10 Mar 2023

We never stop talking about careers…

We had our annual visit from Complete Careers last week as part of our staff CPD on developing careers provision. This works out well for us because I speak to Jo beforehand about what we would like to focus on and she tailors it to our school’s specific needs. The challenge with a very niche trauma-informed SEMH school is what do we need to know and what is relevant to us?

The simple answer:  all of it including knowing that because of our young people’s circumstances, we can’t always put ‘all of it’ in place. However, as I always say to my team: you need to have the knowledge so you know what’s possible and can make informed decisions about specific elements of the guidance.

For example, we’re really interested in developing provision for our post-16 because it’s a tricky group to support if they have decided to retake or they generally feel there’s no point in furthering their education. The team wanted to know first what statutory guidance was, what home schools should offer, and how far they should support their students when they are with us. This is important in helping us to advocate for our young people better.

The other question was about what we can offer our post-16 students other than A Levels – what is out there that we don’t know about? Many suggestions were made such as apprenticeships, T Levels, and internships…there is so much out there and there is just as much that wouldn’t work for our young people whilst they are in hospital, but we need to be well-versed enough to know why it wouldn’t work and what the alternatives are.  

And as serendipity would have it, we had a post-16 admission that week and a parent rang the key teacher, aware that her child wasn’t engaging, and anxiously asked what else can be offered apart from A Levels? The parent was concerned that all they knew about were A Levels and not much else. The key teacher listened and rich in her new knowledge said ‘well this is what I know is available…’ and then moved the conversation to what was best for her child at this moment and how to put the best educational plan in place for them to support them in the future.

Careers provision at our school includes ongoing conversations tailored around the child’s needs. However, there is no doubt it all begins with excellent CPD and a holistic understanding of the whole child. 

It’s true we never stop talking about careers at Ellern Mede but never stop learning about it too.

Samreen Shah

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