How two schools are putting digital systems at the heart of their careers programme
18 Feb 2022
Suzanne Lewis-Dale is the Deputy Head Teacher responsible for careers education at St Josephs Catholic Academy in Hebburn, South Tyneside, and Fran Ackroyd is the Careers Leader at Shuttleworth College in Lancashire. We hear how they both use the Compass+ tool to deliver more personalised careers education programmes to their students.
Fran began using the Compass+ tool when it came out “because of the promise of something better”. For Suzanne the motivation was similar: “I was new to Senior Leadership Team (SLT), and I wanted to track and collate what was going on across the whole school, and move away from endless spreadsheets.”
Both use the tool to plan out the range of different careers related activities that happens across their schools. They use it to see what different classes are experiencing, how this compared across different subjects, different years groups and by the characteristics of students, such as whether they have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Suzanne argues that “I want clarity around my student’s journey. Are we just focusing on Year 10 and Year 11, or are we front loading more activity in Year 7 where we know it can combat low aspirations about careers that are crystallised really early on? As I’ve taken over the role, I want a clear view so we can deliver the best support possible for our students and target support where it’s needed.”
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.Download the report
As I’ve taken over the role, I want a clear view so we can deliver the best support possible for our students and target support where it’s needed.
Suzanne Lewis-Dale, Deputy Head Teacher at St Josephs Catholic Academy
Fran agrees that planning helps to make sure the programme is more personalised, “not least because it saves time, and lets me put more time and energy into direct support to students.” But she also uses the tool to pull up an individual student’s record and see exactly what their careers education journey has been. “We’ve moved from tonnes of spreadsheets that were all out of date with errors, to something which shows me the picture of what a student has experienced. The visit they did in Year 7, the project in Year 8, the links our History and English teachers make to jobs and careers each year, and the talks they’ve heard from local businesses and former students. All of this means we’re more informed when we talk to parents, can use it during careers guidance talks, and get students to reflect back on it as well.”
Both Suzanne and Fran want Compass+ to continue to improve, and want to see even more automation, the system to sync up with other external providers and reduce the time it takes to update individual student activities. But both agree that digital systems are saving time, and helping their schools to plot the individual journey of a student more effectively when it comes to preparing them for the world of work.
If you don't have Compass+, find our more about this excellent free tool.
This article first appeared in our recent Trends in Careers Education report. Read more about how schools and colleges prepared their students for the world of work last year in Trends in Careers Education.