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Careers and University Guidance

Strong Careers and University Guidance is fundamental for our students in the progressive world of work, where the concept of a career for life has changed. New degree courses and careers have emerged rapidly in recent years and prospects for 2030 indicate that this expansion will increase even more dramatically. Career motivation is clearly linked to promoting academic progress and we are proud to support a strong programme from ages 11-18 through our Careers and Guidance, university preparation, PSHE and enrichment programmes, supported by the subjects’ academic curricula and our clubs and societies.

Stephen Perse Careers and Guidance TalksThese programmes are greatly strengthened by real world examples and experience, with students hearing directly from people in different roles and fields, often alumni and other members of the Stephen Perse Foundation family. We particularly welcome support in the following areas. Please contact the Director of Development and Communications for an initial discussion if you are able to help in any of these areas.


Careers and Guidance Talks: Years 10 and 11

Audience: students, aged 15 and 16, in the initial stages of considering career options.

Purpose: to ensure students are aware of the wide range of new and traditional career and post-16 possibilities.

Timing: term-time.

Format: 25-30 minute presentation, with 5-10 minutes for questions. We ask presenters to share the content of their talk with us in advance, so that we can support students in thinking about the questions they would like answered on this topic and in understanding how this career option links to their curriculum.


Sixth Form Speaker Series: Years 12 and 13

Audience: students, aged 17 and 18.

Purpose: to introduce students to new concepts and perspectives beyond the curriculum, challenging preconceptions and exploring the multi-disciplinary nature of many career paths. These talks highlight the variety of career routes and promote independent research on these as students consider their university applications and training opportunities.

Timing: term-time lunchtimes.

Format: Sessions last 45 minutes, with a 30-35 minute presentation and 10-15 minutes for questions and discussion. Six events are held each academic year, each one open to the whole sixth form. They are held at lunchtime and the students enjoy a packed lunch during the event. We ask speakers to present for a general audience and to cover the various stages of their careers and to address any common misconceptions about their field and its access routes, both traditional and less conventional.


Subject-based talks: Years 12 and 13

Audience: students, aged 17 and 18

Purpose: to discuss a career route, or current research interests and projects, in more detail for a specific audience.

Timing: term-term, after school.

Format: these are after-school sessions lasting 45 minutes, typically beginning at 3.45pm, with a 30-35 minute presentation and 10-15 minutes for questions and discussion.


Work Experience, or Work Awareness

Audience: students, aged 15-17

Purpose: to offer a greater understanding of the work involved in a particular role or career path.

Timing: outside school hours, or during holidays.

Format: Work experience, or work awareness, changed and developed substantially during the COVID pandemic restrictions and subsequent expansion of virtual opportunities. It remains one of the most highly-valued experiences that our students can gain. Opportunities can range from a few hours of work shadowing or discussion in the workplace, to active engagement over days or weeks. Full support is offered by our designated work experience coordinator. Our dedicated Unifrog work experience programme facilitates correspondence between a named member of your organisation and the school, including provision of and support for safeguarding, insurance, preparation for and reflection on the placement. Students are expected to undertake work experience outside school hours, either after school, at weekends, or during the holidays. Initial expressions of interest are encouraged to explore how we can support your engagement in this programme.


Mock Interviews

Audience: students, aged 17-18

Purpose: to help students practise for university and other course application interviews.

Timing: November, annually

Format: Students have access to interview preparation through subject-specific university and extension co-curricular sessions. The ability to practise this for 20-minutes with someone other than a teacher has noticeable advantages. Interviewers do not need to be currently engaged with undergraduate education or currently interviewing for work purposes to play a role - questions can be provided and practice interviews can be online or in-person. You will interview only in the subject areas that you have offered (e.g. History, Economics). Interviews are typically 20 minutes and you would be asked to interview no more than four students (often fewer). All interviewers are accompanied by a member of staff for safeguarding reasons and whilst informal feedback is welcome, there is no expectation of any formal or written feedback from you after the event.


Careers and Guidance Day

Audience: Year 12 students, aged 16-17

Purpose: to offer a greater understanding of the work involved in a particular role or career path.

Timing: April/May, annually

Format: A full weekday each year for students to hear from and network with university, alumni and employer representatives. This operates as a hybrid model with some in-person and some remote sessions, covering university and training courses and different career options from a range of perspectives, with speakers including alumni, family members, university and employer representatives. The day incorporates plenary sessions with university representatives for the whole year group; 30-minute subject and career-specific breakout interactive sessions, where parents and alumni share their relevant experience in person or online; and in-person networking opportunities. We value participation from Foundation courses, Degree Apprenticeships, Universities and local employers.