Child and youth voice research findings

School Leavers’ Toolkit Capstone Hui: Summary Report

AUTHOR: Ministry of Education | Curative

This 2019 report captures Insights from students from eight secondary schools which informed the development of the School Leavers Toolkit. Other insights captured in the report include parents, educators, employers and tertiary training providers.

The overall consensus was that more needs to be done to better prepare young people for life after school.

Insights from the students themeselves included:

  • Schools (and teachers) don’t equip them with the skills they need in order to thrive after school.
  • They feel pressure to meet the expectations of family, social media, and society to ‘be successful’. This has a huge impact on young people’s wellbeing and ability to make good decisions.
  • They feel confused and overwhelmed about the decisions they need to make to shape their life after school, and there is fear in making the wrong choices.
  • Students think that necessary information about transitioning into life after school is available; however it can be difficult to find, and time-consuming to navigate.
  • They would like to be better informed about – or for some, simply introduced to – their options beyond school, including the detail of university courses, private training programmes, apprenticeships, and industry training organisations.
  • They expressed a sense of confusion about what the ‘real world’ is; they expect that it is full of unknown experiences that will be vastly different from their life at school. This was best summarised by a student who said, ‘What even is the real world?’
  • They feel a sense of excitement about stepping into the ‘real world’, however, most are also concerned that they may not be adequately prepared for the challenges it might bring
  • There was a sense that schools’ focus on academic success needs to be more balanced with ‘real world’ skills and experiences.
  • There is a sense of disconnection between schools, tertiary providers and employers, which seems to make it more difficult for students to transition
  • Students spoke of a need for improved “connection and communication in student-teacher relationships”
  • In some schools, there is a stigma around pathway courses and programmes that focus on getting students work ready.
  • University qualifications are universally believed to be the highest indicator of success, and that alternate training and employment pathways need to be more valued by all.
  • Everybody would like to see students improve their life skills, soft skills and work readiness
  • Students said they need to feel comfortable without a safety net, e.g. re-submissions, summer catch-ups.

Read the full School Leavers’ Toolkit Capstone Hui: Summary Report

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