Making informed choices

This term our attention has been focused on the Year 9 options process. The options evening this week was a good opportunity to meet with students and their families to discuss the choices that they are making as they seek to personalise their curriculum for years 10 and 11. As I said to the assembled parents, carers and students in the hall alongside Mrs Dawes on Wednesday evening, the aim of the whole process is to provide as much information as possible, so that students can make good decisions about their next steps.

The same philosophy governs our whole “choices” programme – whether it be advice and guidance to Year 11 students making decisions about post-16 education; or sixth formers exploring their options for higher education through universities, apprenticeships, employment or gap years; or the wider careers inspiration, advice and guidance programme that covers all our students; the aim is to ensure that our students are well-informed about their choices, so they can make the right decisions for them.

An example of this was our “Careers to Curriculum Day” for Year 9 students on the day after options evening this week. Year 9 students followed an adapted timetable to learn more about how the subjects they follow on their curriculum apply to the real world of work. From the applications of maths to climate science, the use of economics and law, the life of an actor, product design, illustration, journalism, financial trading, medical ethics and food sciences, our students got to think about how their classroom work could serve them in a future career.

This was supported by our annual Careers Convention on Thursday evening. We welcomed representatives from businesses both local, national and international to the Academy. We had employers including Airbus, GKN Aerospace, Rolls Royce and Taylor Wimpey; Civil Service Careers and HMRC; the Army, Royal Navy and Border Force; the NHS and St Monica Trust; Virgin Atlantic and Easyjet; the Met Office, Thatchers, Wessex Water, the National Grid Electricity Distribution, Burges Salmon, Motorbodies Weston and more. They were joined by further and higher education providers including colleges, apprenticeship providers, and universities with the aim of raising student aspirations, broadening their horizons, and encouraging them to think about what may be possible in their future.

Throughout their time at Churchill, students also have access to the Unifrog system. Unifrog helps young people find and apply for the best opportunities for them after school. It gives students a wealth of information and tools to use to help them navigate the array of options open to them. From interest and personality profiling, to information about a wide variety of careers and education pathways, Unifrog also gives students a space to record their wider activities to build a profile of their skills and competencies. This can help to guide them as they consider their next steps, by enabling them to reflect on what they are good at and what they enjoy – not just in their lessons, but beyond.

All this is just scratching the surface of our careers inspiration, advice and guidance programme, led by Mr Morgan and coordinated by Mrs McGonigal. We do our very best to make sure that our students’ choices about their next steps – whatever and whenever they may be – are informed, thoughtful and the best possible choice for them.

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