Careers Education, Information Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) is part of the core curriculum at SWCHS.
Its significance for students was emphasised by the publication of the following strategy and guidance documents by the Department for Education:
The CEIAG programme at SWCHS aims to inspire students to make informed and appropriate choices and plans for their future course choices, for Further and Higher Education, and ultimately for their careers.
Mr K Tickle, CEIAG Lead
Mrs C Prentice, Careers Co-ordinator
Mr M Toogood: Careers Co-ordinator for Sixth Form
Ms S Bertie: Careers advisor within Sixth Form
Ms L Bell, Link Governor
Ms C Bruzini, Form the Future Link
THE CEIAG PROGRAMME
The CEIAG programme starts in Year 7 and continues up to Year 13, and with support even beyond that for those who need it. An annual programme of careers–related events is offered, typically including (where Covid restrictions allow) opportunities to engage with a variety of companies, other employers and apprenticeship providers, work and laboratory experience, university and college talks, careers and apprenticeship fairs, mock interviews and other opportunities. The programme aims to motivate students by encouraging them to think carefully about and to plan for appropriate progression pathways. The planned programme for the 2021-2022 is outlined on the tab below, but please note that events involving external provision are necessarily subject to change at the present time. In any case the CEIAG programme is intended to be flexible and adaptable as further opportunities become available.
SWCHS has a strong commitment to the provision of extra-curricular opportunities for our students. These help students to pursue ‘CV-building’ activities, such as student voice, student-led societies, other leadership and character development activities, and also specific career-linked activities within subject areas. We are also working to embed work-related skills within the formal subject curriculum through offering students opportunities to develop “SkillsBuilder” competencies. We have recently been awarded a SkillsBuilder Silver Award for our ongoing work in this area.
The CEIAG programme is viewed as an entitlement for all students, and in Years 7 to 9 all students experience timetabled careers lessons within the PSHE carousels. As far as possible we offer individual support and guidance, with the belief that every individual matters equally, and should receive equal access to provision, advice and guidance. Our students are encouraged to have high aspirations, to aim for excellence, and to consider the broadest range of career areas and appropriate educational and personal development routes. For some students this will mean encouragement and mentoring for applications to the most selective universities. For others it will mean similar encouragement and mentoring for a directly career-related or talent-related path. All academic and vocational paths, ranging from university and other course options, to jobs, apprenticeships and entrepreneurship, are covered fairly and impartially.
In line with government policy, our work is now benchmarked against the ‘Gatsby Benchmarks – the recognised national standards for school careers provision.
All students must remain in some form of post-16 education, apprenticeship or formal training.
The vast majority of our Year 11 students choose to progress into the Sixth Form at SWCHS, where the published entry criteria for any of our post-16 ‘routes of entry’ are achieved. Of those who leave SWCHS, most transfer to other educational institutions. A growing number take apprenticeships. Of those who leave at 18, most proceed to degree and other higher level courses, with many gaining places at the top universities. Again, the proportion of students applying for post-18 apprenticeship opportunities is increasing.
All students in Years 7 to 9 experience careers lessons within the PSHE carousels. All students in Years 8 to 11 (and many in the Sixth Form) experience careers workshops delivered by our external partners, Form the Future CIC. We also work with Form the Future to provide all students in Years 8-13 with access to career guidance sessions and additional workshops (eg apprenticeships) on request, or by staff or parent referral. This external guidance is high quality, impartial and independent.
SWCHS SENCO and his team (which includes our Careers Co-ordinator) work with appropriate organisations to identify and support vulnerable young people and to facilitate optimal transitions for them.
The school Learning Centre and the Sixth Form Study Centre both have well-stocked careers information libraries which contain books, prospectuses, leaflets, supplements, lists, links and other resources. A variety of online resources are made available, with all students (and therefore parents) given access via a secure log-in to the comprehensive Unifrog careers package. This is also used to by staff and students to record careers-related interactions and skill development.
Current Job and Apprenticeship Vacancy opportunities are increasingly made available electronically to parents/carers and to students using a variety of media.
The school offers a timetabled programme of Careers Education covering the full recommended range of topics, including transitions, career areas and labour market information, and employability skills and attitudes. The ‘CEIAG DELIVERY PLAN’ tab below summarises the planned 2021-2022 programme for Years 7 to 11, and the Sixth Form Careers Programme. Curriculum learning is also increasingly linked to careers through the provision of structured opportunities for students to develop “SkillsBuilder” work-related skills through subject-based delivery. The school brings in external speakers, arranges visits, and facilitates some individually-focussed opportunities and placements for Year 9-13 students, tailored to their future educational and career ideas and aspirations. SWCHS is developing strong links with a wide range of employers through local links and our work with Form the Future.
We are delighted to be working with external organisations such as SkillsBuilder and Form the Future on a number of projects within our Careers Education programme, and on employability skills, employer events and mock interviews. We work closely with other local secondary schools through the Uttlesford Secondary School Consortium, including the organisation of the biannual Uttlesford Careers and Apprenticeship Fairs.
WORK AND OTHER EXPERIENCES AND EMPLOYABILITY
When feasible, all students are encouraged to undertake work experience placements in Years 9 and 12. Work, laboratory and other experience is now increasingly used as a criterion for entry both to vocational and other degree courses at university, and also for other courses, scholarships and applications (whether job, apprenticeship, Armed Forces or other). Some courses require students to build up an extensive portfolio of work placements, requiring long term planning and commitment. Parents can help by offering work experience or shorter shadowing opportunities, particularly in Year 9. We are examining options for students to undertake virtual work placements, and plan to reinstate a full work experience week for Year 10 in the 2022-2023 academic year.
Students are also encouraged to undertake a range of CV-building activities through engaging in school-related and/or other enrichment activities, which develop the personal qualities and skills required to have successful future working lives. They are also encouraged to apply for schemes, awards, masterclasses which develop their subject/career-linked portfolios.
We are working with SkillsBuilder to provide formal opportunities in subject lessons for students to identify, develop and to record achievement in eight work-related competencies. While these have often been developed implicitly within subject courses, we want our students to be able to articulate work-related skills, to record achievement using Unifrog and to develop these skills as they progress through school, and to refer to skills achievement in progression applications. In 2021, we were awarded the SkillsBuilder Silver Award for our developing work in this area.
Following publication of the DfE’s statutory guidance for schools in January 2018, the School’s CEIAG provision is now benchmarked against current best practice and legislation. We plan to use student/parent and other feedback to inform development of our programme, along with our destinations data. We are using eight ‘benchmarks’ in the Gatsby Foundation Report on Good Career Guidance for our benchmarking and in the future to validate our provision with a national quality award.
We aim to do everything we can to inspire and encourage each of our students to realise their full potential, and to have happy and successful working lives.
For further information on careers visit these sites:
What's Your Thing?
Is a new web site aimed at children to provide an insight into the careers available in seven priority sectors identified By Essex County Council as sectors that contribute significantly to the local economy and have thousands of job opportunities. The sectors are: Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering, Construction, Health, Logistics, Care, Finance & Insurance and IT, Digital & Creative.
Success at School
Is the place for young people to explore careers, get information on top employers and search for the latest jobs, courses and advice.
Is the complete destinations platform – a one-stop-shop for students.
NATIONAL CAREERS SERVICE
Tab to: https://barclayslifeskills.com/