Why Calderstones School scooped GMLPF sponsored careers award

Rich Tapestry of Life

Calderstones School is the only over-subscribed state funded comprehensive in Liverpool. Their annual intake is a staggering ten classes.

Two hundred and fifty five students in each year group ensure a rich tapestry of school culture.

No wonder that they are too busy to pay heed to Michael Wilshaw’s comments during 2015 that schools are ‘selfish’ in their careers advice. That does not mean, however that they aren’t contradicting that in every sense possible.

‘A La Carte’ Careers Advice

The school’s entry to The Educate Awards at the end of last year in a bid for The Career Inspiration Award, sponsored by GMLPF, was truly outstanding.

Having caught the judges’ eyes with their ‘A La Carte’ careers advice, they were worthy winners. We spoke to Deputy Head Sharon Ellis to find out more. She says:

‘Career advice is part of the curriculum here at Calderstones. From year 7 to 13 we put significant time and resources into inspiring our pupils understanding the full range of career pathways available.  It isn’t one size fits all here, so each pupil is given individual advice. Yes of course we have to manage expectations, say where somebody isn’t suited to A Levels; but there are always other options that will actually realise pupil potential much more effectively.’

World of Work Day

In their award entry, the Calderstones team demonstrated that all staff are expected to inspire pupils and to deliver sessions to engage the entire school community, including parents.

The initiatives by the school to achieve this are wide ranging. An attempt is made to funnel pupils based on ability, what they are interested in and where they are most likely to succeed.  This starts in the classroom, and extends throughout the school and onto the internet.

Every term, there is a careers assembly. Guest speakers have included representatives from many of the city’s training providers.

The highlight of the careers calendar is ‘World of Work Day’. Every two years the careers fair creates a buzz around school and attracts big employers such as leading law firm Hill Dickinson to engineering companies such as TTE.  Royal & Sun Alliance also support the school with mock interviews.

During the course of the year students went off campus to learn more about different industries and careers. Visits were hosted by Laing O’Rourke to see the new Alder Hey site and Bibby Offshore in Aberdeen.

As well as North West universities, students with extraordinary academic ability were able to visit both Oxbridge Universities. The school was also able to offer financial support so that students could attend Medlink conferences and residential courses at Cambridge University.

Practical Measures

Practical measures are taken including a careers advice wall; whilst access to the national Apprenticeship website is arranged for older pupils.

The initiatives listed above are just examples. Calderstones School has a full time careers mentor, Chris Murphy who helps to coordinate a comprehensive programme throughout the year.

Alongside careers advice students are encouraged to develop in other ways to get themselves ready for the world of work and enrich their experiences.

The National Citizenship Service has allowed students to develop their transferable skills and improve interview techniques, as well as build their CVs.

Pupils who need extra guidance have taken part in the New Horizon programme, helping year 10 and 11 students with employability skills.  Stress busting workshops, time management coaching and visits from past students all contribute to the menu of advice on offer.

For the last two years Calderstones School has ensured that on completion of their education all pupils have secured relevant education, employment and training opportunities. Considering the number of students at transition points at the end of each academic year this is a real achievement.

Leading to Amazing Careers

Calderstones’ most recent information on the destinations of their students makes interesting reading.

Sixth form students have gone on to degrees in law and criminology, biomedical science and chemical engineering. Other further education was pursued by 16 years olds in everything from games design to music and bricklaying to beauty.

Some students enrolled in the armed forces, including one Royal Marine. And during 2015 a good number of students went enrolled on Apprenticeships, starting careers in professions ranging from hairdressing to plumbing.

Greater Merseyside Learning Providers’ Federation (GMLPF) Chief Executive James Glendenning says: ‘Schools are responsible for offering careers advice to their pupils including viable career alternatives to staying on at school’.

‘The award put the spotlight on schools that are taking their responsibilities seriously. We sponsor this award to highlight good practice and provide inspiration to other schools.’ he said.


GMLPF to sponsor careers award for third year

GMLPF are delighted to be sponsoring the Career Inspiration Award for a third year at Educate Awards 2015. The award recognises schools which have adopted the most innovative approach to careers information, advice and guidance for their pupils. GMLPF CEO, James Glendenning, presented last year’s winner, Liverpool Life Sciences UTC, with the award at Liverpool Cathedral in November (pictured above).

Now in to its fourth year, the Educate Awards are growing due to the volume of entries and increased demand from schools to take part and win one of the prestigious education accolades. The Educate Awards are now accepting entries from schools in the boroughs of Lancashire, West Lancashire and Cheshire West and Chester, in addition to schools in the Liverpool City Region (Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens and Halton).

Commitment to schools

Since his appointment 18 months ago, James Glendenning has stepped up GMLPF’s commitment to helping schools raising awareness of Apprenticeships as a career option. He explains the decision to continue supporting the award:

“Our commitment to sponsoring the Career Inspiration Award for a third year is part of GMLPF’s ongoing schools support strategy. This award really encourages schools to think creatively about how to approach careers information for their pupils, and to be fully inclusive of all options, including Apprenticeships which are a proven route into long term successful careers.

“We recognise the challenges faced by schools who are already stretched with limited resources. GMLPF and its members are able to offer free resources and support to help careers teachers raise awareness of Apprenticeships as part of their schools’ drive to offer their pupils comprehensive, impartial advice on career options.”

Services backed by members expertise

GMLPF offers a range of school support services such as attendance at careers evenings, pupil-friendly apprenticeships presentations, parent workshops and a supply of resources including Apprenticeships lesson plans, case studies and leaflets. GMLPF members have extensive experience of delivering high quality Apprenticeships, and have strong relationships with local employers. GMLPF works in partnership with its members to offer its support services for schools.

For further information, please contact the School Support Service on 0151 707 8775

GMLPF sponsor Career Aspiration Award

Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation has recently signed up as sponsor of an exciting new award to be presented at the 2013 Educate Awards to be held in December.

The Career Aspiration Award will recognise the school that has done the most to help its pupils and their parents understand the different career pathways open to school leavers. The judges of this award will be looking for innovative and creative approaches to providing pupils with advice and guidance on the full spectrum of opportunities including both academic routes and vocational options such as Apprenticeships.