From education to employment

Sixth Form leader calls for 16-18 providers to bring careers expertise to schools

The principal of one of the biggest sixth forms in London and the South East has called for 16-18 providers to use their expertise in careers advice to support local schools.

Rob McAuliffe (pictured), Collegiate Principal of 3,000-strong Christ the King Sixth Form which has sites across south London and Kent, said: ‘There’s a huge need for really high-quality, independent careers guidance for young people. The decisions they take while they are at secondary school are among the most important of their lives, which will dictate university and career choice.

‘At Christ the King, we have years of experience in the education of 16-18 year old students. We are specialists, and our expertise can be used more effectively to support secondary school pupils, who need to be thinking about their paths through education and their future careers long before the age of 16.’ 

Recent research showed that schools are falling short of government-endorsed standards for good careers advice.

Of 578 schools asked to rate their performance against eight benchmarks for good careers provision, just 0.5 per cent managed to achieve all eight in 2016-17.

More than a fifth of schools did not meet any of the benchmarks at all, according to the Careers and Enterprise Company.

Mr McAuliffe said that while many schools are doing an excellent job on careers guidance, many do not have the resources required.

He said: ‘We simply can’t afford to leave this to chance. The 16-18 sector is ideally placed to support and assist schools in this vital area, where, for example, decisions about subject choice at A-level can put enormous limitations on future career choices. Young people need expert, independent advice.’

Mr McAuliffe was speaking at a celebration to mark the 25th anniversary of Christ the King’s partnership with local schools: ‘Our partnership has been in existence since 1992 when the sixth forms from a number of schools merged to create a sixth form college on this site, under the name of Christ the King.

He said the partnership, which includes 10 local schools, encompasses joint projects and curriculum initiatives, shared resources and approaches to teaching and learning.

 ‘The partnership has always had a clear focus on academic excellence, strong student progression and a core theme of developing the whole person – giving students a set of shared values.’

Mr McAuliffe estimates that the partnership has sent 19,000 students to university in the 25 years Christ the King and its partner schools have been working together. 

A day of celebration included a Mass alongside a performance by the Christ the King Gospel Choir and performances by students from several partner schools. Among the alumni who spoke at the event was Maria Green, who met her husband while studying at Christ the King and wondered if her children were the first alumni children.  Maria studied, History, Politics, Sociology at A-level and went on to study Human, Social and Political Science at Cambridge University. She then studied nursing at King’s College London and is now an emergency nurse practitioner at Lewisham Hospital in south London.

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