In September 2013, Ofsted made the assessment of independent careers advice provision in schools a top priority.
In April 2014 they published their latest statutory guidance, with the emphasis firmly on developing pupils’ aspirations, getting them to consider a broad range of careers and facilitating ‘real-life contact with the world of work’.
As Ofsted demands more from schools, it’s important for independent careers providers to step up and provide schools with the right kinds of support and assurances to meet their developing needs.
For this reason, Success at School was created not just for young people, but with schools firmly in mind. Since our site launched in October 2013, we have spent our time researching and developing more and more ways to bring schools and students closer to employers, introduce them to a range of careers and help them to consider all of the pathways into work, from apprenticeships to higher education.
We’re different because we don’t just publish our guidance and sit back. We offer schools a free, personalised and secure online platform to interact with students, monitor their progress and feedback to us on what they want.
In a nutshell, here are nine ways that our website can help your school meet its independent and in-house careers advice obligations.
1. Ofsted says: ‘Careers advice must be presented in an impartial manner’
We are an independent organisation with no industry or educational affiliations. Our editorial team produces balanced, current content, based on research and interviews with partner schools, young people and experts.
2. Ofsted says: ‘There must be information on the range of education or training options, including apprenticeships and other vocational pathways’.
We present academic and vocational routes into employment side by side and with equal weighting. Through our career zones and advice articles, we show that there is often more than one route into a career.
In line with Ofsted’s requirements, we emphasise the minimum requirements for English and Maths and promote traineeships and functional skills.
We also conduct interviews with inspirational apprentices, like Laura, who opted for an apprenticeship over university, to emphasise the real choices available to young people.
3. Ofsted says: ‘Careers education is as much about aspiration and inspiration as advice’.
We agree, that’s why the emphasis of the site is on exploration rather than instruction. Our career zones allow young people to quickly compare a range of careers side by side as a jumping off point and suggest practical ways for them to explore their ideas further.
In our Skill Up series we focus on encouraging students to recognise the key soft skills that they are developing at school in order to build their confidence and self-awareness.
We also interview young people at different stages in their careers to explore what inspired them and show how they put their plans into action and overcame obstacles to succeed.
4. Ofsted says: ‘Guidance must be in the best interests of the pupils and distinctive to their individual needs’.
Our site enables students to highlight and save their favourite careers, jobs, employers and articles. Participating schools can access this data to monitor their students’ preferences, which can help to shape their one-to-one guidance and identify areas to explore.
5. Ofsted says: ‘Schools should provide sustained contacts with employers, mentors and coaches who can inspire pupils’.
Successatschool.org provides a space for employers to publish detailed profiles to help familiarise students with their brand and explain what they do. Students can also use the site to search for jobs, work experience, interviews, videos, courses and open days or communicate directly with employers through our secure forum. In addition, we help to forge networks between schools and employers in the long-term.
6. Ofsted says: ‘Schools should have a strategy for advice and guidance’.
Our content is designed for students in years 8-13 and covers each key stage of career development in school including GCSE choices, post-16 options, higher education and core career management skills, such as building a CV, building work experience and preparing for job interviews, all of which students can record and monitor against a skills framework attached to their profile.
Schools can build upon this framework by adding their own content to their secure site, enabling them to strengthen and tailor their own strategies.
7. Ofsted says: ‘Schools should ensure that high attaining pupils are supported to make an informed choice about whether to aim for university’.
Successatschool.org features university profiles, where students can quickly search institutions, courses and upcoming events. Resources, such as our Why Study series, allow students to compare subjects and what they can achieve by studying them from GCSE to university and beyond.
8. Ofsted says: ‘Schools should ensure that all students are aware of out of school opportunities that could help them with their career aspirations’.
We feature links and profiles of useful sites and organizations that can help students further develop their career skills and highlight the benefits of volunteering, hackathons, competitions and more.
9. Ofsted says: ‘Schools should also ensure that pupils understand that a wide range of career choices require good knowledge of Maths and the sciences’.
Our content emphasizes the subjects required to access different individual careers and career groups. We also feature dedicated STEM, Engineering and IT career zones to demonstrate the breadth of career choices available.
Success at School is free to all schools. To find out more about what we do, get in touch with the team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mitesh Bhimjiyani