UCAS and Careers
The aim of Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance at Harris Westminster Sixth Form is to expose students to a wide range of opportunities for their next steps, ensuring that students who study here are open-minded about their education and careers, and are exceptionally well prepared for the next steps without developing a merely transactional relationship with their education. Harris Westminster Sixth Form students are taught to follow their passions, and value opportunities sometimes precisely because they don’t know where they will lead them.
We focus on the Gatsby benchmarks to ensure that students receive good career guidance:
- A stable careers programme
- Learning from career and labour market information
- Addressing the needs of each pupil
- Linking curriculum learning to careers
- Encounters with employers and employees
- Experiences of workplaces
- Encounters with further and higher education
- Personal guidance
In addition to these benchmarks, the provider access legislation (occasionally referred to as the 'Baker Clause') requires all schools and academies to provide opportunities for a range of education and training providers to access all year 8 to 13 pupils to inform them about approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships. The careers programme outlined ensures that Harris Westminster Sixth Form complies with the school’s legal obligations under Section 42B of the Education Act 1997.
Roles and responsibilities
The Careers Lead at Harris Westminster Sixth Form is Mr. James Johnson. Mr. Johnson can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the main academy reception on 0203 772 4555.
The Careers Team is also supported by Mr. James O’Riordan, Careers and Universities Lead, as well as Mr. Richard Greenberg, Oxbridge, Medical, Dentistry, Veterinary Lead. Students at Harris Westminster Sixth Form are all given the chance to work with highly experienced Careers Advisors, Ms. Linda Gibbens and Ms. Natalie Phillips, who work across the federation. They offer bespoke and personalised careers guidance and advice. Students across year groups have access to careers advisers, through 1:1 interviews at some point before the end of Year 12.
This academic year, at the end of Half Term 1, students were invited to complete a careers survey for us to have a more accurate picture of their career aspirations and support them more effectively. This information allows us to learn more about the needs of each student, and to give robust personal guidance based on emerging trends in our cohort and the labour market.
Post-18 Options in the School Day
The following events and activities are part of the school day at Harris Westminster Sixth Form, and ensure that students are consistently exposed to a range of options and opportunities for after their time at Sixth Form.
Every Tuesday, students can attend a lecture given by guest speakers drawn from a wide range of sectors, including academic employment. In this way, students have opportunities to encounter employers and further and higher education providers.
Whole School Assemblies
Every Monday, students attend assemblies which emphasise skills such as teamwork, resilience, lifelong learning, time management and leadership as well as critical values such as including integrity, emotional intelligence, diversity and inclusion. There is regular promotion of the opportunities that HWSF offer beyond the curriculum, and the value of taking these opportunities.
All students participate in academic societies, and must present to their peers about topics beyond the A-Level curriuclum. In doing so, they develop their skills in communication, initiative, critical thinking and leadership, and make links between their academic subjects and the real world, whether that be employment or further academic study.
Extracurricular Clubs and Student Leadership
All students are encouraged to set up their own clubs and societies, and so develop leadership, management and organisation skills that employers value. Outside of these, students are encouraged to put themselves forward for leadership roles, such as the Library Committee, the Sports Committee, House leadership and the Senate. All of these leadership roles have an application process including a formal interview
Cultural Perspectives (Y12 only)
Some of the Cultural Perspectives programmes are linked to careers and employment (e.g. Art for Scientists, Quantum Chemistry, Introduction to Plasma Physics, Impact of Computer Software, Financial Markets etc.) and all of them require the students to develop skills such as critical thinking, personal development, and lifelong learning.
Goldman Sachs Mentoring
Students can apply for 1:1 mentoring from employees of Goldman Sachs, giving them bespoke support, guidance, and encounters with potential employers in extraordinary depth. As with student leadership, there is a competitive application process which gives students practice for the world of work.
Opportunities of the Week
Every week, our Careers Lead Mr. O’Riordan compiles work experience and other opportunities such as essay competitions and external lectures to share with students.
In the student portal, there is a student generated bank of work experience and other super-curricular opportunities for other students to explore. This was a phenomenal piece of work put together by one of our student senators to support his peers.
