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Quality Assurance

Here at Stowmarket High School we are committed to ensuring that our Inspirational Futures Programme meets all the current guidelines for good practice, in order to prepare our students for their future pathways, to help them develop clear goals and directions to work towards for a stable and happy future.

We measure and evaluate our programme in a number of ways including working towards the Quality in Careers Standard and the GATSBY Benchmarks.

Meeting the GATSBY Benchmarks

Click here for our Inspirational Futures Policy

1. A stable careers programme

At Stowmarket High School, we have a programme of careers education and guidance embedded into our PSHE lessons.  This programme is developed as the Explore, Inspire, Create programme and is delivered across years 7, 8 and 11. In years 9 and 10 this programme is delivered through a timetabled lesson each fortnight, where our students get a bespoke programme of careers learning using our Unifrog platform.

Information about future study options and the labour market is available to students through assemblies, ‘lunches with’ and advice and a slice session as well as through the Independent Careers Adviser that we employ to give impartial advice on careers and future opportunities. Our Inspirational Futures Co-Ordinator Mrs Mylrea is also available for 1:1 sessions or small group workshops.

To identify students’ guidance needs, we ask them to complete surveys within the first term, asking them to think about their interests and future career path ideas. This information is then collated onto a tracking system which enables us to target particular students for specific events that may be of interest to them and their future career path. Questions on the survey for year 9 will concentrate on Option choices and will inform our 14+ interview process; Year 10 and 11 questionnaires will concentrate on 16+ Pathways and will inform our guidance interviews and required SLT support.  They will also enable us to further support students with SEND who will have help to complete the questionnaire.

We provide students with opportunities within the school to have direct contact with employers by hosting ‘Advice and a Slice’ – we have representatives from a variety of sectors visit the school and speak with students about their experiences or their career. We provide lunch for the students in the form of Dominoes Pizza and will target those who have identified an interest in this field or have a need to attend based on our tracker system; it is always open to all.

Students also attend a variety of events – both held externally and on the school site. These events allow our students to meet employers as well as people from colleges and universities.

 2. Learning from career and labour market information

To identify the needs of our students in regards to careers guidance, we encourage and document attendance to appointments with our external careers adviser.

If individual students speak with staff in regards to their future aspirations, staff members can use these conversations to identify any further guidance and support the school can give to the student. 

Students can access the Careers Adviser by using a number of methods – students can request appointments, teachers can refer them or if they have previously completed the survey stated that they are unsure about future career options, they can be referred to our Careers Adviser. To remain impartial, we ensure that our External Careers Advisor arranges appointments with all of the Year 7– 11 students who are unsure of their future path. This is filtered through the survey and tracker system. If you feel your child would benefit from some Careers Advice and has yet to be referred please feel free to get in touch.

However, we make this service available to students in all years, who can either attend our ‘drop in’ service or request their own appointments. We hold a live working document to keep logs of the appointments and any important notes made during these, which are then shared with staff members to act upon.

 3. Addressing the needs of each student

To address the needs of our students, we complete our School Inspirational Futures tracker. This tracker is completed by numerous members of staff from SLT to form tutors, to members of the Futures team. From the information on the tracker, we organise trips, events and ‘Advice and Slice’ based on the data that has been returned. The information that we receive includes their intended job role, their top three industry sectors they are interested in holding a future career in, the subjects that they are interested in, the skills that they believe they hold or would like to develop, whether they would like to go to University and, if they have been seen by the Independent Careers Adviser. If a student has a future aspiration of becoming a chef or aiming for another role in the catering sector, using this information, we can investigate into Catering based careers open days and fayres. These events will be organised and then advertised to those who may be interested in the event.

4. Linking curriculum learning to careers

To ensure that careers are incorporated into the curriculum learning of students, we as a school regularly evaluate our careers provision within our schemes of work. Directors of Faculty and their teams complete a document that maps Careers across the curriculum; the information displays the links between student learning and any careers possibilities or opportunities covered within. As a result of this mapped document the futures team are able to support the curriculum leaders with resources, external visitors or event organisation.  They are also able to work together to ensure what the futures team are offering is linked to the learning in lessons.

5. Encounters with employers and employees

Our students can potentially have a vast amount of encounters with employers and employees. We document all of the encounters that the students have, so that we can target students who may not have engaged in any activities and events. The students have encounters with employers and employees through ‘Advice and a Slice’ that students can attend if appealing to them. The events we run and the experiences we offer.

6. Experiences of workplaces

To ensure that our students experience the workplace whilst they are still school age, we offer a ‘Work Experiences Programme’, our students are encouraged to seek their own work experience in school holidays but throughout Year 9 and Year 10 we offer a variety of work experience opportunities.  This involves spending the day in a particular industry experiencing the many facets of the company before deciding on one area of focus. This provides them with experiences of the workplace and insights into the career path that they may have an interest going into but also enables them to explore a few areas of interest rather than focusing on one area for a set period of time. In Year 10 our students have the opportunity to go out on a full weeks work experience which we ask them to source themselves, and we also have a bank of placements for those students needing additional support.

7. Encounters with further and higher education

We invite apprenticeship providers into the school to talk to students about apprenticeships, including how to find and apply for apprenticeships through their website. The providers will discuss with students a number of apprenticeships in a vast number of sectors and industries. We do this through a bespoke evening event, pop-up stands across National Apprenticeship Week, in school apprenticeship clinics and local employer-led apprenticeship opportunities sessions throughout the school year.

We hold a Year 11 Next Steps Evening, at which future career paths can be discussed. The School invites in all the local sixth forms and colleges including Suffok Rural College (formerly Otley College), West Suffolk College, Abbeygate, Suffolk One, Suffolk New College, Stowupland Sixth From, Thurston Sixth, Northdate Sixth Form, Needham Market Academy, Ipswich Academy Trust amongst others.

We also will be offering opportunities to visit Universities this year.  This will be an opportunity to see the campus and explore some of the courses on offer as well as seeing what life is like studying at a University.  We have previously sent our students on various experiences at Cambridge University but we will be expanding the sites we visit in the coming year to include UEA and UoS.

University of Suffolk

University of East Anglia

8. Personal guidance from an appropriately trained careers adviser

Our external careers adviser currently runs online 1:1 sessions with our students. She is commissioned to provide advice and guidance on careers independently. Mrs Kate Wild works with a number of other colleagues and advisers, holding a qualification in Careers Guidance.