Higher education and careers guidance at d’Overbroeck’s begins almost as soon as students start the Sixth Form. For instance, discussions on future pathways inform subject choice advice: some students know what they want to do and may need specific subjects to help them get there, others have no idea and need subjects that will keep doors open.
Whatever students are planning to do after A levels, what they do during Sixth Form can make a difference, so we provide support for them to take on work experience, volunteering, extra reading and competitions. All of these activities help both to prepare them for the next stage and give them an extra edge in their attempts to get there.
The aim of our Higher Education & Careers Programme is simple. We run a programme of events that are designed to help students make informed choices about what they want to do in the next stage of their educational careers. We aim to ensure that such guidance is accurate, well informed and up to date; and that it is delivered impartially, with a view to encouraging students to fulfil their personal potential and helping them to make informed choices about a broad range of career and further study options.
The great majority of our Sixth Form students go on to higher education at a university and we see it as a crucial part of our responsibility to devote a great deal of time and resources to guiding and supporting students through the process of gathering information, thinking through the options, making decisions and completing the necessary applications. We are especially keen that parents should feel as well informed and as involved in this process as they wish to be and run a series of events to for them, too.
The Role of the Director of Studies
The role of the Director of Studies is crucial in supporting students through AS and A levels and supporting them on their journey to university and the world of work. Director of Studies, supported by subject experts, spend a good deal of time working with each student to give guidance and advice on choice of courses, universities and the UCAS application process and personal statement.
We will discuss students’ plans, consult on courses and options, opportunities and more. Subject heads and teachers also help out, for instance advising on portfolios for Art and Photography courses or preparing auditions for music and drama schools.
Work experience is incredibly important in today’s competitive job market. Indeed, for some university courses, particularly those with a strong vocational emphasis, doing work experience is now an entrance requirement. Where it is not, we believe that students should to do work experience in order that they get a feel for a particular industry and gain value skills, which may differentiate them for other university and graduate applicants.
We encourage all students in Years 12 & 13 to embark on work experience placements in the school holidays and a student’s Director of Studies can support them to secure a placement. The school holds an extensive database of current and former parents who are willing to offer short-term work experience in a variety of different industries.
Lectures & Workshops
To enhance our Higher Education & Careers provision, the school regularly welcomes current and former parents and friends to speak to our students about careers and to run workshops which give practical advice on the world of work.
Alternatives to University
For those students who don’t wish to go on to higher education – or would at least like to explore the alternatives – we provide a number of opportunities to explore and find out about a range of other options, whether through attending workshops on apprenticeships, having the opportunity to talk to providers of alternative training courses, and the employment opportunities they can open, at our careers evening.
Those of our students who elect to pursue a more vocational path immediately after A levels are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the Futurewise career guidance programme. This can be enormously valuable in helping participants to focus on their particular strengths and aptitudes and to identify how these relate to the world of work and to specific careers and vocational directions.