At Hardenhuish School, we want our young people to have every opportunity to fulfil their future career aspirations. Therefore, we believe it is of paramount importance for students to make informed choices about their next steps when they make choices at 16 or after Sixth Form at 18. To this end, our young people need to have a secure knowledge about their future education, training and employment opportunities together with high quality and impartial advice and guidance to support their progression beyond Hardenhuish.

Preparing students for the world of work and helping with their employability is a key priority for us and we are committed to providing a planned programme of careers education, information, advice and guidance for all students in Years 7-13.  This will include personal guidance, careers focussed SMSCE lessons, curriculum opportunities, work experience, visits to Colleges and Universities, talks by employers, apprenticeship providers and Universities, careers fairs, employability workshops and other career related events.

Key School Careers Events and Activities

All Year Groups

•          SMSCE lessons focussed on careers and next steps

•          Careers focussed lessons throughout the curriculum

•          Successful Lives tutor programme and enrichment days

•          Hardenhuish Careers Fair Week with around 40 employers, apprenticeship providers, Colleges and Universities

•          Regular employer career presentations, workshops and visits through a monthly programme of after school talks open to all year groups and additional talks, trips and clubs organised by curriculum areas

•          STEM Week with employers

•          Careers Adviser one to one appointments

•          Lunchtime careers and work experience drop-ins

•          Dedicated careers office, careers hub and resources in library

•          Tutor mentoring and signposting

•          Alumni network used for careers events and displays showing the destinations of successful alumni

Year 7

•          Apprenticeship Talk

•          Smoothie enrichment day – marketing and product design

•          Zoolab talk (science week)

•          Author and poet talks

Year 8           

•          Apprenticeship Talk

•          Office support assistant role

•          Cluedo enrichment day – forensic science

•          Sustainability/water enrichment day

•          Author and poet talks

•          The Big Bang Careers Fair trip

Year 9           

•          Apprenticeship Talk

•          Options evening

•          STEM enrichment day with employers

•          World War One enrichment day

•          Author and poet talks

Year 10

•          Apprenticeship Talk

•          Work experience

•          WEX parent information evening

•          WIN workshops

•          University trip

•          Wiltshire and Bath College visits

•          WIN & Careerpilot 1 to 1 guidance

Year 11

•          Careers Guidance Meetings

•          ASK Apprenticeships presentation

•          Wiltshire and Bath College presentations

•          WIN interview skills workshops

•          Post-16 Options Parents Evening with ASK apprenticeships

•          Sixth Form Open Evening/ Sixth Form interviews

•          WIN & Careerpilot 1 to 1 guidance

•          Extended work experience for Vocational students

Year 12 and 13

•          Careers Guidance Meetings

•          Y12 work experience

•          Y12 volunteering and enrichment programme

•          Mock interviews with employers

•          Year 12 enterprise day with employers

•          ASK Apprenticeships talk and workshops

•          ASK apprenticeships at Y12 parent information evening

•          UCAS Convention trip

•          University trip

•          Student finance and study abroad presentations

•          Core sessions about post-18 options and UCAS

•          Oxbridge group, application workshop and mock interviews

•          WIN & Careerpilot 1 to 1 guidance

*may not be applicable to the whole year group

We are always looking for volunteers with different careers and backgrounds to help with our careers related events so if you can offer any support or have any other questions, please contact Vicky Brenton, Careers and Transition Manager – Email: Tel: 01249 650693

The Gatsby Benchmarks

The Gatsby Benchmarks are a framework of eight guidelines that define the best careers provision in schools and colleges. They form part of the new statutory guidance relating to careers education, issued by the DfE in 2018 and are overseen by the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC). Hardenhuish are part of the Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub which has been formed to enable schools to share best practice and to ensure that we meet the benchmarks.

The following sections provide a summary of the school’s careers programme in relation to the Gatsby Benchmarks.

Benchmark 1 – A Stable Careers Programme – 100% Achieved

The school has an embedded and stable programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by students, teachers, governors and employers. It has the backing of the SLT and is approved by the board of Governors. It is published on the school website and is reviewed/ monitored every three years. It has information aimed at students, teachers, employers and parents/carers and is evaluated using systematic feedback from these stakeholders. The school has identified a Careers Leader with strategic responsibility for overseeing the careers programme.

