CEIAG (Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance) gives students at West Buckland support in different areas to help them make informed choices about their futures.
A planned programme helps students to gain the knowledge and develop skills for planning and managing their careers. Information about the range of opportunities and options is available at key transition point in the students’ education as well as specialist advice and guidance for individuals to enable them to review, plan and manage their learning and progression to the next stage and beyond.
This is done in a number of ways, including:
- Real life contacts with the world of work and higher education, including workplace visits, work experience, visiting speakers and trips to open days
- Inspirational role models, including alumni, from the careers to which they aspire through the weekly careers lunch programme
- Independent and face to face careers advice and guidance
- Promoting a range of career choices in a variety of areas including STEM, languages, social sciences, arts and humanities
- Developing basic career management skills like CV writing and interview skills
- Using appropriate information in the specialist area in the Michael Morpurgo Library and web based information including the National Careers Service, UCAS and Plotr. In addition, the department uses Passportfolio, a web based system which provides careers information, helps build CVs and provides an online place for students to record their skills, achievements and action plans.
The Head of Careers and Higher Education is responsible for the leadership and management of the department as well as the co-ordination of CEIAG. A number of external organizations support the department including universities such as Sheffield, Exeter, Plymouth, Careers South West, the Education-Business Partnership South West, local employers, professional organizations and agencies such as GCHQ and the three armed forces.
Contact with parents is considered as vital and is done in a variety of ways, including:
- A monthly newsletter containing news, information and opportunities
- Letters from the department giving advice and information about vital issues such as careers interviews, student finance and higher education choices
- Presence at parents evenings from Years 8-13 as well as the sixth form open evening
- A presentation to Year 12 parents in June each year on the process for university applications and student finance
- Response to ad-hoc requests for advice and information, including appointments in school.
Years 8 and 9
Lessons in the enrichment programme are allocated for careers. The students assess their own skills, strengths and qualities as they are introduced to the concept of employability, learn about job families and stereotypes in employment sectors. In Year 9, the focus is on GCSE options and how decisions might be arrived at. They state their plans for post-14 GCSE options as well as those at post-16 and 18 if they have any at that stage. The students assess the local and national labour markets. Any individual careers guidance up to Year 9 is led by the tutors, but referrals to the Head of Careers and HE are welcome and can be easily arranged.
Years 10 and 11
Students are often exposed to career related learning during Field Day in September when the timetable is collapsed. They are asked for formally record any post-16 and 18 plans and to discuss these with their tutors. If they have not done so in Key stage 3, they register with Passportfolio on which they complete quizzes which helps them to explore themselves and begin to record information that might be included in a later CV or action plan. The students usually complete ‘The Game’ on www.plotr.co.uk whereby their answers to questions help them to explore different jobs.
In Year 11, the students are timetabled for one careers lesson per week throughout the year. These are delivered by the Head of Careers and HE and an assistant careers teacher. The former interviews every Year 11 student and provides face to face guidance for up to 30 minutes. The learning focuses on individual action plans, where/how to find out information and different types of qualifications and career paths. The students also learn about employability skills, writing a CV and letter of job application and how to conduct oneself in an interview. Usually, representatives from Barclays Lifeskills and the National Citizenship Service help to deliver some of this programme. In addition, where parental permission has been granted, some students register on LinkedIn in order to access the OWBA page where discussions with alumni can talk about careers or HE courses. Local employers (often parents or alumni) are then invited into school to interview the students and provide advice about relevant careers.
Years 12 and 13
The tutors are key players in the advice given to the students, particularly in the application process and reference writing for HE courses and/or employment. That said, the Head of Careers and HE (who is currently a 6th form tutor) is a continual presence and offers one to one advice and guidance where needed.
Sixth Form students are regular attendees at careers lunches, medicine discussion groups and open days to universities (also open to Year 11 students). In both year groups, the students are given the chance to update the CVs they constructed in Year 11. After Christmas in Year 12, through to June, there is an emphasis on the variety of education, training and career paths both in the UK and abroad. A visit to the UCAS convention is organized in March and there is an annual HE/careers day every June in which speakers from universities, including alumni, provide information to the students, including writing personal statements and choosing degree courses.
In Year 13 a further HE/careers day takes place in September and the emphasis is on researching and applying for employment or HE courses. Enrichment lessons are also given over for this purpose and include advice on personal statements, completing the UCAS form, choosing universities, student finance, life at university and confirmation/clearing procedures.
In the Autumn Term of Year 13, many mock interviews are provided for those students who are applying to competitive courses where interviews are required such as Oxbridge and Medicine. In addition, talks and interviews with careers staff of all three armed forces are organized for students who are interested and an agent from Sporting Elite USA can talk to those interested in sports scholarships at US colleges. These last two opportunities are also available to Year 11 students.
Many parents arrange work experience for their children through their own or family contacts. Where this is not possible, there are two options. The Head of Careers and Higher Education may use school or personal contacts and help the students make contact with appropriate organisations. The student’s second option is to take advantage of the school’s own programme organised in conjunction with Education Business Partnership South West. By working with this organisation, the school can ensure that there is a large database of employers across a range of sectors in the south west, adequate health and safety arrangements are in place and that there is robust safeguarding of students.