The Y11s have left, the Y13s have gone. Time to put your feet up? Not quite.
If you’re involved in career guidance or careers leadership in schools or colleges, the summer term might well include some time for reflection: analysing student feedback, reviewing activities and pondering what worked the previous year.
The cycle of supporting students never really stops but, as one year ends and the new academic year approaches, thoughts inevitably turn to the future. It’s a great time to take stock and prepare for the onslaught of September.
Try our checklist to get things started.
How did we do?
How effective was the careers provision for your students last year? Asking students what worked (and what didn’t) requires a bit of courage and a thick skin, but often throws up some interesting responses. If you don’t ask, you really don’t know what they got out of the activities.
While you’re at it, it’s worth finding out what parents, teaching staff and employer contacts think too. Just make sure you’re prepared to act on any constructive feedback.
Developing employer links
Growing your school or college’s network of employers is essential to ensure plenty of meaningful employer or workplace encounters for every student.
Where to start? Start local. Put a request out to parents, school staff (and their contacts), and local businesses. If you need some help, make sure you use the services of your local Enterprise Adviser Network.
Checking careers education
Now is a great time to check that any careers education resources are engaging and up to date. The CDI Framework for Careers, Employability and Enterprise Education provides a useful outline to support the planning, delivery and evaluation of careers education. This can be your guide as you review what’s in place.
Does anyone out there renew their subscription to careers software in a bit of a rush each year? Take the time to consider the following: is it used, is it good-value, is it the best option for your students? While you’re evaluating existing resources, you could also have a browse of any new resources you might be able to incorporate.
Are you confident that all your policies are up-to-date? The Technical and Further Education Act 2017 became law in April. Look out for the Baker clause which requires schools to open their doors to a range of education and training providers. Schools have to produce a policy statement setting out how external providers will be given access to students to inform them about technical education and apprenticeships.
Meeting the standards
Whether you’re at the very beginning of your journey or you’ve achieved the Quality in Careers Standard, you’ll need to make time to review readiness or check progress.
If you’re at the start of the process, you can find out more about the criteria and how to get started at www.qualityincareers.org.uk.
If you’re already in possession of the standard, check when re-validation will be required and ensure that you continue to maintain or develop your provision.
Beating the benchmarks
Whatever you’ve got planned for 2017-2018, don’t forget about the eight benchmarks of good career guidance. You could use Compass, a self-evaluation tool, to understand how your school’s provision matches up to the model of good practice.
And once all that’s done with, you really do deserve to put your feet up.
Then you can look forward to how prepared you’ll feel when September arrives.
Blog written by Cerys Evans, independent careers adviser and writer.