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College & Careers

Careers Contact:

Careers Coordinator: Miss K Quinn
Telephone: 02380269722


Work Experience

Work Experience is an integral part of our school careers programme and usually takes place during the first week of Year 11.  Students are encouraged to take full responsibility for their placement, although support is available, contacting potential employers, writing personal statements and application letters during Year 10.
Work Experience is well received by the vast majority of our students and there have been some outstanding placements over the years.  This usually helps our students to be informed about possible future careers, although in some cases this has had the opposite effect!
All of our placements receive a full risk assessment through our Education Business Partners and we have been supported by a wide variety of local and national companies in providing this opportunity.

Careers Curriculum at Thornden

Year 7

Students in Year 7 have 3 dedicated careers lessons to start them on their careers journey.  They consider their own skills, interests, and hobbies and how those can be converted into careers.  They also spend time browsing the multitude of careers resources available to them as they progress through the school. The students create an account on the careers software programme (Kudos) we have invested in, which they can update as they add to their qualifications, interests, and experience. As information is added, the program is able to provide more tailored guidance and advice.

Year 8

In Year 8 students continue to have 3 lessons dedicated to their careers education.  They update Kudos with any changes or additional information they can now provide, having completed a full year at secondary school.  Students will be guided through the option choice process in preparation for Year 9 when these decisions are formalised.  They have time to review courses and discuss the different choices and their links to future careers of interest, so they feel fully prepared for the decisions to be made.  The final lesson in Year 8 provides the students with the opportunity to consider ‘jobs of the future’.  What will they be? What skills will they require? How can students’ future-proof themselves? The world is changing very quickly, and our students need to take this into consideration when making their career choices.

Year 9

Students start the options process with an assembly explaining the procedure and they will then be provided with talks from each of the subjects they have not yet had the opportunity to study, so they can understand each of the choices available to them.  They will be provided with guidance from their tutors and there will be a parent/carer evening where information and guidance can be provided by the subject specialist teachers.

To support students with the options process and to enable them to make the right decisions for themselves, the tutor programme in the Spring term starts with a careers unit.  Students start to think about the range of careers, industries and roles available to them.  They will research local colleges and courses to see the entry requirements for the college and the individual courses.  They will also research apprenticeships and higher education, including degree classifications and other course options, to ensure the students have a full picture of career opportunities and pathways available to them.  Students are also encouraged to update their Kudos profile with any new interests, hobbies and qualifications, so the feedback provided continues to adapt and update to their changing situation.

Year 10

As part of the Personal Development rotation, Year 10 have a 6-week programme focussing on their personal career path.  They begin with researching local colleges and a range of courses available to them, including the most recently introduced T-Level qualifications.  They also investigate apprenticeships and how that route into a career compares to the traditional solely academic path.  Work experience is a key part of careers decisions so students spend time researching and contacting companies they would like to work for to see if that is a suitable option for them and their futures. They continue to update Kudos with their latest interests, qualifications and preferences and are provided with more increasingly personalised and detailed feedback.  In the summer term students are able to visit local colleges for taster days, enabling them to trial the subjects they are interested in, to confirm or amend their current career thoughts. The 2 main local colleges Thornden students attend will also provide assemblies explaining what is on offer at their establishments, the open evenings available and the application process overall. Students will also be offered a one-to-one careers interview with a qualified Careers Advisor.  Those who are not seen in Year 10 will be seen in Year 11.  Some students may have more than one interview if they have any issues they wish to clarify. In the last week of term, the whole year group take part in an Enterprise Day challenge.  In groups, students are given a range of activities to complete around a central theme, for example designing a new product for a local enterprise or creating a new music festival.  The students build skills such as teamwork, communication, leadership, organisation and co-ordination. 

Year 11

The year 11 students start their final year in school with a week of work experience. They get to experience a work environment and develop professional and transferable skills they can take with them into their next steps.  On their return to school, the first 4 weeks of assemblies will be from a range of local colleges reminding them what their establishments have to offer, inviting them to open events and explaining the application process and deadlines.   Their Personal Development sessions continue with a 4-week programme based around completing their personal statements and applications.  They consider their options beyond college and/or advanced level apprenticeships by investigating university courses and degree level apprenticeships.  They establish the requirements of these options and ensure they are taking the right next steps to help them reach these longer-term goals. As the students are approaching the age where they will have more part time job options available to them, we spend some time looking at young workers rights regarding pay and hours and we start to consider the elements of professionalism that are required in the workplace but also as they start to take more responsibility for their own education and career pathway. Those who did not have a one-to-one careers interview in Year 10 will be allocated one in Year 11. Students will sign up for Welcome Days at the local colleges they have applied to so they can once again get a feel for the college/s and establish which would be their preference, once they have their final GCSE results.