The school is part of the CEC Network and the Wiltshire Careers Hub. This enables us to network with other schools and to attend meetings and training events to share best practise and continually improve and develop our careers programme in relation to the Gatsby benchmarks.

Benchmark 2 – Learning from Career & Labour Market Information – 100% Achieved

The school has ensured that every student and their parents have access to good quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities and access to the support of a Careers Adviser to make the best use of this information. All students have used up-to-date career and labour market information to help inform study/career decisions and parents/carers are encouraged to use career path and labour market information to aid the support given to their children. Events are held for parents and carers throughout the school year including careers/future focused parent presentation evenings for Years 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 with attendance and/or presentations by the school Careers Adviser and visiting speakers to talk about work experience and post-16/18 pathways including apprenticeships, College and University.

Good quality careers resources are available to all students via the careers section on the school website, dedicated careers section in the library, careers office and careers hub in A centre and poster displays throughout the school. This includes resources about apprenticeships, university courses, gap years, local labour market information (National Careers Service posters) and job profiles and signposts students to independent advice including the National Careers Service helpline. We also have Alumni displays around the school showing the destinations of successful alumni.

The school actively encourages the use of career research websites including Careerpilot (we are a Careerpilot ‘Super User’ due to the high number of our students using the resource) and Work Wiltshire. These are used during SMSCE lessons to help students decide on and research careers and the qualifications needed for them. 

Benchmark 3 – Addressing the Needs of Each Student – 100% Achieved

The school careers programme seeks to raise the aspirations of all students and to challenge stereotypical thinking. Advice and support is tailored to the needs of each student and records are kept regarding students experience of careers and enterprise experiences to which students have access. Personal guidance sessions with the Careers Advisor are recorded on CPOMS and Careers Action Plans are emailed to students. All students have a work experience diary in Year 10 and access to their career planning and skills mapping on Careerpilot through their individual logins.

Targeted personal guidance is given by the Careers Adviser to all vulnerable and special educational needs and disability (SEND) students with the Careers Adviser inputting to all Annual Reviews from Year 9 upwards. Extended weekly work experience is offered to Year 11 students on the Vocational pathway and additional College visits are also arranged for students where appropriate. The school is also part of the Wessex Inspiration Network (WIN) which aims to encourage young people from specific areas to consider applying to and progressing into higher education with careers focussed workshops delivered to Year 10 and 11 and targeted one to one guidance for some students. Events are also held for other specific groups of students in the school. For example, a successful female Scientist gives a talk entitled ‘People Like Me’ targeted at female students and their mothers.

A destinations survey is completed by all Year 11 and 13 students to track and monitor their next steps. The survey is used to identify Year 11 students at risk of becoming Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) who then receive intensive targeted support from the schools Careers Advisor. If necessary, students at risk of NEET may be referred to Wiltshire’s Integrated Youth Service. We gather and maintain data for each student about their destination when they leave school and share this information with the local authority. When Year 11 and 13 students leave the school, permission is sought to contact them by email to get an update on their destination so that this can be tracked for 3 years via a Microsoft Form.  The CECs Compass Plus tool will also be linked with Arbor and used to track and record both the school and individual students’ careers activities.

Benchmark 4 – Linking Curriculum Learning to Careers – 100% Achieved

Curriculum learning is linked to careers extensively throughout the school and staff are encouraged across the curriculum to explain the links between subject content and vocational learning whenever relevant. Curriculum areas have lessons built into their schemes of work that link the subject to career paths and/or employability skills, lessons that directly teach employability skills, employer engagement activities including visiting speakers, trips and events/ clubs and wall displays linking subjects to careers. For example, politics students visit The House of Commons, local artists deliver workshops for Art students, the Science department take a group of Year 8 students to the Big Bang Careers Fair and the business department take students on a visit to Littelfuse.

