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How a Buckinghamshire school puts careers at the heart of the curriculum

06 Jan 2022

In the article below, we hear how The Misbourne School in Buckinghamshire is putting careers at the heart of the curriculum and how they engage their students. 

The Misbourne is a secondary school and sixth form based in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. Helen Hill has led their careers programme for eight years, and she’s seen careers education become more important for the school. “Careers is seen as a bigger priority. As a careers coordinator, I was on my own, now I feel part of a wider team – with more support in school from the senior leadership team and out of school from our Careers Hub.”

Linking the wider curriculum to jobs and careers is a key focus at The Misbourne. “All our Curriculum Leaders are great, and take responsibility for ensuring that careers is embedded in their scheme of work. Many staff organise their own activities but I am always available to discuss ideas and provide contacts from industry to support delivery.”

Students in Year 8 maths classes worked with a local computer company to learn about data analysis. Helen said: “Students had to complete a real-world data analysis task from the company, present their findings as though they were in a board meeting, and then be judged by the company’s staff. The staff were also ex-students from the school, so our young people could ask them about their career journey.”

Read our Trends in Careers Education report

Find out more about how schools and colleges prepared their students for the world of work last year.

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We’re making sure every young person learns about careers in every subject, every year they’re in school, so they’re as prepared as possible when they leave the school gates.

Helen Hill, The Misbourne

In GCSE photography, teachers invited a medical photographer and an RAF photographer in to support their class. This helped them see how the skills they were learning applied in a business environment.

Talking about how careers in the curriculum has developed, Helen said: “One of the things that lifted me this year was when I was walking around the school in advance of our open evening and I realised that departments like modern foreign languages, geography, ICT and science all had noticeboards showing where their subjects can take students in the future. These teachers had taken careers into their own hearts, as this wasn’t requested by SLT or me!”

The Misbourne puts careers in the curriculum to improve teaching and learning too: “Yes it’s about firing up our young people’s imaginations. But it’s also about better teaching, making lessons more enjoyable and subjects easier to learn and understand. Careers talks can be great and have a role, but our Curriculum Leaders embrace projects that involve local businesses, like the supportive accountants who come in to work with our business studies sixth form students.”

Helen also uses the Compass+ digital platform to monitor how each subject is doing. “I audit each department once a term to check what career plans they have and input how careers is being incorporated into each subject area. We’re making sure every young person learns about careers in every subject, every year they’re in school, so they’re as prepared as possible when they leave the school gates.”

This article first appeared in our Trends in Careers Education report. Read more about how schools and colleges prepared their students for the world of work last year by clicking here.

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