We recognise careers guidance and advice is key to ensuring all students are fully informed of the range of career opportunities and pathways available to them. They are encouraged to raise their aspirations, supported to explore all options and, critically, they are empowered to make positive decisions which enable them to manage their own career development effectively and confidently.
Careers forms part of the PHSE curriculum, during which we deliver a range of practical enterprise and employability activities to equip students with the knowledge and skills to understand and capitalise on the opportunities presented to them.
We have a series of focused Careers and PHSE days throughout the year when we invite outside organisations to school to run sessions with the students. During recent Careers and PHSE days, we have hosted interactive sessions with Barclays Lifeskills, Gloucestershire Police and the University of Gloucestershire.
As a lead school for the Gloucestershire Careers Hub, we work with gfirstLEP, an Education and Skills team focused on delivering mentoring, advice and guidance in support of the Gatsby Career Benchmarks, which are part of the government careers strategy.
Useful tools and systems
Our regularly refreshed Wakelet page contains advice, opportunities and information regarding popular careers, such as medicine, veterinary science, law, forensic science and languages. We also provide older students with access to Unifrog, an online platform which allows students to research, collate and store information on specific career pathways.
Sixth Form Careers programme
Our Careers programme starts with our youngest students, however it accelerates for our Sixth Form students as they approach the end of their formal school education. We aim to meet the individual needs of students by providing encounters with employers and Further/Higher Education providers, workplace insights, curriculum-linked careers information and resources, and impartial bespoke guidance. Our careers provision is summarised here:
Each student is entitled to as many one-hour appointments with our Careers Adviser as they need. These appointments are to discuss next steps in terms of education, job opportunities, apprenticeship roles, training, voluntary work and work experience. Students are encouraged to apply for subject taster days, summer schools and workshops to build their insight and support their development.
Following a UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) introductory session in Year 11, a Year 12 group session for all registering students explores the process in greater depth, which is followed by ongoing support to complete UCAS applications, including Personal Statement compilation.
We invite speakers into school from universities to help with raising aspirations and informing students of the practical aspects of Higher Education, such as student finance. The School Liaison Officer for Robinson College, University of Cambridge, came into school recently to talk to our students about applying to competitive university courses, offering hints and tips on achieving a candidate interview. Last year we had a record number of students apply to early entry courses, which tend to attract elite students.
We encourage all Year 12 students to partake in work experience placements; we offer assistance with finding and making contact with companies. In addition to sharing opportunities at Primary Schools within our local Primary Partnership Programme, we signpost all opportunities with local organisations to our students to enable them to capitalise on work experience opportunities. This is done via the Wakelet page, daily student email briefings and regular careers newsletters.
These careers sessions run regularly in the library. They are open to all years but are particularly relevant to our Sixth Form students who may already have taken the first steps towards a specific career path with their Sixth Form choices. They usually take the form of visitors talking about their role and career path, as well as answering questions from students on industry and role specifics, however we have also enjoyed many online lectures during the pandemic. We enjoy hosting speakers, particularly former students, to give industry insights and specific career advice.
Individual departments hold career specific sessions with relevant activities and speakers, such as a Criminology day, a physical theatre workshop or a session on designing computer games
As well as group attendance at university open days, we visit careers fairs and UCAS events. We’ve previously visited the University of Bath, Oxford University, and careers fairs in Bristol and Birmingham. These visits offer insights for apprenticeships as well as Higher Education, so cater for the next steps of most students. Our Enrichment programme also delivers in-depth learning opportunities for students to help them in their future career, such as Geography trips to Iceland and Naples, or Modern Foreign Language (MFL) trips to France or Spain.
Building on the sessions in Year 11, our Careers Lead, Miss Phoenix, runs regular workshops to enable all Sixth Form students to hone their CV writing skills.
Weekly job-hunting sessions run during the summer term for Sixth Form students to drop in for any assistance they need with their job hunt. This may include asking for help with completing a job application form, writing their CV, writing a covering letter or honing their interview skills.
Tutor group time is allocated weekly for students to discuss their future options and research their ideas within their peer groups.
In addition to sharing work experience opportunities with students, we publicise online lectures, apprenticeships, Open days and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) such as IBM’s ‘Analysing Data with Excel’ or ‘Science Writing’ from the University of Leeds. Future Learn is a valuable resource, bringing together opportunities for extra-curricular learning from some of the world’s top universities and employers.
We offer multiple clubs and other development and leadership opportunities which may benefit students in their future career choices, such as Medical Society, Dissection Club, Feminism Society, and roles such as Peer Mentor, House Captain, Subject Lead and becoming part of the Head Girl team.
What if the traditional university route isn’t right for me?
Our Career provision delivers more than advice about university courses; we work with students to explore options for those students who don’t feel university is right for them. Undertaking voluntary work abroad, embarking on an apprenticeship or direct entry to employment may be the appropriate next step for some students.
We consider the needs of all students with our Careers programme, occasionally considering specialist provision, training courses or volunteering opportunities for students with SEN or additional needs.
For further information on our Careers programme, please contact our Careers Lead, Miss Phoenix.