Careers Strategy 2022 - 2023

Why? Our school mission states, “All Ark Acton students thrived at university or a real alternative and therefore lived a life to be proud of”.    
1. To ensure our students are prepared for life beyond Ark Acton Academy, for university and for the world of work.  

2. To provide students with a range of opportunities to engage with employers, further education, and higher education throughout their time at AAA.  

3. To ensure careers and labour market information is part of everyday school life; students use quality information, advice, and guidance to make informed subject and post-16 choices.

The aim of our careers programme is to ensure that all our students are prepared for life after Ark Acton Academy, for university and for the world of work. We particularly want to help students develop the skills and knowledge needed for the changing job market which we set out to achieve through giving students a range of opportunities to engage with employers, further education, and higher education providers through their time at the Academy.

Ark Acton Academy uses the Gatsby Benchmarks as a guide to plan our careers guidance programme. As part of our commitment to informing our students of the full range of learning and training pathways on offer to them, we are happy to consider requests from training, apprenticeship, and vocational education providers to speak to students.

Ark Acton Academy also proactively seek to build relationships with these partners as we plan our Pathways and Enrichment activity throughout the school year to ensure that providers have multiple opportunities to speak to students and their parents across years 7- 13, to offer information on vocational, technical and apprenticeship qualifications and pathways. 

If you would like to find out more about working with us as an employer, requests by providers should be sent to the Academy’s Pathways Lead, Nickael Briggs or if you would like to contact us specifically in relation to 6th form progression, please contact Stacey Macsorley


[Links to Gatsby benchmarks shown in brackets for each strand of the AAA Careers programme]

Key Stage 3 programme



All pupils explore who they are and who they would like to be in the future [identification of personal skills and qualities]                   

• PSHE unit: Developing skills and aspirations [1]

• PSHE unit: Financial decision making [includes business practices] [1]

• Guest speakers – students will receive a minimum of two career talks from a variety of fields throughout the year [5]

8  All pupils explore how self-estee and confidence can have an impact on behaviour, achievements and future aspirations.           
  • PSHE unit: Community and careers - students learn about the equality of opportunity in careers and life choices, and different types and patters of work [1]
  • Guest speakers – students will receive a minimum of two career talks from a variety of fields throughout the year [5]


All pupils further explore who they are and begin to refine their future career aspirations.                    
  • Pathways Assembly Programme – all students will take part in the assemblies’ programme that exposes students to the choices available to them at Key Stage 4. Subject leads will share the overview of their subject along with its importance to future career and pathway choices [2 & 4]
  • Yr9 Parents information evening – all students along with their parents are invited to hear about the GCSE options and how they can best make informed decisions. [3 & 8]
  • PSHE unit: First Give – students develop key skills [collaboration, communication, presenting, problem solving] through a social action project
  • Year 9 Careers Day [Drop down Day] – All students will be off timetable for the day to explore their vision about their future lifestyles. Students will discover the reality of adult life and get the opportunity to network with professionals from a wide range of career sectors. [2 & 5]
  • PSHE unit: 'Setting Goals' - students will follow up their experience of the careers day with a unit that focuses on value-driven career choices. [1]
  • Unifrog online platform is rolled out forv all Year 9 students as part of the careers day. This provides students with the opportunity to explore career interest and pathways ahead of making GCSE subject choices.
  • All students, along with their parents receive a 1-to-1 meeting with a member of the senior leadership team to discuss and decide appropriate GCSE choices [3]
  • All students receive a 1-to-1 meeting wtih a connexions careers advisor who is independent and impartial [1,3 & 8]


Key Stage 4 programme



  • Barclays Life Skills – students will explore career pathways and the kills necessary in the 21st century workplace through the Barclays Life Skills programme [1]
  • PSHE unit: Work Experience Applications & Preparation. All students learn how to write personal statements and letters of application in preparation for work experience in Year 11. This is followed up by a unit of work on ‘how to make the most of work experience’ [1]
  • Guest speakers – students will receive a minimum of two career talks from a variety of fields throughout the year [5]


  • Work Experience [**this is on hold due to covid-19 restrictions and has been replaced where possible with virtual experiences] – all students will spend a week at a work experience placement. We work closely with Work Experience Partners to place students in areas of interest. Students also have the opportunity to find their own placement to ensure it is in an area of interest. [5 & 6]
  • PSHE unit: Work Experience reflection. All students reflect on their work experience and consider their next steps in relation to their career and pathway. [1]
  • Independent Careers Advice – all students have the opportunity for a 1-to-1 meeting with our independent and impartial careers advisor. [1, 3 & 8]
  • Guest speakers – students will receive a minimum of two career talks from a variety of fields throughout the year [5]
  • Sixth Form Open Evening – all students are invited to our sixth form open evening to discuss their options and hear from subjects leads about the Key Stage 5 opportunities at the academy. [1 & 7]
  • Attend A Level/Professional Pathways taster lessons [Level 3] in order to give them an insight to the requirements of key Stage 5 study [7]
  • NCS Challenge – all Year 11 are given the opportunity to take part in this initiative to develop skills for employment. [5]

