Careers provision at Vandyke Upper School


We are committed to providing an outstanding Careers Education and Guidance Programme which will motivate and inspire all students to ‘Aim High’ and achieve their potential.  We believe that all students are entitled to impartial and, where necessary, confidential advice in order to manage their own lifelong learning and career development.  The careers team at Vandyke work alongside the curriculum and pastoral teams to promote achievement and enable young people to follow their aspirations.  Every student at Vandyke has access to a high quality Careers Education and Guidance Programme and, in addition, more focused and targeted support where needed.

We believe that our students are entitled to a careers programme which prepares students for the opportunities, challenges, responsibilities and experiences of not only post-16 education, training and employment, but for life-long career planning.  Our Careers Education and Guidance Programme is designed to support students to feel positive about their future, to improve their motivation, raise their aspirations and take responsibility for their career plans.

Read our Autumn 2023 Careers Newsletter here.

Read our Spring 2023 Careers Newsletter here.

Read our Autumn 2022 Careers Newsletter here.

You can skip to the full Careers Programme for each year group by clicking on these quick links:

Year 9 Careers Programme

Year 10 Careers Programme

Year 11 Careers Programme

Year 12 Careers Programme

Year 13 Careers Programme

At Vandyke, the Gatsby Career Benchmarks and The Baker Clause are at the heart of our Careers Education and Guidance Programme. Our latest destinations data can be found here, and our Policy Statement on Provider Access sets out the school’s arrangements for managing the access of providers to students at the school for the purpose of giving them information about the provider’s education or training offer.  Our Careers Programme is reviewed in September of each year.

The Careers team at Vandyke Upper are:

Mr T Lally – Careers Leader; Deputy Headteacher (01525 636700, [email protected])

Mrs D Lord – Careers Co-Ordinator (01525 636700, [email protected])

To read Vandyke’s current Careers Education Guidance Policy, please click here.

If you require any further information about our careers programme, please contact Mr Lally or Mrs Lord.

Careers Programme 2023 – 24


Here is an overview of what students can expect to happen as part of their careers education across their time at Vandyke Upper School.

Year 9 – Autumn Term

Key dates:

  • September-December – Options Lessons in Lifeskills
  • September-December – Employability Skills
  • October – Future Skills


During Year 9, students will begin a programme to support their future intentions and how these choices might impact on the options they choose for GCSE. Students will receive dedicated ‘Options’ lessons in Life Skills lessons where they will be given time and guidance to research career information and explore the local labour market.

Students will also take part in the LORIC initiative to develop a Growth Mindset attitude. Students will have opportunities throughout the year to demonstrate employability skills: Leadership, Organisation, Resilience, Initiative and Communication (LORIC).


Year 9 – Spring Term

Key dates:

  • February – Big Picture Careers Event
  • February – Options Evening / Choices
  • February – National Apprenticeship Assemblies
  • February – Local Market Information Assembly
  • March – National Careers Assemblies March – Options Interviews
  • March – Local provider presentations


All Year 9 students are invited to an Options Evening in February which provides opportunities to talk to subject staff about option choices and long-term career plans. Local providers attend the options evening as part of our provider access legislation.


Year 9 / 10 – Summer Term

Key dates:

  • June – GCSE Options begin
  • June – Virtual Work Experience Opportunities
  • June – Employers Engagement Event


All Year 9/10 students will experience live online work experience opportunities in lesson time which is presented by Speakers for Schools.

Year 10 – Autumn Term

Key dates:

  • September-December – Employability skills in Lifeskills
  • October – Future Skills
  • November – What Career Live (Virtual)
  • December – CV Writing


During Year 10, students will develop employability skills whilst raising their achievement in their GCSE subjects. Life Skills lessons will include a focus on developing and evidencing employability skills. During Life Skills lessons, students will learn how to apply these skills to personal statements and CVs.


Year 10 – Spring Term

Key dates:

  • February – Local Market Information Assembly
  • February – The Big Picture Careers Fayre
  • February – National Apprenticeship Assemblies
  • March – National Apprenticeship Show & The Higher Education Expo
  • March – National Careers Assemblies and college presentation
  • March – Local provider presentations


Y10 students will also have access to The Big Picture Careers Fayre in February in order to begin to explore the many possible options available post 16. During this evening students will be given the opportunity to meet colleges and Universities to discuss the post 16 courses they have to offer including T levels, A-levels, BTECs and other level 2 and 3 qualifications. Furthermore, there will be a number of national and local employers at the event to discuss the apprenticeships and employment opportunities they have to offer, ensuring impartial advice is given as stated in the Provider Access Legislation.

