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Developing a whole school approach to career education

In her time working as Career Leader and Deputy Head at St Ives School, Mel transformed  the school  approach to Career Education.  Her work has been underpinned by the strategic direction of the school’s two Enterprise Advisors (EA) with support from the Enterprise Coordinator (EC) at the Careers Hub. Together with Mel, they have developed a strategy to adopt a whole school approach.  Projects such as the student ambassador scheme and Crew Changemakers are good examples of positive impact. Rowena Swallow, Director of Bayspace St Ives, co-author of St Ives Local Economy Plan and is a Board Member of West Cornwall Local Advisory Group, and St Ives Town Deal, has been influential to the school’s success that is led by its local community.

The Crew Changemakers’ Programme shares and uses practices to engage pupils with unifying, cross-curricular themes. This involves the imaginative use of space and resources, and ever-closer links between the school and community to connect learning to pupils’ lived experiences beyond the classroom and to enhances pupils’ acquisition of key skills, sense of societal balance and related ethical challenges. It is inclusive and developed within a collaborative environment utilising the student voices.

Engaging and meeting employer needs has been a central objective to all of their work.  There is a real emphasis on clear communication and building relationships with employers. They send aims and outcomes for all events which has supported the schools’ impact evaluation framework with everyone knowing in advance what the event aims to achieve. Thus, it can be measured accordingly. For example, in a recent careers carousel event, 24 out of 25 employers attended the event which is a fantastic.  Following the event 100% of the employers said they would be happy to come back to the school to support further events. Comments from employers include ‘superb school and wonderful students, happy to help out any time’. Businesses were impressed in the level of preparation the school had implemented in preparing the students for the event

Mel’s leadership comes from her real passion for careers.  She has fully utilised the resource provided by the Careers Hub and the CEC to develop a solid strategy led by research into their current state analysis. The strategy has three core areas that have shorter (2021-2022) and longer-term objectives (until 2025).  These are:

Promote and increase careers across the curriculum in all year groups

Increase tracking of student careers involvement-student centred via Career Pilot

Develop a programme of employee/employer encounters to inspire and motivate pupils

Deliver a whole-school approach to careers

The Careers Hub Cornwall and Isles of Scilly have witnessed a dramatic shift in their provision as a direct result of their strategy.