Key Stage 5 programme



  • Ark Apprentice Day - All students are given an in-depth briefing on Apprenticeship opportunities in three sectors, then compete with one another for one of the jobs. Each student receives a one-on-one interview, participates in a typical ‘group task’ and is assessed using an online skills assessment. [1, 2 & 5]
  • University Visit – All students will visit a minimum of one university [Reading University or Queen Mary University] [1 & 7]
  • Guest speakers – students will receive a minimum of two career talks from a variety of fields throughout the year [5]
  • NCS and DofE Challenge – all Year 12 are given the opportunity to take part in these initiatives to develop skills for employment.
  • Service – All students will participate in a minimum of one hours work experience a week in school. Students will help with lower school classes or enrichment sessions.
  • Access to Unifrog software to support with research into appropriate and aspirational apprenticeships and university courses. This is supported through a PSHE scheme of work [1, 2 & 8]
  • Academic Mentoring – All sixth form students receive regular academic mentoring from the sixth from tutor team [8]
  • UCAS Day– All students participate in a UCAS drop-down day in which they hear subject-specific advice for applying to university given their areas of interest. [1 & 7]


  • ‘Futureproof’ Induction Day – All students participate in a day dedicated to ‘jobs of the future’ in which they analyse big trends affecting the labour market, then explore the specific labour market information in their desired fields. [2,5]
  • Ark Alumni Forum – All students invited to an evening event in September where they can mingle with ex-Ark students who currently attend top universities. [7]
  • Year 13 Progression/UCAS application programme through pastoral tutor programme [8]
  • Networking Evening – All students attend a ‘networking event’ where they have the opportunity to mix and ask questions of representatives from approximately 40 different employers/industries. [1, 5]
  • Academic Mentoring – All sixth form students receive regular academic mentoring from the sixth from tutor team [8]
  • One-on-one Personal Statement Support – All students receive a one-on-one 20 minute personal statement session with an external expert
  • Guest speakers – students will receive a minimum of two career talks from a variety of fields throughout the year [5]
  • ‘Preparing for University Life’ PSHE Support – In the summer term, all students participate in a PSHE unit of work in which they consider the financial, social and health/wellbeing implications of living more independently. [1]



We measure the success of the Programme in the following ways:

  • Destinations Data – we monitor destinations data each year, to ensure we understand what our students go on to do after Ark Acton Academy and whether the Information, Advice and Guidance they received during their time here has had an effect.
  • Pupil reflections – pupils reflect on their experiences when they visit workplaces or hear from speakers. This allows us to identify which experiences pupils enjoyed and which they didn’t, as well as providing a record for the pupil they can use in future applications.
  • Evaluation of the programme – each year, we have an annual review of the programme with Ark Schools, who assess how many of the Gatsby Benchmarks we are meeting and identify strategic goals for us to work on over the next year.


Strategic Objective

Success Criteria

Milestones – Autumn

Milestones – Spring

Milestones – Summer

  1. Enhance the academy careers programme so all students can make informed decisions at each stage of their education. [1]

  1. A comprehensive careers programme is in place for Years 7 –13
  2. Students have an improved awareness of the variety of jobs and careers available, the skills and qualifications required and the realities of the associated job market.

  1. Careers assembly each half term designed around specific Gatsby benchmarks
  2. Careers page included in the ACP to allow students to articulate their ‘why’ for engagement with the co-curriculum
  3. Careers pathway mapped for each year group in line with Gatsby benchmark
  4. Careers Fair booked through ‘Connexions’
  5. Careers Team set up internally

  1. Year 11 and Year 9 careers interviews completed
  2. Year 9 Options and information evening for students and parents
  3. University visits for
  4. Visit Ark schools with strong careers provision and pathways
  5. Provide access to independent and impartial careers guidance for students in Years 7-13 through websites, library materials and/ or guidance conversations

  1. Staff can articulate the school vision with reference to how the careers programme is integral to achieving it
  2. Students can articulate what experiences they have had related to careers
  3. Completion of Teach First careers leader programme
  4. Y10 University Visits in July
  5. Careers advisors keep a record of the meaningful encounters undertaken by students to help inform conversations across the school and students have access to these records
  1. Students are understanding, accessing and using information about local and national jobs (Labour Market Information-LMI) to plan their educational pathways and careers [2,3 and 8]