All Year 10 students will have the opportunity to participate in a visit to the National Apprenticeship Show and Higher Education Expo in Milton Keynes to give them an insight into the variety of apprenticeships on offer at all levels including degree. This face to face exposure to over 50 employers/companies provides the students with information about the different level apprenticeships on offer.


Year 10/11 – Summer Term

Key dates:

  • June – Employers Morning
  • June – What Career Live (TBC)
  • July – Initial Intentions Begin


Towards the end of year 10, students will complete their first Initial Intention form which will track their possible future plans into Year 11 to ensure students receive dedicated careers advice and highlight any intervention opportunities.

Year 11 – Autumn Term

Key dates:

  • September–December – Post 16 Lessons through life skills
  • September–December – Local Market Information through tutor time (T-levels & Local Providers)
  • October – Future Skills
  • November – Sixth Form Open Evening
  • November – Aim Higher Day
  • December – Application and Personal Statement Writing


Year 11 students receive dedicated Life Skills lessons focused on post 16 planning. Students have the opportunity to explore the different options and levels available after year 11. Students are also given time to independently research post 16 options and application processes. Life Skills lessons also cover: how to write applications, what to include on a personal statement and information about the local labour market.

All Year 11 students have the opportunity to visit a post 16 provider in November on our Aim Higher Day. Students will be out of school for the day visiting a college or a university; experiencing what college/university life is like and have the opportunity to speak to current university students about their experience of post 16 education.

Throughout Year 11, students will also receive career focused assemblies, tutor time discussion and access to a qualified careers advisor appointments as a priority. It is the intention that all students have a Plan A and Plan B in place by April 2023 regarding their options post 16.


Year 11 – Spring Term

Key dates:

  • February – The Big Picture Careers Fayre
  • February – National Apprenticeship Assemblies
  • March – National Careers Assemblies
  • March – Local provider presentations
  • April – College presentations and workshops
  • Spring Term 2024 – Vandyke Sixth Form / Other Post 16 providers application deadline


Our The Big Picture Careers Fayre in February is where students can meet local colleges, universities, and apprenticeship providers. This event is also well supported by national and local employers, showing our commitment to delivering the Provider Access Legislation (Provider Access) with impartial careers information.

Initial Intentions forms will continue to track students throughout the year to ensure all students have understood the options available to them post 16 and to highlight any intervention opportunities.

Year 12 – Autumn Term

Key dates:

  • September-December – Careers, Enrichment & Employability Programme during form time
  • October/November – SMILE Malawi Fundraising Project
  • October – What Career Live (London Olympia)
  • October – Future Skills


Year 12 – Spring Term

Key dates:

  • February – The Big Picture Careers Fayre
  • February – Apprenticeships Workshop ‘Amazing Apprenticeships’
  • February – Employability programme during tutor time
  • February – Destinations Questionnaire
  • February – National Apprenticeships Week
  • February – Launch of the Alumni Programme (Instagram)


Year 12 – Summer Term

Key dates:

  • April – Apprenticeships or University?
  • April – UCAS Applications Guidance
  • May – UCAS Personal Statement Writing
  • June – Virtual Future Pathways Evening
  • June – Oxbridge Personal Statement Session
  • July – Targeted one to one employability sessions held during this week.
  • July – Year 12 Work Experience

Year 13 – Autumn Term

Key dates:

  • September–December – Careers, Enrichment & Employability Programme during form time
  • September–December – University Open Day Visits (Organised independently along with the Year Team)
  • October – Higher Education & Apprenticeship Workshops
  • October – Morrison’s Interview Workshop
  • November – SMILE Malawi – Project Management of fundraising events
  • November – Oxbridge Interview support
  • December – Tutor support with UCAS and apprenticeships applications


Year 13 – Spring Term

Key dates:

  • January – UCAS Applications Deadline
  • January – Apprenticeship weekly workshop begins
  • February – The Big Picture Careers Fayre
  • February – National Apprenticeships Week
  • April – 4YP Interviews
  • April – MENCAP Summer Recruitment


Year 13 – Summer Term

Key dates:

  • May – Finalising apprenticeship & employment opportunities
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