Careers Education and Guidance

general There is no such thing as a predictable career path for a Northampton High School girl. You’ll meet them everywhere – making their mark, being creative and getting heard. They possess the essential transferable skills needed for adapting to an uncertain economy and professional landscape, essential qualities for these times of change ahead of us. The foundation for this confidence and ability to lead begins in school, with the Inspiring Futures Programme.

We do not expect our students to know exactly what they want to study at university or what they want to be when they have left education; the emphasis is on discovery and keeping an open mind. We encourage our students to be curious and enquiring by throwing exciting chances in their way whether it’s during the Enterprise days held for girls in Key stages 2, 3 and 4, or when speaking to a professional during a Speed Networking event. Careers and Guidance is embedded within all aspects of school life, from specifically designed days and events, to the underlying origins of many of the lessons that are taught across all faculties. Many faculties organise guest speakers to expose the girls to more complex areas of certain employment networks. These vary from year to year and allow girls to build up a collection of considerations from which they may begin to narrow down to their final choices.

Constantly feeding in ideas and experiences, allows the students here to make informed decisions about their futures, from choosing their GCSE’s to choosing an appropriate degree course. We are firmly committed to Careers and Guidance as it remains a dynamic and essential aspect of a well-rounded education for all girls at Northampton High.

Looking Beyond (Key stage 5)

Looking Beyond

We offer a structured and bespoke guidance programme for 6th form students, beginning at the very start of year 12 where the girls join up with two other GDST schools in Cambridge, for a day of workshops aimed specifically at helping them to think in a logical and focussed manor about the path they might choose once they have left Northampton High.

Being part of the 6th form at Northampton High gives every girl the opportunity to thrive by developing her repertoire of work experience, both externally and through the GDST. Girls have access to large companies such as Nomura, PwC and Rolls Royce, to name a few. These opportunities may be for just a day or for a month placement over the summer holidays. Regardless of length, the benefits are clear and girls come away with numerous ideas as well as developing their skill set further.

We also offer a range of workshops, volunteering, and enterprise projects that help girls broaden their education and make strong UCAS applications at the beginning of year 13. In year 12 the girls have the opportunity to take part in a social enterprise exercise with Bright Green, linking closely with Tanzania.

Making Decisions (KS4)Making Decisions

At KS4 the girls have already narrowed their subjects slightly for GCSE but will also be looking ahead to A level options. As soon as they start their GCSE’s we begin to look ahead to the next stage of transition, pulling in a range of employability skills through the KS4 Schemes of Work that are taught formally in lesson time. This includes; CV writing, positive and professional online profiles (including Linked In), Interview technique and cover letter writing. This is consolidated at the end of Year 10 with a focus day and series of practical sessions run by Sykes and Co, a local recruitment agent.

In year 10 the girls also have the opportunity to further explore the idea of enterprise through a social enterprise exercise with Bright Green, linking closely with Tanzania.

Guest speakers and a range of workshops are provided for students across the key stage to investigate individual career paths and issues surrounding employment, in greater detail. These vary on an annual basis but we ensure that the key elements are covered for each girl.

Speed networking forms another opportunity to question the day to day activities associated with certain employment types, and also gives girls a valuable insight into the best pathways to take.

Knowing Myself (KS3)Knowing Myself

The focus of guidance at KS3 is to help students form a clearer idea in their own minds of who they are. Forming an identity is as much about knowing who you are not or what you don’t like, as it is about who you are and what you do like. In establishing these, we can then look forward to making choices that are appropriate for development on an entirely personal and individual basis for each girl. This takes place through a journey of discovery to enable students to reach their own conclusions.

Girls are also given exposure to the idea of Enterprise. Developing an ‘Enterprise Mindset’ is similar to that of an Open Mindset and helps the girls to see their own potential and to access the extent of their capabilities. This is introduced through work with Bright Green Enterprise, where students complete a ‘Dragon’s Den’ Style enterprise day in teams.

Formal careers lessons are embedded within the wider PSHCE schemes of work at this stage and focus on introducing a wide range of employment types to the students.  

Looking Ahead (KS 1 and 2)

Looking Ahead

The ‘Looking Ahead’ guidance programme builds on a focus in Early Years on ‘People who help us in school’ where members of the school community such as the nurse visit the girls and talk about their role in school or the girls visit other departments such as the kitchens or senior science labs.

In KS1 girls move their focus outwards to people who help us in our community but by KS2 girls are beginning to develop a clear sense of their own identity and learning about what they enjoy doing most, be it drawing, running or joining in a music group. Within the guidance programme we aim to enable girls to make links between learning in school and the world of work, encourage them to value service as an important part of being a citizen and to broaden their minds to the opportunities available to them. Parents and volunteers are invited into school to talk to the girls about a wide range of careers from archaeology to journalism. The girls enjoy following up the talks with questions and further research.

Alongside these experiences which sit within our PSHE curriculum, enterprise is fostered through projects in the Design & Technology curriculum where girls design, produce and market items such as biscuits and saleable gifts to raise money for charity. This is developed further in Year 6 with the Bright Green Enterprise day, ‘Green Dragons’.

Our annual residential trips play an important part in developing the girl’s ability to work as a team and the enrichment programme broadens their understanding of the opportunities available to them, perhaps enjoying a hands on science workshop or outside with ‘Wild Explorers’.

Emphasis on performance and speaking in public through plays, concerts, dance or class assemblies fosters confidence and the ability to communicate with clarity. Key skills in the world of work.


The GDST Alumnae Network GDST alumnae network

On leaving school or entering the Sixth Form, students become life-long members of the GDST Alumnae Network. The Network is a community of over 50 000 former students of the GDST, and a powerful resource for networking, careers and university assistance. Sixth Formers can benefit from  help with sourcing work experience with alumnae and opportunities to apply for paid internships via the Network.

Link to GDST Alumnae Network website.