1. All students, parents, teachers have access to career and labour marker information via the school website, school bulletin, display boards, well-resourced library for students

2. 50% of surveyed students in KS4 demonstrate improved knowledge (compared to baseline assessment in previous year) of local and international LMI trends

1. Baseline assessment of LMI launched with student annual survey

2. Targeted workshops designed based on baseline survey

  1. Develop and source high quality LMI resources
  2. Build careers into P7 co-curricular and ensure access to chrome books or IT Suites
  3. Careers Adviser to talk to careers team about sources of LMI and tracking LMI discussed in interviews
  4. Careers Adviser to update the careers library
  1. Recruit group of student Careers Ambassadors/Champions
  2. Update Careers Displays
  3. Launch an embed Unifrog with Years 9, 10,11 and 12
  4. Send out student survey and assess knowledge of LMI
  5. Build Careers section into the Acton Character Passport as an opportunity for students to track thinking and knowledge about next steps

  1. Careers and labour market information is part of everyday school life. Students use quality information, advice and guidance to make informed subject and post-16 choices.

1. Increase in use of LMI when choosing options in Year 9, and post 16 and 18

2. Data shows 40% increase in use of software to research LMI over the year

3. Staff feel more confident in their knowledge of LMI and how to use in relevant lessons

  1. Careers team meet with Connexion’s advisor to present example LMI software
  2. Research different LMI software and plan for implementation through the P7 co-curricular programme
  1. Embed the use of LMI software for students and staff
  2. Careers and labour market information presented at parent events – guest speaker e.g. from Chamber of Commerce
  3. Targeted workshops based on student survey data
  4. Year 9 and Year 11 interviewed by careers team with SEN students prioritised
  1. CPD session on LMI for all staff by local expert, to support them to bring into their subject teaching and be more confident to have informal careers conversations with students
  2. Each department Careers Champion is responsible for ensuring subject displays area is up to date and providing relevant updates in department planning meetings
  3. Employer engagement workshops and carousels take place for KS3
  4. Review practice with another school to identify next steps


How to apply for higher education

Information on applying to higher education, including the options available, tips on making your application, and how the process works, is available on the UCAS website: Year 12 students can use it to search for undergraduate courses. Year 13s can use it to track their applications.

Complete university guide

Great website for looking up universities’ ranking for different subjects, include break down on student’s satisfaction and employment rate.

Other advice and resources

Apply to Uni
An excellent university comparison site full of unbiased advice on how to choose a university

Whatuni helps students find the right university and it allows them to search for a course by Entry Requirements or by University Ranking. The website is full of advice, student reviews, free prospectuses, open days, videos and much, much more.

The official website for comparing course data from UK universities and higher education colleges.

University of London Taster Courses
This website has links to taster courses in a variety of subjects taking place at universities and colleges across London.

Open Days
This website allows you to browse the university and college open day calendar and book your free place. It also has loads of advice on what to do at open days to make the most of the experience.

Student Finance
The official Website for all up to date information and to apply for student finance.

Bright Knowledge
Bright Knowledge is the essential guide to careers, education and student life.

Careers Advice

Watch the career videos and take the buzz quiz to find out which career might suit you.

Career advice for parents.

Useful online courses to widen your skills and knowldege

MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) website at:

Future Learn

Virtual work experience


Virtual-work-experience-links-1 (1).pdf

For help finding high-quality work placements, visit the Mayor’s Fund for London’s Access Aspiration website:

Please follow this link to access the Ark Acton Careers Bulletin (Autumn 1 2019)

Other useful websites

The Student Ladder
For 15-18 year old students offering advice on A levels, degrees and alternative programmes for 18 year olds and also work experience, gap year and career options.

Pure Potential
Free of charge support for students making decisions about their future, including plenty of useful advice on applying to university, school leaver programmes, work experience and choosing a career. There is also a section for parents

Register for updates on work experience, school leaver schemes, apprenticeships and career events in Finance and Law.

Arch specialises in getting young people into great careers in IT, Digital, Marketing, Financial Services and Business through the Government backed Apprenticeship programme. is the fastest-growing online resource for school and college leavers across the UK and hosts a range of opportunities from apprenticeships and sponsored degrees to gap year and free training programmes.

All About School Leavers
An excellent site full of the latest Apprenticeships and School Leavers Programmes, advice on writing cover letter and interview tips. You can also take a Career Test.