Careers and Higher Education
The Careers and Higher Education programme is an integral and vital part of the curriculum. It aims to develop:
• self-awareness and confidence about future choices
• resilience and adaptability in the face of change
• opportunity awareness and professional insight
• career-management and networking skills
A comprehensive programme is in place which includes activities in tutor time and PSHCE and lecture sessions in the Sixth Form Lecture Programme. Additionally, girls develop their understanding of the world of work and of their own values, beliefs and motivations related to careers and higher education through a series of themed days and events. These events include:
Year 8 STEM Careers Day
This is a day of workshops supported by the Smallpeice Trust which looks at the different opportunities available for STEM careers.
Year 8 Real Game
Girls assume work roles and learn about some of the realities of working life and budgeting. They start to think about what their working priorities would be.
Year 9 Take Your Daughter To Work
By spending a day in the workplace, girls are able to start to reflect on different working environments and consider which skills employers are seeking.
Year 10 Futures Days
Girls attend employability workshops and complete psychometric profiling to identify their own skill profiles. Additionally, through attending A Level taster lessons they are better able to understand which subjects are of most interest to them. The days culminate in the Working Lives Panel discussion at which current students hear from alumnae about their career paths and gain advice about how to succeed in the labour market today.
Year 11 Spot Lunch
A networking lunch, at which current students are able to talk to recent leavers about their experiences of university life.
Year 11 Careers Convention
This a joint event run with Merchant Taylors’ School at which girls attend a number of careers seminars, hearing directly from professionals about the reality of working life.
Year 12 Oxbridge Lunch
This is an opportunity for current students to meet with recent leavers studying at either Oxford or Cambridge to learn more about the student experience at these universities.
Year 12 Higher Education Convention
This is an event run jointly with Merchant Taylors’ School at which girls attend a number of seminars led by representatives from different universities. They learn about what studying different degrees at universities entails, and how to prepare successful applications in an increasingly competitive HE environment.
Year 12 Higher Education Forum
This is an evening event for students and parents which explores application strategies and the benefits of the undergraduate student experience through both plenary and workshop sessions.
Year 12 Futures Breakfast
This event takes the format of a speed-networking event, at which current students are encouraged to develop their networking skills through meeting professionals from a range of different professions.
Year 12 Higher Education Morning
This is a workshop-based event which is hosted by university representatives to explore the opportunities and benefits offered by study at undergraduate level.
University Preparation Courses
The university preparation courses run across Years 12 and 13 covering a range of subjects offered at undergraduate level with the aim of promoting the wider reading and development of the skills of independent analysis and evaluation that selectors at competitive universities are looking for.
Preparation for Oxbridge, Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science applications
The Head of Academic Extension co-ordinates a comprehensive programme of support and preparation for students applying to Oxbridge which includes a course covering critical thinking and argument, public speaking, presentation skills and interview technique. Specific and targeted preparation for admissions tests is also provided through timetabled University Preparation sessions and a whole-day workshop. Additionally, we also provide our applicants to Oxbridge Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science with opportunities for interview practice.
Individual Careers Guidance
Providing girls with opportunities to receive tailored and impartial guidance is vital in helping them to make informed choices and the right decisions for them. Girls are supported individually with making informed choices and action planning through regular mentoring meetings with their tutors.
Additionally, in Year 10 each girl is enrolled in the Futurewise New Generation personalised careers guidance and planning service at no extra cost. Girls complete a full range of psychometric tests in Year 10, which is followed up with an individual guidance interview with a trained careers professional from the Inspiring Futures Foundation in Year 11. In Year 12 girls have a follow-on interview with Inspiring Futures to support them in their HE planning. Girls can also request additional support from Inspiring Futures until the age of 23.
Girls also benefit with individual guidance interviews at key points: each girl has an option choice discussion in Years 11 and 12 with their tutor and the Director of Futures and additionally in Year 12 has an individual higher education planning discussion with either the Head of Academic Extension or the Director of Futures. Girls can make appointments to see either the Head of Academic Extension or the Director of Futures at any time.
Learning about and experiencing the world of work is integral to the Careers and Higher Education programme, either through direct experiences of work such as work shadowing, voluntary work and work experience placements, or through seminars and talks delivered by careers professionals. All girls are encouraged to develop the transferrable skills employers are looking for through voluntary work, either through initiatives such as the National Citizenship Service or Duke of Edinburgh or for those girls interested in STEM careers through attendance at Headstart courses. Enterprise activities delivered through PSHCE and co-curricular opportunities such as Young Enterprise raise the girls' awareness of the realities of working life, help them to understand their individual skills, and enable them to develop the ability to market their personal strengths. We are in the process of reviewing our work experience programme and we plan to offer more networking events, such as the sector-based Futures Evenings and Networking breakfast to enable students to make contacts for mentoring and work shadowing.
Careers and HE Resources
There is a dedicated Careers and Higher Education Library, which is organised according to CRCI (Careers Resources Classification Index) guidelines and houses up-to-date publications about HE admissions and different professions. This is supplemented by the following HE databases which are on the school network: 'Higher Ideas' and 'Degree Course Descriptions Online'. Additionally on the school VLE, there is a wealth of information on preparing successful UCAS applications, including subject-specific guidance.