Uppingham School, providing support through an extensive careers advice programme

Uppingham School is a co-educational independent boarding school for 13 -18 year olds. Pupils are attracted to the school’s high calibre of teachers and extensive support structure.

Pupils are encouraged to engage with subjects across a wide range of academic disciplines, with an emphasis on identifying and bringing out their strengths. This feeds into the school’s extensive programme of careers advice.

Starting in Year 10, pupils meet with the school’s careers adviser in small groups to discuss opportunity awareness, and to start to link interests and skills to different career areas.  This involves using the careers resources as well as the interactive on-line Kudos careers software.

In Year 11 pupils sit the COA (Cambridge Occupational Analysts) Cambridge Profile aptitude tests and a Preview career interest questionnaire.  These are combined to produce a report on career interests and how closely they are matched to the individual’s skills.  The reports are discussed in a one-to-one interview, to help pupils consider suitable AS subjects.  After this, the careers adviser meets the pupils in small groups in order for them to ask additional questions/conduct further research.

All Year 11 and Year 12 pupils attend a careers and higher education convention at the school.  The school has over 20 career areas represented (including banking, property, law, psychology, medicine etc.) so that pupils can meet with professionals and gain advice about routes into these careers.  Most representatives have some link already with the school either as parents or previous pupils.  This networking is also an opportunity to gain work experience contacts.  Individual school departments also have a range of external speakers that can act as a source of advice, e.g. business, engineering and modern languages.

The school holds an annual gap year event where it invites gap year organisations to inform current pupils of the benefits of a gap year and the wide range of opportunities.  Many of these include volunteering, work experience placements, travel, gaining qualifications, community service etc.

As a boarding school, pupils cannot do work experience during term time.  However, a huge amount of work experience takes place in the holidays (especially in the summer for pupils in Year 11 and 12).  Most pupils organise this through their own contacts.  The school advertises work experience taster courses and company internships schemes through the Student Ladder website and its membership of Futurewise/Inspiring Futures.

The alumni team at Uppingham provides help to support girls and boys who want experience by matching up pupils to the alumni database.  There is also a database of current parents who can help pupils with work experience.  Any work experience/shadowing is reviewed by the school, in that pupils have to write a brief report of their experience.  Under the umbrella term of ‘School for Life’ the alumni team offer an ongoing resource for those who have left the school as well – such help can be in the form of networking events targeted at specific careers or through setting up individual meetings with alumni who can offer mentoring, work experience or general advice.


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