Alongside the PSHE curriculum there are a series of events and presentations for either the whole year group or particular cohorts such as the annual Careers Day, university visits, apprenticeships presentations, STEM events and subject specific events. All of these events are designed to encourage students to think about their futures both immediately after Year 11, but also in the longer term.
This is an annual event in which a wide range of possible employers are invited along including a number from the NHS, the armed forces. Local colleges and universities and apprenticeship providers are also invited to attend. Students in Years 9, 10 and 11 all spend 25 minutes talking to visitors and finding out about the range of careers opportunities available.
Careers Guidance in Year 11
All Year 11 students have a one to one interview with Connexions and also a senior member of school staff to discuss their plans after Year 11. During this interview students are also questioned about their longer term plans and aspirations to ensure that the decisions that they make are the best ones for them. This may be progression to our sixth form but also to college, apprenticeship or other employment with training. Most students at this stage have already done a great deal of research and are well prepared for their next step.
For those who are seeking apprenticeships, we arrange for them to have support from local organisations, and an information evening for students and their parents includes representatives from a wide range of providers. All information regarding apprenticeship programs that the school receives is sent out to students who have been identified as possible applicants.
For students who are applying to college we check that they apply and receive offers and give support if they have any problems. For those students who do not have firm plans or, in some cases, unrealistic ideas we arrange for a further face to face careers interview with an independent qualified careers advisor and also use our Learning Mentors who will take students on visits to the local colleges etc.
For students who progress to sixth form, university and careers discussions are held regularly with tutors and also the pastoral staff.
Careers Guidance in the Sixth Form
Students carry out a range of activities in PSE which focus on developing team working and problem solving skills. The application process to university begins in Year 12 and those students not planning to go to university form an employability group who have regular sessions on developing the skills employers are looking for; for example interview skills and application writing. They attend these sessions in place of our ‘UCAS’ and ‘Preparation for University’ activities which take place during PSE time. Through the group, students are also made aware of many vacancies and opportunities available to them.
The programme we have in place for information, advice and guidance is very effective for our students as is evidenced by the fact that the number of students from St Thomas More who are NEET, either at the end of Year 11 or Year 13 are very low compared to national figures and are consistently the lowest of any school in North Tyneside.