Reading Girls doesn’t have a Sixth form and Higher Education might seem a long time in the future for some students but, together with the school Careers Lead, Study Higher wanted to kick-start students’ exploration of future choices by running sessions that looked at different careers, apprenticeships, job skills and university subjects.
Between our Study Higher partner Universities we offer an excellent range of specially devised in-school workshops. Each year group was split into three, rotating between three workshops for much of the day. The use of our partners meant that of the nine activities arranged for years 9 – 11, Study Higher hosted or provided the resources for six of them.
A highlight was the Simulate Your Future Van, from Bucks New University which ran their immersive Journey of a Patient session with Year 9s. The evaluation responses to this session were overwhelmingly positive, with a number of students saying that this session was the most inspirational. Interestingly, not only did these students say that the van inspired them to explore the range of jobs in healthcare, but some also mentioned that it had made them interested in the different jobs in technology, possibly owing to their experience in the state-of-the-art simulation pod.
Year 10s had the Oxford Brookes Study Higher team Gear Up workshops as part of their programme, which used the National Careers website to start their thinking about the different progression routes into work. By looking at the careers they were interested in, they could start planning their pathways and qualifications. Study Higher ran a CV writing workshop for this year group as well, to both ignite their thinking about their transferrable skills and to give them information about traditional CV structures.
For Year 11, Study Higher ran Finance and Budgeting workshops, which used the University of Reading ‘Bean Game’ to give students the experience of managing finite resources (in this case sweets, but representing a salary or student loan) and budgeting these across ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. This session informed students about the realities of student finance, as misinformation around this topic is common, whilst also giving them transferrable skills they can use in whatever path they choose.
An end-of-day evaluation exhibited our success in the day’s aim of informing students of their future choices, as over 84% of Year 10 and 11 students answered ‘Agree’ or ‘Strongly Agree’ to the question ‘I feel more informed about my choices after GCSEs’, whilst over 80% of Year 9 and 10 students ‘Agreed’ or ‘Strongly agreed’ to the statement ‘I have a better understanding of pathways towards different careers’.
Reading Girls School has a number of Personal Development Days throughout the rest of the school year so watch this space for more outreach activities from across our partner network.