Our PSHCE curriculum covers the theme ‘Living in the Wider World – UCAS' in Year 12, and ‘Post-18 pathways’, ‘Living in the Wider World’ and ‘Preparing for University’ in Year 13.
Support for applications to UK Universities
All students are assigned a UCAS mentor, who is a teacher at the school and who provides them with bespoke guidance around their choices, personal statements, and access to contextual offers. In addition to this, there is a specific UCAS-focused lab lecture in Year 12, to guide students through the process of applying to university, and introducing them to Unifrog, which is made available to all students.
In addition to this provision, students applying for Oxford, Cambridge and Medical and Veterinary degree courses are offered support in preparing for the application process through mock admissions tests, mock interviews, and University Preparation Classes, which both help demystify entrance examinations and help students expand their hinterlands to really stand out in interviews.
Support for access and applications to Degree Level Apprenticeships
As part of our plan for improving Careers provision in 2023-24, the school is trying to cultivate more deliberate links with local employers who offer information and guidance about Degree Level Apprenticeships. In Half Tern 1, over 50 students attended Degree Apprenticeship Insight Days at both Baringa and Goldman Sachs, with more planned in the coming months.
Students thinking of applying for Degree Level Apprenticeships have the opportunity to work with the Apprenticeship Advantage programme, and are offered bespoke advice and interview practice through our Sports Coordinator Peter Croucher, whose expertise in industry is invaluable.
Support for applications to overseas universities
Students are given information about overseas applications, particularly for U.S universities, in Year 12. This October, for example, representatives from Columbia and Princeton Universities gave a lecture about the application process for American universities, comparing it to that for UCAS.
Students are also signposted to the Sutton Trust’s American application programme, and successful applicants to this in Year 13 introduce this to their peers in Year 12 via a lecture. Once applicants to overseas universities are identified, the school supports students applying through writing Common App references, providing academic transcripts and school context sheets.
Support to increase provider access
Part of the school’s plan to improve careers provision at HWSF is to develop more deliberate links with employers post 18, and to help ensure that we have a more robust picture of the career aspirations of all students to be more effective in ‘match-making’ students with employer and university talks that are interesting to them. We already have strong links with a range of employers, such as Baringa Consulting, Lazard Asset Management, and Goldman Sachs.
Links with higher education providers
As well as encountering higher-education providers through Lab Lectures, the school gives all students the opportunity to learn about a wide range of higher education providers through other avenues as well. We have run trips to UK universities – notably to Oxbridge – but are looking to widen the range of these for 2023-24. Additionally, all students are invited to lectures from representatives of a wide range of UK universities, for them to promote universities that students do not typically apply for. In Half Term 2, for example, students will have the chance to attend lectures by the Admissions Officers of Exeter University and Queen’s Belfast, for them to promote scholarships and contextual offers to attract students to their institutions.
Harris Westminster Sixth Form actively cultivates links with its alumni, who are doing a wide range of exciting things. As well as using this network for bespoke advice for students who may need it – for example, because they are thinking of following a path that one of our alumni are pursuing – we hold an annual Alumni Careers Fair. Here, students get the chance to network with alumni and learn more about their career journeys, but this also allows alumni from different year groups to network with each other.
Work Related Learning – Self Find Work Experience
We encourage students to seek out suitable work experience placements that best suit their interests. Employers across the country are welcoming back young people on work placements. The best way to do this is for students to make full use of their network, and follow up the many work experience opportunities that come through our weekly ‘Opportunities of the Week’ emails. In addition, one of our priorities for improvement this year is to actively identify students who have not managed to find work experience to guide them towards finding this in their vacation between Year 12 and Year 13.
Our students go on to a range of exciting opportunities after leaving Harris Westminster Sixth Form. See the information below for a more detailed breakdown.
|Type||Places 2023||Places 2022|
|Russell Group Universities||177||189|
|Degree Level Apprenticeships||11||2|
How can parents and carers help?
We are always looking to generate opportunities for our students, so they are better equipped to enter their chosen future pathways. Can you, or someone you know, support with our work-related learning programme of events this coming year? This could be help with work experience, career talks, networking events, mock interviews or any other support that would be of value to students. If so, please contact us via email at email@example.com
Labour Market Information and useful links