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 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. 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 and present their findings.
Each girl also participates in Futurewise Psychometric Profiling which gives her an insight into the many career options she can follow in her desired field. This support will continue throughout school and beyond, up to the age of 23.
In V Senior, girls receive two individual interviews with detailed career planning, 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 given by a representative from Inspiring Futures.
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 school can help if necessary.
All pupils at this stage are provided with individual planning sessions with the careers department, and they are also offered help with personal statements and encouraged to complete their UCAS forms timeously.
As well as this support, each girl is given an individual mock interview with an outside interviewer. Any girl who has an interview for a university course is offered additional interviews. Girls interested in medicine, nursing and physiotherapy will also be offered a mock MMI (multiple mini interview).
St Margaret’s is a member of Inspiring Futures and all IV Senior pupils are enrolled in their Student Scheme. Membership provides support and advice from Inspiring Futures up to the age of 23. Pupils in IV Senior take the Futurewise psychometric aptitude and ability tests. A detailed report is then produced which highlights strengths and aptitudes and suggests careers to be considered and explored further. A ‘whole year’ feed back session is followed by individual interviews with a member of Inspiring Futures to go over the report and suggest further action.
There is also a parents' information evening to explain the process and implications of this Futurewise test.
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.