Careers education forms an important part of the KS3 and 4 Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education (SMSCE) programme. This includes workshops and talks delivered by external organisations including ASK apprenticeships and Wessex Inspiration Network (WIN) about interview skills. The Successful Lives tutor led programme for all year groups also contains careers and next steps focussed sessions. This is supplemented by additional career and employability related workshops and talks at lunchtime, after school and on cross-curricular days. Specialist resources by Success for Schools’ that include lesson plans and posters linking careers to subjects have been purchased using the school’s career budget and these are being provided to all curriculum areas, along with other ‘free’ resources, including posters that link apprenticeships to each subject and resources on Careerpilot linking subjects to careers.

Opportunities for accredited work-related learning are provided through the curriculum and include the BTEC Diploma in Vocational Studies, GCSE Catering and the Cambridge National Awards in Information Technology and Health and Social Care. Some students may also have the opportunity for offsite vocational learning at local providers, including Wiltshire College.

Benchmark 5 – Employer & Employee Encounters – 100% Achieved

As a school, we endeavour to facilitate as many student/ employer encounters as possible and all students benefit from at least two (and often many more) meaningful employer encounters in each school year. This gives them an excellent understanding of the workplace and the potential career paths open to them. As such, the school is part of the Careers and Enterprise Company network, and we work closely with our Enterprise Adviser. We also have good links with many other local employers, independent advice services and apprenticeship providers and have a successful Alumni network.

We arrange monthly after school careers talks and employability workshops, available to all year groups and delivered by a variety of employers, apprenticeship providers and alumni. Recent employers for these events have included the NHS, Architects, engineering companies, solicitors, film production companies and financial companies. We involve employers with several of our collapsed timetable enrichment days for different year groups, for example the STEM Day for Year 9. Mock interviews and an Enterprise Day are also held annually with the help of employers for Year 12, and our successful Year 12 volunteering programme provides further opportunities for students to develop valuable employability skills. Curriculum areas also regularly arrange talks and visits with employers as discussed under Benchmark 4.

The annual Hardenhuish Careers Fair Week provides the opportunity for all students to engage with and receive impartial careers advice and guidance from approximately 40 employers, education and apprenticeship providers showcasing their opportunities. It is held over a series of lunchtimes and is open to the whole the school to attend, and we estimate that over half the school come along.  We have direct evidence that many of our students gain work experience placements, apprenticeships, and clear career goals as a result of attending the careers fair.

Benchmark 6 – Experiences of Workplaces – 100% Achieved

Click here for further information relating to our Work Experience Programme

We feel strongly that all students should have first-hand experiences of the workplace to help with their exploration of career opportunities and to expand their networks. Therefore, all students are given the opportunity to do one week of work experience in Year 10 and again in Year 12. Students taking the Vocational Studies course also have one day a week work experience in Year 11.

Students are extensively prepared for and supported with the work experience process through presentations to students and parents from the school Careers Adviser, tutor led work experience sessions (including health and safety lessons), workshops from external providers and daily drop-in available in the career’s office for one-to-one guidance. After the work experience week Year 10 are given the opportunity to share their experiences and to reflect on the skills they have gained and what they have learned in de-brief activities that include group reflection activities, work experience awards and thank you letter writing.

Evaluation is also obtained during the de-brief day using a Microsoft Forms questionnaire, the results of which are used to improve the process the following year. For example, some of the highlights and lessons learned are used by the Careers Adviser in the following years presentations. This evaluation has provided us with evidence of the positive impact for our students as the overall rating that they gave their WEX experience last year was 4.3 out of 5.

Benchmark 7 – Encounters with Further & Higher Education – 100% Achieved

The school has strong links with Universities, Further Education establishments, Apprenticeship and independent training providers and the Wessex Inspiration Network (WIN) to ensure that all our students are well informed and encouraged to progress into further and higher education or training.

All students in Year 10 visit a local University and some will also visit Bath College or Wiltshire College for taster days. Year 11 students and parents receive presentations from the Sixth Form, Wiltshire College, Bath College and ASK Apprenticeships. Local Colleges, Universities and Apprenticeship and independent training providers also deliver assemblies, as well as attending our annual Careers Fair week providing further opportunities for student one-to-one contact from all year groups. The Hardenhuish Sixth Form Open Evening is organised in December for students considering progressing to Sixth Form. Students who apply to the Sixth Form have an information and guidance interview with a member of the Sixth Form Team.

