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Summerhill School new careers teacher gains award

19 July 2013

This school has consistently met the high standards required of Gold Standard Quality Award holders over a number of years. One of the “duties” of a Gold Award holder is a commitment to share good practice with others. The careers postholder is an engaging public speaker and was happy to share her careers and quality award experiences with a group of newly appointed staff attending an Introduction to Careers Work course. She described how she took over from a highly respected careers teacher who, unfortunately, wrote down very little – so her first task was to audit current provision by interviewing her predecessor.

She quickly latched onto the fact that the Quality Award (known at the time as the Black Country Quality Award) would be an ideal vehicle to help her to record, justify and assess the changes she had planned over short, medium and the longer term. As it turned out, changes followed the pattern of the units of the award – starting with a Mission Statement – to raise the profile of careers and make a professional impact, a revamp of the policy and a concerted PR campaign to improve awareness of careers with students and parents. She also made sure that she read and fully understood her job description. Having completed those tasks, she found that she had more or less gathered everything she needed for the first unit of the award and everything else flowed from there.

Among the many positive points highlighted by the Accreditation Board over the years have been; whole-school approach to CEIAG which clearly meets the principles of impartial careers work and which includes very good support from senior managers and synergy between careers and work-related learning, individual IAG from all staff, with the PA’s work well-embedded in the school, a dynamic co-ordinator with a drive for continuous improvement, a culture of listening to, and responding to, students, good physical resources for CEIAG, including 2 Learning Resource Centres with the Careers/Connexions base in one, interview rooms, excellent ICT access and a wide range of experiences to broaden students’ horizons and encourage raised aspirations.

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