Careers Education

The Careers Leader at the school is Mrs Bishop (Associate Assistant Headteacher). You can email for help and information.

Changes in careers guidance in secondary schools in 2018 mean that there is now an eight-part framework for schools to use to build their careers provision, which you can read about here.

The framework is known as The Gatsby Benchmarks and are briefly outlined below:

Gantsby careers thing

Information and opportunities for students:

Independent Careers Advice

The school employs an external independent adviser, Mary Guthrie, to complement other careers education provided through LIFE (PSHE) lessons, assemblies and tutor times. Mary is in school every Thursday for scheduled interviews with students.  Pastoral teams also offer support for students in terms of future progression routes. Priority Next Steps interviews are arranged for students in key Year Groups, but students can also request an interview through Mrs Bishop, the Careers Coordinator. Each September, Year 11 students are prioritised for Next Steps interviews. Students are targeted based on clear identification of need and support requirements, progress is monitored and further interviews are arranged as required.

Careers Week

In 2023, for the first time, Oaks Park High School introduced a ‘Careers Week’. All students in Years 7 to12 had at least one lesson in each of their subjects focusing on careers and work in that particular field. From now on this will be an annual event. It is an excellent opportunity for students to learn about different careers.

Careers at Key Stage 3

Throughout Year 7 and 8, we give students information to learn about different future pathways, including University. We deliver this through a range of workshops as well as tasks in LIFE lessons.

Students choose their GCSE options in Year 8 at Oaks Park High School and we fully support students as they make their choices. Our 13+ Options Evening in early May gives parents/carers and students a chance to visit the different subject areas. Subject work is on display and students who are already taking the courses are on hand to provide an insight. In the run up to this evening, we give students a wealth of information about the subjects on offer via the tutor programme, assemblies and LIFE lessons.

Careers at Key Stage 4

A full programme of interviews with our independent adviser starts at the end of Year 10 and continues into Year 11. The data collected from interviews, combined with information about proposed destinations obtained from all students, results in a clear picture about Post 16 intentions and supports students with their future plans.

We ask students to complete a Next Steps review questionnaire during Year 11, which enables us to keep track of their Post 16 plans and ensure that a Next Steps interview is arranged if necessary. Tutors, the Year Team and the SENCO can refer students to the adviser.

Students also participate in workshops provided by different Universities including Surrey University and Kingston University. These workshops cover a range of topics including learning about University, apprenticeships, skill sessions and preparing for a job.

Throughout KS4, students have a range of LIFE lessons where they learn about different career paths, career opportunities and financial wellbeing to help prepare them for their future after Oaks Park High School. The aim is to ensure they are well-rounded individuals who have all the information they need to choose the right path.

Preparation for Work Experience week starts in Year 9 so that students have plenty of time to find the placement of their choice. Students then work at their chosen placement for a week in the Summer term of Year 10. We encourage students to find their own placements, with help and support from the Work Experience Coordinator, the Year Team and Tutors. We provide a full programme of work-related activities during tutor time and special assemblies give students the information they need to successfully secure a placement. Tutor group sessions and the LIFE programme focus on work experience in the Spring term, prior to students attending their placement. They learn about the skills they can use in their placement, types of questions they can ask, use of social media whilst at work and appropriate dress code. Students are debriefed when they return to school, during which they evaluate their placements in their LIFE lessons.

Careers at KS5

Students receive excellent advice and guidance on potential careers through the Tutor programme, assemblies, career events, individual support and access to the Next Steps Adviser. We give support with UCAS statements and applications for apprenticeships or other employment. Students also recieve resources linked to careers via the newsletter each week, and opportunties are shared via tutor time and Google classroom e.g. webinars delivered by universities about different subjects or by different professionals such as solicitors.

We make excellent use of Unifrog, the award-winning online platform which helps students make intelligent choices about their futures. Oaks Park High School subscribes to both Unifrog services: 'Unifrog for Universities', and 'Unifrog for Apprenticeships'. Both services allow students to use data to decide which route to choose after school, help students avoid common decision-making mistakes and enable teachers to track where their students are in making their choices. Unifrog makes it easy for students to use multiple data points to compare individual university courses and apprenticeships. Students can access Unifrog throughout Post 16 and it is regularly built in to tutor time so they can make the most out of this amazing resource.

Throughout the year, students from Year 12 & 13 are encouraged to take part in exciting opportunities such as the Study Skills workshop from Kingston University, Post 18 option workshops and off-site visits, including the UK University Search fair, Oxbridge event at Sandown Racecourse and the National Apprenticeship Show. Students also have opportunities to learn about career paths from visiting speakers. They also attend workshops with speakers linked to University and UCAS to ensure they are fully prepared to complete their University application and UCAS statement.

Year 12 take part in a week of work experience during the Summer term. Preparation starts early in Year 12 to ensure all students have plenty of time to find a placement. It is a great opportunity for all students to find a placement linked to the career in which they are interested. It also allows them to deveop skills and seeing what it is like to be out in the world of work, Students are supported through tutor time on how to apply for placements and to ensure it is a successful placement.

Apprenticeship support

The London Borough of Sutton Apprenticeship Hub is aimed at all local teachers, students, parents/carers and businesses and is run by a team of apprentices, who are very keen to inspire other young people to get involved and get ahead. It is designed to help people aged 16+, who have left or are due to leave secondary education, make the right decisions about their next steps. The hub can also support parents/carers, teachers and employers, helping everyone to understand the benefits of apprenticeships in Sutton and its surrounding areas.


Information and resources for parents:

You may find these links useful for more information on how you can support your child with their next steps after school:

Success at School, Parents and Carers ebook

Not Going to Uni

Parental Guidance – Careers information and advice from the Careers Writers Association

Useful websites: - Advice for students on careers Careers information aimed at 16-24 year olds Job profiles, planning tools and more. - National apprenticeship service – Search for jobs by sector or location, CV builder and checker. - Post 16 Options