Careers and Life Skills Development
Preparing pupils for life beyond school is an important part of school life and the theme of 'helping pupils to get to where they want to be' is reflected in the school's careers programme. Opportunities for life skills development, career exploration and career management are provided throughout the school during four mornings of PSHCE per year. Career specific Breakfast Meetings and a Careers Evening for pupils in Year 10,11 and Sixth Form provide opportunities to talk informally with local, regional and national business representatives. Whilst being adaptable to the changing requirements of school leavers, the core activities are designed to support pupils in making informed careers choices at each stage of their career journey, whether this leads to study in further or higher education establishments, apprenticeships or employment.
At KS3, the emphasis is very much based around the 'dare to dream approach' combined with a realistic assessment of how goals can be achieved through careful careers planning and commitment to learning. In Year 8, pupils begin to associate job activities and skills with job types and become more aware of the importance of developing their own employability skills. They are introduced to KUDOS online where they can explore entry routes, salaries, job descriptions as well as numerous other facts about any number of careers that captivate their interest. They are also able to generate a list of careers that match their individual interests and preferences. One major benefit of this online facility is that it is always available and pupils are encouraged to explore their career options both in school and with their parents. Year 9 pupils participate in the popular Young Enterprise 'Learn to Earn' programme supported by volunteers from local businesses, who introduce the dream lifestyle and encourage pupils to take ownership of their life choices. They discover the importance of making informed choices when considering their GCSE options and how their level of achievement can shape their future life prospects. While exploring the associated costs of a dream lifestyle, they begin to understand the importance of budgeting and careful financial management. They explore potential careers and salaries as well as the harsh reality of tax and national insurance deductions and the impact of unexpected life events. Through defining their individual interpretation of ‘success’ they begin to prioritise their future goals and become more aware of their own role in the process.
At KS4, the emphasis shifts towards more structured careers planning, whilst also recognising the need to keep options open to accommodate potential changes in future direction. In Year 10, all pupils have a Careers Interview with Mrs Heads and the opportunity to spend a week on Work Experience during the first week of the summer holiday at the end of the year. In the Trinity term, they take the Morrisby Psychometric Assessment which uses their individual profile of strengths, interests and aspirations to inform their career planning. At the start of Year 11, pupils have a follow-up Careers Interview with Mrs Heads which builds on previous ideas and focuses on post-16 choices. Life skills activities including preparing job applications, curriculum vitae, interview skills and managing finances are introduced in PSHCE sessions.
At KS5, careers and life skills development is very much focused towards university applications as well as personal and financial independence. Specific guidance is available to pupils opting for employment or apprenticeships and to those who are uncertain of their future direction and possibly planning a GAP year. Pupils considering university entrance have access to an extensive range of prospectuses for colleges and universities and are guided through the UCAS application process with one-to-one support, particularly when completing the Personal Statement section of the application. Interview practice with business professionals has proved invaluable in raising confidence as well as highlighting areas for improvement in interview techniques.