"The teacher’s support to every girl in St Margaret’s is something I have witnessed throughout my years here, but most prevalently, in the upper Senior School. I am eternally grateful to the teachers who go above and beyond to ensure that every question is answered, every resource is available, and every girl gets the support that they need. This support is surely a huge reason for our excellent examination results."
Head Girl, 2018
A child needs an environment in which she can thrive and develop, in which she can make use of her talents and abilities, with teachers who take the time to get to know her.
St Margaret's Guidance system aims to create a caring and secure environment for all pupils. Guidance is seen as a whole school responsibility. Each pupil has a First Line Guidance Form Teacher who plays a significant role in the pastoral welfare of the girls. The Form Teacher sees the form class regularly each morning and afternoon for registration and during form time. The Form Teacher is able to get to know each pupil and usually stays with the same group for a number of years.
All class teachers are active in getting to know their pupils and monitor their progress in subject areas. Form and class teachers play their part alongside the Head of Guidance, Guidance Team, Deputy Head and Head. A pupil-centred approach is maintained and all staff work together to help pupils to become successful learners within a happy and safe environment.
Well-being is absolutely at the heart of the school's ethos. We firmly believe that it's happy girls who learn best and make the most progress.
The Good Schools Guide
The primary aim of the careers department at St Margaret’s is to encourage girls to ask questions about themselves and to assess their strengths and weaknesses, as well as identifying their interests, abilities and aptitudes. This process is linked to the provision of information and advice to the girls tailored to their needs, both individually and in whole-class situations, to allow them ultimately to make informed career choices.
This is a very important stage for the girls as the subject choices made during this year can have considerable influence on the courses and careers they can take up when they leave school. Girls are given detailed information about the subjects available for study in III Senior onwards in booklet form as well as in periods specifically given over to this topic when subject combinations and specific university requirements are examined. Each pupil in second year has an individual interview with Ms Brown, Head of Careers, to discuss her options in light of her second year exam results and teachers’ recommendations.
In the early part of the spring term, we hold an Information Evening for second year pupils' parents. The Head, Miss Tomlinson, gives a presentation on subject choice and Ms Brown gives a presentation to clarify the requirements of various university courses and professions and outlines the provision of careers support offered by the school. By the time of the II Senior Parents' Evening, later in the term, the pupils are generally confident about making their subject choice; they are encouraged to speak to Miss Tomlinson or Ms Brown if they need further advice. Near the end of II Senior, the girls also participate in an informal team building activity to encourage their creativity, team work and presentation skills in preparation for life beyond school.
III & IV Senior
In III Senior, during their PSE lessons girls are involved in ‘The Real Game’, an inspiring careers-focused game based on the realities of working life.
There is considerable involvement with the careers department in IV Senior. Girls are given guidance to help them decide on subject choices for V Senior during individual interviews with Ms Brown, and there is preparation for the world of work with various talks from professionals throughout the year, focusing on a wide range of career pathways, which are suggested by the girls themselves. We hold two careers days in June which consist of talks and hands-on workshops where the girls have to work together on a variety of team building tasks and present their findings.
Each girl also participates in Morrisby Online Psychometric Profiling which not only provides a personalised career report highlighting strength and aptitudes, but also gives an insight into the many career options she can follow in her desired field. This report is then passed on to our independent careers advisor who will give each girls a 40 minute interview to discuss their career path. Ms Brown, our Head of Careers, also has access to this report and will use it at sequential careers interviews if necessary. The support provided by Morrisby will continue throughout school and beyond and can be revisited and updated at any time in her career.
Girls are also encouraged to make use of the extensive St Margaret’s Careers Website which has a wide range of information from careers talks and presentations from a variety of speakers, useful website and documentation and details on work experience and volunteering opportunities. This is a crucial step for the girls to prepare for her careers journey. It is at this stage that they will learn in more detail about her options beyond school. Each girl’s career path is unique and in order to allow them to make the best choices they need to be equipped with the information. This year they will learn about university opportunities, college routes, apprenticeships, gap years and employment opportunities and the information each girl receives will be tailored to their needs and wants.
In V Senior, girls receive two individual interviews with detailed career planning which build on the extensive careers opportunities they have received in IVS, prior to making option choices for VI Senior.
In the summer term, girls are given help with UCAS applications and advice on personal statements. There is a UCAS day which enables girls to understand the full registration process including a presentation on how to write personal statements and various inspiring talks from guest speakers.
All V Senior girls participate in work experience which involves going into the workplace to get a taste of a career which interests them. Girls are encouraged to arrange this themselves, but this can be discussed further at her careers interviews and help is always available if necessary. Work experience and other career opportunities are posted regularly on the girl’s google classroom and on the extensive careers website. There are also set work experience placements available such as Doctors at Work run by the University of Aberdeen and the Dundee Dental Insight run by the University of Dundee’s School of Dentistry. There are also volunteering opportunities throughout the year which also prove very popular and beneficial.
Girls in VS will also get the opportunity to attend the UCAS Higher Education Exhibition, either virtually or by visiting the exhibition at the University of Aberdeen. Girls are also given the opportunity, if they wish, to have a second careers interview with our independent careers advisor. Girls can request this by emailing Ms Brown.
All pupils at this stage are provided with individual planning sessions with the careers department. At this appointment the girls can build on the information they received on UCAS Day at the end of VS. They are offered help with personal statements, UCAS applications and offered advice for university/college choices as well as looking at other options such as gap years, apprenticeships or employment if appropriate.
As well as this support, each girl is given an individual mock interview with an outside interviewer usually a specialist in the field in which they want to progress to. This is a very worthwhile opportunity and opens a very helpful dialogue between the girls and professionals who are only too willing to support them on their journey. Girls interested in medicine, dentistry, nursing and physiotherapy will also be offered a mock MMI (multiple mini interview) with professionals in their field. Again, this has proved to be an invaluable tool in preparing our girls as not only do they take from it the experience of having sat an MMI but they also receive detailed feedback from all assessors on which they can build and portray their best self at an interview.
The careers library is situated in the senior school library and contains a large range of materials on a wide variety of careers. Prospectuses from universities and colleges are also available as well as UCAS reference books. Girls of any age may access the information during study periods or at break and lunchtimes, and may borrow any book with permission. Parents are also welcome to use this facility. As we move to a more digital era however, the careers website contains a much wider range of information all available at the convenient click of a mouse!
Alina, VI Senior