Information about applying to higher education through UCAS is provided through a series of sessions delivered to Year 12 and Year 13 during sixth form core time. A dedicated Oxbridge group meet regularly where specialist advice and guidance is provided. Further one to one advice and support, for example in writing a personal statement for UCAS, is provided to students by the sixth form tutors and the careers adviser. Other events in the sixth form include trips to the UCAS Convention and to a University, talks by universities and other external speakers about Oxbridge applications, student finance and studying abroad.

Benchmark 8 – Personal Guidance – 100% Achieved

The school recognises the importance of careers education and work-related learning as demonstrated in the appointment of a full time Careers Leader that is also a fully qualified Level 6 professional and impartial Careers Adviser. Guidance meetings are provided for most of Year 11 and Year 12/13; with lunchtime drop-in sessions and appointments being available to all year groups. They are also provided for students if suggested that this would be helpful by tutors, Learning Managers and the SENCO. A priority scoring system is used to inform and prioritise the order of appointments for Year 11 with the most vulnerable and special educational needs and disability (SEND) students being seen first. The Careers Adviser is also available at key events including Year 9 options evening, Year 11 Post-16 options evening, Year 10, 12 and 13 parent’s information evenings and Sixth Form open evening.

The Careers Adviser provides impartial and personalised information, advice and guidance, about the range of education and training options that are most likely to help our students achieve their ambitions. Students can discuss choosing a career, apprenticeships, University or College courses, A-level choices, work experience and get help with applications, CVs and interviews. Students can ask their tutor to book them an appointment or visit the careers office in A centre for a lunchtime drop-in session. During regular tutor mentoring sessions, tutors also give advice regarding post 16/18 opportunities based on the student’s interests, skills and abilities.

Impartial guidance is also provided by external organisations including ASK apprenticeships and FE/HE providers at key events held for both students and parents including the Year 11 Post-16 options evening, Year 12 parent’s information evenings and the Careers Fairs.  Regular signposting to impartial organisations including the National Careers Service takes place and the use of local labour market information provided by Wiltshire council through the Work Wiltshire website is encouraged.

Career Research Websites

General Careers Advice – This is a great website giving lots of information about all the different options available for future work and study in the South West. – This is produced by Wiltshire Council and contains useful local labour market information.

Careers advice – job profiles, information and resources | National Careers Service – This has useful tools that will help you to choose a career and give you career suggestions and create a CV. You can also talk to an adviser for free on 0800 100900.  – This is a great website for exploring different careers by watching films about what it’s like to work in a wide variety of jobs. – A visual quiz that matches you to HE courses, careers and apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships – The main site to research and find apprenticeships. – This provides a useful ‘Parents Pack’ and information about employers offering apprenticeships. – Search for apprenticeships, traineeships, internships, work experience and jobs. – This provides information on the opportunities available after school – for training, employment, sponsored degrees, etc.

Job Searching – create a CV and find jobs. – a job search website.

Graduate Careers and University Advice – UCAS is the organisation responsible for managing applications to higher education courses in the UK. Not only do UCAS process more than two million applications for full-time undergraduate courses every year, but they also help students to find the right course. – This is all about graduate jobs and is the UK’s leading provider of information, advice and opportunities to students and graduates. You can see what jobs different degree subjects can lead to and search actual graduate vacancies. – The Which University Guide has lots of information and filters to help you find a course to suit your needs. – The Guardian University Guide has information on every subject taught at universities in the UK ranked in league tables, also has subject profile information. – University league tables. – A good site for comparing University courses and ordering prospectuses. – Search for University scholarships, grants and bursaries. – details of university open days. – a website for student jobs including part-time and holiday jobs, gap year jobs, apprenticeships and work placements.

Gap Years and Volunteering – information and advice about gap years. – job opportunities in America – temporary and summer jobs.

Volunteer – GOV.UK ( – find out about volunteering opportunities.