Katie’s Start story at Whitcliffe Mount School

Katie Bland, assistant headteacher, explains how Start has transformed careers provision at Whitcliffe Mount School.

It’s so easy to use.

We trialled Start with our Year 10’s in the Spring Term to ensure it was the right online careers platform for us and it was evident very quickly it was perfect. The school was working towards the Quality in Careers Standard at the time and Start helped us to achieve some of the Gatsby benchmarks as well as support our students further. Since September we’ve introduced it to all staff and students from Year 7 to 11. It’s so easy to use and this term we’ll be introducing it to parents and carers.

It helps us to focus lessons.

We’re using Start as part of our PSCHE curriculum. Each student uses it to personalise their career and study interests. From this, we can run reports to see what’s popular or of interest and how this changes over time. This helps us to focus our lessons more on the careers that are of interest to our students, as well as plan a series of trips and external visitors coming in to school to discuss their career field.

It supports conversations with students.

We use Start to support staff conversations with students about their future. Our form tutors have an important role in the careers programme, particularly in supporting Year 10 and Year 11 with their UCAS progress. Start allows us to have more personalised conversations that are meaningful to the student – we see this having a really powerful impact on staff and student dialogue because of the information Start provides.

It helps us do things differently.

We’ve recently been awarded our ‘Quality in Careers Standard’ and Start helped us to demonstrate that we offer meaningful encounters with businesses as well as colleges and apprenticeship providers. After using Start in Year 10, we’ve analysed the interests of our current Year 11’s and run a careers fair that includes the most popular interests right now. In the past, we’ve invited companies that although are very successful are not what our students are interested in. Start has allowed us to do things differently.

It will improve our student’s future.

Our plan is to use Start to make a difference to students’ success once they leave Whitcliffe Mount School. Using the Locker feature on Start, students can log and record all of their careers encounters. This will then be incredibly powerful when they then start applying for colleges, sixth forms, employment and university. We will also then share this information with parents and carers so they have a full understanding of what their son or daughter has experienced during their school life at Whitcliffe Mount School.