Verity Hadden in front of painting

Developing your careers strategy

How Teach First's Careers Leader programme improved careers provision in a London secondary school

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Developing your careers strategy

Verity Hadden, Head of History at St George’s Catholic School in London, joined Teach First’s Careers Leader Programme to learn how to develop a careers strategy and embed it across the school. Here’s her story.

“When I took on the role of Careers Leader, we didn’t have a school-wide strategy for our careers provision. Different departments were doing some great initiatives, but there was little cohesion or shared language across them. Our school community’s demographic is varied, and so is the interest in and engagement with careers.

I’ve been able to connect with other people and organisations that can help me deliver on our careers strategy.

The Careers Leader Programme has been incredibly helpful in several ways. The whole programme is about developing and evaluating your school’s careers strategy, so I’ve been able to make sure that my school is meeting the standards for what great careers education should look like, in line with the Gatsby Benchmarks. I’ve also benefitted from a huge range of ideas from others on the programme already doing great things in this area. And it’s meant that I’ve been able to connect with other people and organisations that can help me deliver on our careers strategy.

Every single week I bring in a different type of employer to meet the pupils.

The programme has already had a tangible impact on the school and our pupils. For example, we’ve got our weekly Careers Club, where every single week I bring in a different type of employer to meet the pupils. The pupils who attend have become so much more confident in talking to adults and asking them meaningful questions about their careers. Another big impact has been our provision of experiences of the workplace tailored to different groups of pupils. For example, we’ve got many children interested in a career in the financial sector; through the programme I’ve been able to set up several different paid work experience programmes for them.

The Senior Leadership Team and staff are hearing about what I’m doing and seeing the impact on the young people. It feels like our careers strategy is much more embedded across the school.

The programme has meant that our careers provision is being spoken about more and more across the whole school. More pupils – at A level in particular - are going out and looking for work experience. They’re asking more questions about the kind of careers they want to pursue and what they need to do to get there. And it’s not only the pupils – the Senior Leadership Team and staff are hearing about what I’m doing and seeing the impact on the children. It feels like our careers strategy is much more embedded across the school.

For anyone considering the programme, I would say don’t worry about whether you have just stepped into the role or whether you’ve been in the role for ten years. This programme will help you to make sure that you are working strategically and delivering the best careers provision you can for your school.”

Every child deserves the support to reach a destination that matches their potential. To find out how your school could benefit from free careers training for middle to senior leaders, visit our Careers Leader Programme web page.

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