Our school has a critical role to play in preparing our young people for the next stage of their education or training and beyond. Our expectations are high, so every student is challenged appropriately and acquires the skills, knowledge and attitude for lifelong learning and that employer’s value.
We recognise that an effective careers programme contributes to raising aspirations, improving motivation and overcoming barriers to success. Our careers programme is designed to help every young person to realise their potential and enhance their employability. They will learn the skills necessary to navigate and manage their own careers and contribute to the well-being of themselves their families and the wider community. Students will have raised aspirations, have gained experience of meeting employers and workplace environments, be more adaptable and resilient and therefore be able to make more well informed decisions about their transition pathways.
Following our ethos for ‘Learning for Life’ we have worked hard to embed careers into all areas of our school curriculum.
As part of the PSHE curriculum, we have introduced themed career weeks where different employment sectors are investigated. This will include visits from employers from each relevant sector. These themed weeks will enable pupils to begin to consider their future career paths.
At Key Stage 4 we will also host a ‘Careers Day’ which will include sessions from independent careers advisors and visits to places of work. As part of the curriculum careers will be discussed and students given the opportunity to discuss different career paths and explore different options open to them.
Year 11 students also undertake a week’s work experience placement with local employers or participate in our world of work week.
At Key Stage 5 our curriculum is heavily focussed on developing our students’ independence with a focus on employment. All students follow an employability course and choose a vocational course such as Retail, Hospitality, Health and Social Care and Horticulture. These are nationally recognised qualifications and enable students to demonstrate their learning potential to employers and can open doors for further education and training
Students are taught that careers is not just about employment but a lifelong pathway. Through our extensive curriculum, they will learn the skills needed to navigate this journey.
The school uses the Ofsted approved CDI framework across all key stages to ensure a strong focus on improving careers related outcomes for our young people. This framework enables the school to track student progress and provides progressive end of key stage learning outcomes as students move through the school.
We also use Careerpilot, which is an online resource that allows students to investigate areas of interest and alternative pathways, gain up to date information about jobs within these areas, what skills and qualifications required for career options and map these against the skills they already have.
In addition, all subjects across the key stages identify career education elements and incorporate these when lesson planning.
Work Experience Programme
Furthermore, to our career curriculum, we also offer all students in Year 11 the opportunity to take part in our work experience week. Whether the placements are internal or external, students gain valuable insight, hands on experience and can put the skills and knowledge they have learnt within school to the test in a real working environment.
This is then extended to our Post 16 provision, where students are offered the opportunity to work within a variety of different placements, in line with their future aspirations. These placements differ from the year 11 placements as students generally accesses the placements for extended periods of time.
We have a working partnership with Swindon Night Shelter, who run The Hub, which is a shop and café where students can gain experience of working within the café, shop or kitchen.
We also have a working partnership with Phoenix, where our Year 14 students attend a weekly shift where they gain experience of working within a warehouse environment, working to tight deadlines and product control.
Career related activities
Throughout the academic year, the school also holds various career themed weeks, where the whole school participate in a wide range of topic-based activities and projects that incorporate employability skills and career linked thinking. We engage with local employers and invite external visitors in to deliver workshops and talks with the students
We have also held carers fairs, CV writing workshops and invite employers in to hold mock interviews for students.
Students also have the opportunity to attend other events throughout the year such as Jobfest, Preparing for Adulthood events, further education open days and we work closely with our local communities to build links and support when and where we can with local events.
The Gatsby Benchmarks
Our Careers programme is underpinned by the 8 Gatsby Benchmarks.
These benchmarks are a framework of 8 guidelines that schools work towards to provide the best career provision for its students as possible:
Benchmark 1:A stable careers programme
Benchmark 2: Learning from career and Labour Market Information
Benchmark 3: Addressing the needs of each student
Benchmark 4: Linking the curriculum learning to careers
Benchmark 5: Encounters with employers and employees
Benchmark 6: Experiences of the workplace
Benchmark 7: Encounters with further and higher education
Benchmark 8: Personal guidance
We regularly review our careers programme through the Compass evaluation tool against the Benchmarks and this data is then used to feed into our career’s development plan and drive future improvements. The school is very much on track to meet the government target of 100% across all 8 benchmarks by September 2020, as set out by 2017 Careers Strategy.
Review and evaluation
As well as reviewing our Gatsby progress, we also understand the importance of gaining feedback from students, staff, parents and other stakeholders in relation to our careers programme, careers events and work experience programme. This feedback is essential in our evaluation process and ensures that we are committed to continuously develop our programme so that students benefit from a careers education that enables them to develop the skills and knowledge needed to navigate any future career choices as well as the opportunity to engage and learn from employers and work based experiences.
Staff training is also an essential element of our on-going development. Regular training throughout the academic year covers various topics such as changes to legislation, curriculum overviews, sharing good practice and planning sessions. Training enables staff the opportunity to work together to enhance the careers programme, share ideas and ensure that we are offering a programme our students deserve.
Student voice is at the very centre of our annual review process. We work closely with students and their families to initiate discussions about future aspirations, pathways and begin the process of setting short term and longer outcomes so that these can be reached. We also work closely with external support agencies to ensure that there is a whole team approach to reaching these goals.
Careers link Governor - Mick Poole
Careers link & PSHE Link Teacher - Jo Brierley