Careers Education and Guidance

Year 10 Work Experience, Styal Mill 2018

 Aspirations Programme Overview 


As part of their education at WHS, we encourage students to reflect upon who they are, and who they would like to become. In order to complete this journey, we provide a broad range of aspirational activities, which support this exploration and the development of skills. We have a Careers Coordinator, who oversees the aspirations programme, a post-16 Guidance Coordinator, a Careers Advisor (L7 qualified), who provides information, advice and guidance for all students from Years 7 -13, and a Work Experience Coordinator, who arranges Year 10 work placements and supports the Careers Coordinator in delivering the aspirations programme. Also, we have two Business Partner Coordinators, who are developing our network of business volunteers and contacts, who, in turn, support the aspirations programme. Form tutors at WHS take an active role in delivering aspirations lessons, which are delivered through Wider Curriculum lessons. Also, there are visits, assemblies, talks and fairs which students have the option to attend in order to improve their skills and understanding of different careers.

Aspire High: Bentley – ‘Meet the Apprentice’ encounter, National Careers Week 2018

All students at WHS will:

  • Have an aspiration which they share with staff through the Aspirations Questionnaire
  • Develop their understanding of their skills, interests and personality from Year 7 -13, and make links between these and future pathways
  • Be provided with information about the range of opportunities open to them
  • Have the opportunity to meet with external employers at least once per academic year
  • Take part in work related activities in and out of school
  • Understand expectations of employers and learn how to apply for jobs
  • Learn how to make informed decisions about their future
  • Be fully supported and guided through key transition periods
  • Learn how to improve their own employability skills

We are very proud of our Business Partnership links with employers. These employers are invited to support students in their learning through work placements, talks, interview preparation, careers fairs and work related learning events.

As we believe in the importance of Whole Education, we have invested in a careers management tool, Grofar. This platform gives us a cloud-based system for recording aspirations events, contacting business volunteers/alumni and tracking the development of students’ skills.

All year groups

As part of the start of year programme, there is a Personal Best Fair, which showcases the range of options to students, available through the Wider Curriculum, encouraging students to make pledges in order to develop their skills.

We run a programme of encounters with employers from a range of sectors, called the Aspire High programme. These are open to students from any year group and the encounters take place at least once per month. Also, during National Careers and Apprenticeships week, we run a daily programme of encounters with apprentices, who highlight their pathway, their work and their future prospects post-apprenticeship.

In November, we host a careers fair, open to all students, which invites employers from the local area, offering employment for students at post-16, post-18 or post-grad level, to discuss these opportunities with students.

Year 7

Networking for Success – this event takes place in the summer term, and it allows Year 7 students to conduct interviews, in groups, with business volunteers in order to increase their knowledge of different jobs and the skills involves, as well as developing their communication and teamwork skills.

Also during Year 7, students create a profile in Grofar, which give them an electronic portfolio where they can record activities and monitor their skills development.

Year 8

Gender Stereotypes – Students learn about gender stereotypes within the place of work, exploring why they exist, how we can challenge them and why it is important that we promote equality, particularly in working to close the gender pay gap.

Year 9

KS4 Course Choices – Students are given help during tutorial time and Wider Curriculum lessons in order to prepare them for the decisions they need to make during Year 9.  They learn more about how to make decisions wisely, understand more about the range and structure of their choices. This is supported in this by 1:1 careers appointments where necessary. Parents are invited into school to discuss course choices in January.

Year 10

Work Experience week – Experiencing the world of work and employers’ expectations is vital in moving towards employability.  During Year 10 all students take part in a week’s work placement. They can arrange the placements themselves or work with the Work Experience Coordinator to find a suitable placement. They keep a record of activities during this week and how they have developed their employability skills.  They complete preparation for this week with a series of Wider Curriculum lessons. Also, during these lessons, they create a CV to record their skills and experience.  They follow up on what they have learned during tutorial time, and record their skills on Grofar.

Year 11

Applications for work and mock interviews – As well as developing skills during their education at WHS, we recognise that applying for work and interviewing are skills in their own right. In order to develop these skills, all Year 11 students send their CVs to business volunteers, who then come into school to provide a mock interview for each student.

To support post-16 choices, we take part in a taster day at a local FE College, to which all Year 11 students are invited. There is a post-16 opportunities evening, run by WHS Sixth Form. Also, other local post-16 education providers are invited to our Opportunities Fair in Novemeber and all Year 11 students are given the chance to attend.

The above activities are supported by 1:1 careers interviews with the Careers Advisor, which all Year 11 students are able to request, and the Careers Coordinator ensures that all students have the right level of support and guidance.

Typically 65%-75% of students choose to remain at WHS for sixth form.

Sixth Form

All sixth form students receive guidance to support them in their choices for life after Wilmslow High School.

Through assemblies and Wider Curriculum lessons, students receive presentations from the Universities of Manchester and Bangor in order to provide them with an understanding of what university life is like.  An assembly on degree apprenticeships allows them to consider a route which combines both education and training.  A local apprenticeship provider gives students the opportunity to find out more about a more vocational post-18 choice.  Students also access talks from the Aspire High Encounters programme.

In order to support students with their post-18 choices, the school has invested in the Unifrog platform.  This enables students to search both university courses and apprenticeships, to track key skills and experiences and to develop a personal statement and CV.

We believe that all students in Year 12 should have an experience of the workplace in addition to any part-time employment they may have.  Students are encouraged to take a proactive approach to finding their own work experience placements during the school holidays, although support is provided to make connections with local employers.  Through the Opportunities Fair in September, all sixth form students have the chance to meet a range of providers of extra-curricular activities and many choose to take part in volunteering roles.

Parental support is vital as students move through the sixth form and we appreciate that the post-18 landscape is complex and confusing.  A post-sixth form evening gives parents vital information about the range of options available to students post-18, as well as the support and programme offered at the school and information about student finance.  A new UCAS information evening was introduced in 2018 to help parents to understand how the process works nationally and at WHS.  There is also a Year 12 Parent/Carer page on Firefly which keeps parents updated and useful information is also sent via the Firefly messaging service.

Between 75 and 80% of our Year 13 students choose to apply to university each year.  We have a very comprehensive programme, arranged by the Post-16 Guidance Manager and supported by student managers and form tutors, which prepares students for their applications to university.  All Year 12 students are given the chance to attend the UCAS convention in Manchester in March.  It is vital that students attend open days in order to help them to select their final five choices and we promote the importance of these through an assembly and to parents.

For students making early applications to Oxbridge and courses in Dentistry, Medicine and Veterinary Science, we provide extra support, including mock admissions interviews, due to the highly competitive nature of these courses.  Students taking the BMAT or UKCAT are offered further sessions.  Year 12 students are taken to the Oxbridge conference in Liverpool if they are interested in applying to Oxford or Cambridge. All students who have applied to university are given the opportunity to have a practice interview with a colleague from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Students intending to take gap years or to go straight into employment with training are provided with workshops on how to make applications. These sessions are designed and run by an external recruitment expert.

During Wider Curriculum lessons, sixth form students also learn about managing personal finance and living away from home survival skills.


Information, advice and guidance about qualification pathways
For full details of the programmes provided for each year group please see the relevant Curriculum Digest, KS4 Courses Booklet and the Sixth Form Prospectus and click on the links below:

Students are encouraged to use the excellent range of careers information and guidance materials available in the LRC or online to research information related to their specific interests and aspirations.