neighbour, refuse/recycling. Host guests appropriately.
  • To understand utilities, council tax etc. Visit local government to understand council tax services. Research different gas, electric, water, telephone, mobile, television providers. Visit Civic Centre & Gateway to look at payment methods. Discover outcomes of non-payment of bills and the support available.
  • Learn basic car maintenance, oil & water levels, change a tyre, cleaning a car.
  • Learn about driving laws, documentation & costs, tests and the Highway Code.
  • Experience a basic driving lesson on private land.
  • Understand careers in the home management world by meeting employers & businesses

Week 3 – Know your rights ▼

  • To know what agencies exist for advice and guidance and visit each of them.
  • Gain knowledge of Connexions services, job centres and training providers. Visit all.
  • Gain an understanding of the history & duties of the Mayor/ Lord Mayor of Canterbury & the Sherriff. Visit each in their official capacity. Attend various functions held by the Lord Mayor with invitation and network. Offer your services to future events of the Lord Mayor.
  • Understand age appropriate rights and responsibilities
  • To have a basic understanding of the law. Visit a solicitor, barrister, judge. Attend a court proceeding & sentencing. Understand how prisoners are managed.
  • Understand careers in the advice/legal world by meeting employers & businesses

Week 4 – Services to keep me safe and healthy ▼

  • Gain an understanding of the 4 emergency services, be able to use them appropriately and the cost of inappropriate use. Visit the services, talk to employers, look at careers.
  • To gain knowledge of health services available, doctors, dentist, health clinics, pharmacist, chemist. Visit a pharmacist and understand the role.
  • Understand healthy eating, look at our diets, keep a diet plan prior to this week and improve our diet. Practice a range of healthier recipes. Grow your own food.
  • Have a sex / drugs awareness workshop within school
  • Health & safety at work, outside and in the home, what is the importance, our responsibility, risk assessments, safety in your home, prevention, learn 1st Aid.
  • Understand careers in the emergency/H & S world by meeting employers & businesses

Week 5 – Hobbies and holidays ▼

  • To be able to recognise the benefits of participating in a hobby or interest. Manage a healthy social life.
  • To know where to be able to find information about holidays in the UK and abroad, tourist information centres, websites, adverts, travel agents. Search for and visit tourist information centres.
  • Experience the process of booking a holiday including documents, inoculations, money exchange, safety, insurance etc. Visit a travel agents and meet with employers.
  • Pack, visit and experience the procedures at the airport, train station, euro star. Gain an understanding of the rules as a passenger, book in desks, tickets, customs, have your luggage searched, departure lounge, duty free shops. Look at the careers of each employer.
  • To be able to prepare for a holiday, choose a destination and create a step by step plan of what needs to be done to get there.
  • Investigate clubs & associations offering leisure activities in the area. Visit each and discuss joining details. Join a club of your choice.
  • Understand careers in the leisure/ travel world by meeting employers & businesses

Week 6 – Brand you ▼

  • To understand branding/marketing and how businesses use it. Research a selection of well-known branding.
  • To understand self-branding, look at image, stereotyping, attitude, social skills, employability skills, networking skills, business cards. Network with employers, dignitaries and celebrities in different settings and collect their advice.
  • To understand the importance of image in the world of business
  • To identify and plan to achieve personal goals
  • Understanding the benefits of a good attitude
  • Identifying personal qualities and skills of yourself & others. Build/update your CV and look at references.
  • Be able to communicate and network appropriately using business cards
  • Understand careers in the world of work by meeting employers & businesses
  • Have an understanding of how a TV studio/ Theatre works and how to conduct yourself in the environment by spending the day with ITV and a production team.

Week 7 – Independence week ▼

  • To be able to work as a team
  • To be able to plan a daily budget and feed the group
  • To carry out daily housekeeping jobs safely to a good standard
  • To know how to get help and advice if there is a household emergency i.e. plumber, Dr, fire, police using any contacts you have made during the programme
  • To be able to do kitchen skills
  • How to be a host at an informal & formal dinner or party
  • Be able to deal with a dilemma and problem solve it as a team
  • Set up an exhibition of your work and be able to network business guests at the Foundation Open Day.

We are constantly changing, adapting and incorporating our learning into future developments of the Life Skills Programme. The staff team continuously raise the bar so that the young people want to achieve improved outcomes throughout the programme.

The expectations are clear and the young people are supported to recognise and develop strategies for coping with their own behaviour which enables them to face challenges with positive outcomes.

The young people are encouraged to take responsibility for decision making, to review the outcomes and learn to accept the mistakes they make and have the confidence to revisit situations in a positive manner.

Working as a team the young people learn to communicate with each other, respecting differences of opinion enabling them to support each other with empathy.

A strong focus is on the skill of networking with employers. The young people challenge their confidence and recognise their individual achievements as their confidence grows with the interactions.

Each young person evaluates and reviews their progress with group discussion & question time, written self expression in diaries using the transferable skills for employment cards. On completion of the programme each young person writes a personal report on their progress and identifies areas or skills they feel they need to continue working towards.

By living in a semi independent house, the young people have to identify areas they feel they do well in and skills they need to develop. They are encouraged to manage their own day to day care, practical tasks and finances. Skills like this need to be learnt in a safe environment and the young people have to cope with the realities of life when they leave the foundation.

Anita Trotter

Head of Vocation


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