Light Up Learning has been working with Lasswade High School since February 2015.

Through this partnership with Lasswade, we have helped 18 young people explore their individual passions. 

Our success so far, as demonstrated by the progress of Jorji, Thomas, and Daniel, has been one of the most thrilling aspects of the project. It is because of this success that Lasswade has encouraged us to take on more students at the school. Eventually, we plan to move into other schools with a view to connect with as many students as possible.

 

If you would like To see Light Up Learning in your school, we'd love to hear from you

 
“We are thrilled that through working with you we can see a noticeable difference in Aspen’s confidence of her own abilities, which is filtering into other aspects of her school and home life.”
— Parent Feedback
 

When fifteen year old rugby enthusiast,

Thomas, first heard about the possibility of working with Light Up Learning, he said that he “didn’t really know what to expect.” He did think, though, that it could be “a good opportunity for me to reach new areas that I wasn’t really doing in other classes– because I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do.”

During a year of working with Richard, Thomas has developed what he calls the ability to “self-analyse, or self-teach”, which has had a positive effect both in and out of school.

“The way I’m learning,” he says, “is about something I enjoy, so taking that into something I don’t enjoy helps me do better.” Thomas thinks “I do analyse things a lot better than what I did,” and gives the example of a change of heart about politics. “I was telling him [Richard] how I find politics boring, but we talked about how if you look at political debates, in a sports way, like getting the upper hand, and getting more points, then it’s more easy to enjoy, and I thought it was brilliant.”

When we asked him if he could apply all of this to things outside the classroom, he said “Yes, definitely in decision-making. Even in my rugby, if I’ve analyzed a game or a part of a game, I’ll know… if I am making the right or wrong decision.” He even believes the results are obvious in the classroom, especially in his English and History classes.

Surveys and results show that Thomas’s academic performance has improved, and he is more confident pursuing his interests and meeting the challenges of school.

And what’s the best bit of working with Light Up Learning? For Thomas, “it’s mostly the freedom that I get to do what I want and learn what I want to learn.” Light Up Learning “opens up new doors which stay closed if I didn’t go.”


 
 

Jorji already had a clear idea of what she wanted to learn...

when she started working with her Light Up Learning mentor, Will. During the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, when everyone talked passionately about politics, she saw for the first time how politics could powerfully affect people's lives. With typical directness, she set her sights on becoming a Member of the Scottish Parliament.

Although a bit skeptical about her LuL sessions at first − she thought "how is this going to help me in the slightest" − she came to view them as enjoyable and helpful. Jorji liked the one-to-one aspect of LuL compared to class where, she said, "I do get distracted... [and] just talk all the time to friends." The sessions' "relaxed" atmosphere, and that Will treated her as an "equal," were also positives. "I don't really treat him like a teacher," she said, "and he doesn't really treat me like a pupil."

In the seven months that Jorji worked with Will, they immersed themselves in all things political and economic. She impressed her family with her knowledge of the law of diminishing returns; rightly predicted the outcome of the US presidential election; investigated various political parties and philosophies; and, lastly, thought about how all of it related to her views.

It was a period of self-discovery for Jorji. At one point, Will suggested that the idea of individual effort was central to her political views, and Jorji said, "I hadn't really realised that's what I thought until you said that." As a naturally opinionated and inquisitive person, Jorji enjoyed discussing "something that I find interesting" each week, without having "to just stick to the one subject... because it's on the exam." She also liked that she could "argue against" anything Will said. After better than expected higher results, Jorji is now studying social sciences at Edinburgh college. Overall, Jorji thinks that Light Up Learning has "helped me so much and it's so good, that I think they should expand."


 
 

A lover of all things sports-related...

Daniel hopes to pursue a career coaching football. Over the course of his time with Light Up Learning, he has been surprised by his growing ability to research and write about what he’s most passionate about, particularly American sports. He says that during his sessions, he “usually writes a bit, and usually I hate writing, but I enjoy writing when I’m doing it with Light Up Learning.”

His work with Richard has helped him discover how to “break things down” and “learn in depth about new things.” Daniel has even reported an increased sense of self-confidence when it comes to carrying out coursework in Maths and English in consequence.

More than anything else, Daniel sees Richard as a type of friend, someone he can have a laugh with and learn with at the same time. For Daniel’s mum, she’s just “so grateful Daniel had this opportunity because he really enjoyed coming to sessions.” 

The reason is simple for Daniel: “It’s just a fun thing to do, it cheers me up, helps me learn at the same time. I really enjoy that a lot.”