Careers & Work Experience

Welcome to the careers section of our website.

‘School leaders go ‘above and beyond’ to ensure that all pupils have access to impartial careers advice. Pupils have access to a coherent programme to build their knowledge, skills and competencies.’ Ofsted 2017

At Brine Leas School, our aim is to help students to choose a career that is right for them. We are fully committed to careers education and guidance (CEG) for all of our students and evaluate our practice against the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Benchmarks. CEG is an integral part of our provision for all students and it is taught within the PSHE (Personal Social Health and Education) curriculum within all key stages, although there is some cross-over into subjects. For further details on how careers information is integrated into the school please select the link below; this careers plan is supplemented by additional activities throughout the year.

All students are entitled to independent and impartial advice and guidance. This could be via a designated website, careers events or an interview with a form tutor or our dedicated in-house Work Related Learning Co-ordinator.

Our Work Related Learning Co-ordinator is a registered member of the Career Development Institute (CDI). She supports Years 8-13 students by: facilitating access to careers matching software; provide support and advice with application forms, CV’s and interview preparation; inform students on post-16 educational institutions, including Sixth Form and local colleges, training providers and apprenticeships; support University & UCAS applications; inform students on applying for paid or voluntary work; and facilitate work experience placements and work placements. This support is available to students even after they have left us.

Our students also receive support in making decisions for their future education and careers from parents/carers. CASCAID have produced a useful guide for parents to support their child through to making the right decisions.

The qualifications available to students are changing. There are many qualifications available to suit students who have different ways of learning.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

Year 9 is an important year for students; they get to choose which subjects and qualifications to study within Key Stage 4, albeit the academic traditional GCSE qualifications or the revised rigorous vocational qualifications of Technical Awards. This is the first opportunity that they get to make decisions that may affect their future career. Our students are thoroughly prepared for this during their PSHE lessons, assemblies, informal information advice and guidance session with their form tutor, options evening and careers convention.

It is important for students to choose the right courses as they can: determine the sixth form that they go to; determine the qualifications that a student may take at Level 3; be used to assess if a student is suitable for a particular course at University; or affect the career a student is suitable for in the future.

Key Stage 4 (Year 10-11)

As soon as their GCSEs and Technical Awards are under-way students begin to look towards the next transition in their lives. PSHE lessons and assemblies are used to inform students of their choices post-16. Their choices are: full time study in a school, college or training provider; an apprenticeship, traineeship or supported internship; or full time or volunteering (20 hours or more) combined with part time accredited study.

To assist with this process, students take part in a mock interview in year 10 or year 11. They complete an application form and CV and are then interviewed by a local employer or employee who has been kind enough to give up their time to help our students.

Later in their courses, students take part in an experience of the workplace. We are commited to enabling students to have first-hand experiences of the workplace to help their exploration of career opportunities; to develop their self-confidence and personal skills; and to learn from employers about work and the range of skills that are valued with in the workplace. For year 11, this could be through undertaking a work visit, work shadowing or volunteering. It does not need to involve a week long work experience. Therefore, given the impoacts on learning through school closure and COVID-19, we enable year 11 students to have a one-day experience of a workplace in January. The day is flexible to ensure greater feasibility with parents/carers and employees.

Finally, Year 11 students begin to think about and choose which subjects and qualifications to study within Key Stage 5. A typical student who opts for the academic A level route undertakes 3 A levels along with an additional qualification such as STEP Mathematics, Core Mathematics, and the Extended Project Qualification. If a student did not achieve a grade 4 or above in English or maths at GCSE, they are required to continue to study these subjects regardless of the pathway that they have chosen.

At this stage students also make a decision upon which place they would like to study. This may be Brine Leas Sixth Form or it may be a Sixth Form College or Further Education College within our vicinity. In the past, our students have gone on to study at a range of institutions, including, Malbank Sixth Form, Sir John Dean’s College, Reaseheath College, Sandbach High School, The Grange, LIPA and Cheshire College South (formerly South Cheshire College in addition to Brine Leas Sixth Form.

‘Every young person will be presented with two choices after the age of 16: an academic route, traditionally via A levels and university, leading to graduate jobs, and a technical route for those seeking to gain the technical knowledge and skills required for entering skilled employment.’ (Careers Strategy, December 2017). Currently, there are a wide range of vocational qualifications as shown on the link above. However, there are changes afoot with the introduction of T Levels which, together with Apprenticeships, will provide a high quality technical experience for young people.

T Levels are a high quality technical route for young people. They include an industry placement and give students the knowledge and practical skills needed to progress into skilled employment or higher levels of technical training. First teaching of T Levels will begin September 2020 with the first three pathways: construction (building, services, engineering pathway); digital (software applications design pathway); and childcare and education (education pathway).

Further information can be found on the Post-16 Options page of the careers area of the website.

Key Stage 5 (Year 12-13)

‘Students are well informed about the world of work, including participating in work experience. They receive very good careers guidance and support.’ Ofsted 2017

During sixth form, Brine Leas students receive a wealth of information on higher education, apprenticeships and careers opportunities.

Throughout Year 12 and Year 13, students have careers talks and feature talks that can include: employability workshops, studying abroad, alternatives to higher education, working abroad, gap years, CV writing, UCAS, student finance, or apprenticeships and work experience.

During Year 12 students participate in higher education days which includes visits to two contrasting universities; and they attend the UCAS and apprenticeship conventions. They are encouraged to attend Higher Education open days and our post-18 Information Evening, and students are supported through the university (UCAS) application process. An important part of Year 12 is their work experience enrichment activity. All students find their own placement in a career sector that relevant to their studies or future career, although this is often supplemented with work experience activities throughout the year.

In Year 13 students continue to research their next step and attend visits and interviews for universities, colleges, apprenticeships or work.

At any time sixth form students can request an interview and help our Work Related Learning Co-ordinator.