Blue Coat boasts a well-resourced and staffed Careers Department where students can be guided to their Higher Education decisions through careers lessons during their Lower Sixth year. Initially, students will spend time on self evaluation and then on researching career options and university courses. The goal is to make an informed decision on their future pathway. Where higher education is the route, a decision will need to be made on both what subject(s) to study and at what establishment; choices that could then shape the direction of a future career.
Sixth Formers are supported and advised throughout the research and application process and the school draws on its experience of previous students proceeding to a range of institutions including Oxbridge, medical schools and the most competitive universities.
Careers Lessons and Events
A programme of lessons is arranged throughout the lower 6th year to facilitate UCAS application and possible career choice. Amongst the items covered are, self evaluation, CV construction, the investigation of higher education options, and how to apply. Advice on course selection and the merits of the GAP year are also covered.
In February, all Year 12 pupils complete the Course-Finder exercise to assess likely interests and potential choices for courses in higher education. Many pupils are either unaware or undecided about possible choices, and the exercise that takes the form of self-evaluation is intended to prepare them well in advance.
In March, there is a Higher Education Evening for Year 12 pupils and parents to discuss application procedures, the value of work experience and advice on the application schedule and its preparation.
University Open Days
Attendance at university open days is encouraged especially between March and July. Heads of Department recommend potential Oxford and Cambridge candidates by Easter. At least one UCAS Fair or an open day at a university is arranged for the whole of Year 12 and supervised by staff. In addition, most students will attend university open days or careers experience courses individually.
By early July, the UCAS Apply system will become available and a half day will be designated and administered by the Director of Sixth Form and selected tutors to help students to log-in to the system and create an application account. The students will be expected to complete general details in the application in preparation for the new academic year and with assistance, to create the first draft of the personal statement.
The School believes guidance is important as students begin to learn to take responsibility for their research, planning and progress. Resources meet the needs of all individuals and careers lessons provide a balance between teacher-directed and self-directed work. Students are encouraged to carry out individualised research using the available careers reference material in the Library.
Teachers encourage discussion and sharing of ideas when appropriate to each lesson, conducted in a calm atmosphere where mutual respect and trust abound – an atmosphere that is conducive to students taking chances with their observations without fear of ridicule or feelings of failure.
The active involvement of students in their learning and research helps to foster independent thinking and informed planning which is crucial if they are to exploit the careers facilities to the maximum.