Welcome to the Careers and Life-Long Learning Department. The Careers Centre is at the heart of OHS. Come and visit us soon.
We welcome parents into the department to talk about their own careers and lives. Contact Cathy O’Neill by email by clicking here.
Hannah Mayer and Miriam Houlton Life Lunch
On Friday October 12th Hannah Mayer and Miriam Houlton ran a Life Lunch for the Sixth Form. Miriam left Oxford High School in 2005 to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics before working for Goldman Sachs and then joining the Civil Service. She is currently working for the Foreign Office in Brussels. Hannah also left OHS in 2005 and is now working on the Civil Service Fast Track at the Department for International Development. The Sixth Formers enjoyed the opportunity to hear about the variety of careers the Civil Service can offer, and to put their questions to Miriam and Hannah.
Rob Gifford China Editor of the Economist
On October 9th Rob Gifford, the China Editor of the Economist, came to talk to Sixth Formers about his life and work. He spent a year in Beijing as part of his degree before joining the BBC where he worked for many years. He has worked as a correspondent in Beijing, London and Shanghai, and has written a book descibing a 5000 km journey he made along China’s Route 312. Rob was more than happy to talk about his career to the enthusiastic audience, and to answer their questions.
Laura Herman Life Lunch
On September 18th Laura Herman came to OHS to run a Life Lunch session. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature in 2007 she took a gap year to work and travel before joining the Teach First graduate scheme in 2008. She was placed in an Academy school in outer London where she taught English to secondary school pupils for three years, becoming second in department during her second year. Since 2011 she has been working for Teach First within the Graduate Recruitment department as a project manager and strategist. The students thoroughly enjoyed meeting Laura and listening to an interesting talk on graduate employability.
Hannah Rickman Life Lunch
Senior school girls attended Life as a Medic, a Life Lunch session run by Hannah Rickman on 17th September. Hannah left OHS in 2006 to study Medicine at Cambride University, which included a 10 week research project at California Institue of Technology and 2 months working in a hospital in Malawi. Hannah is currently based in the Acute Assessment Unit at Kingston Hospital, but was able to give up her time to share her thoughts and experiences with girls from her old school.
A sparkling set of GCSE grades
Students at Oxford High School are celebrating excellent GCSE results again this year. “Over 92% of the grades are A* or A”, said Judith Carlisle, Head at OHS.
“Oxford High School girls show tremendous interest in their studies across the full range of subjects and it is their enthusiasm, in partnership with inspirational teaching, that puts the sparkle into the A* grades.
60 out of 88 students achieved more than 9 A* and A grades, and only 6 grades out of 864 were lower than a B! I am sure that they and their families will be delighted.”
Several subjects at the school have a clean sweep of A*/A results, from relatively small numbers taking, for example Ancient Greek, Mandarin or Design Technology, to the whole year group achieving A*/A in English Literature.
In summary, the results achieved are:
- A* grades – 64.7%
- A grades – 27.55%
- 8 or more A*-C grades (including English and Maths) – 100%
“ The breadth and depth of these results will put the students on course for top quality A level results in two years’ time”, concluded Mrs Carlisle.
Personnel and Ethos
Cathy O’Neill was appointed to the post of Head of Careers and Co-ordinator of Lifelong Learning at Oxford High School in 2010, although she was Head of English here for many years. She enters the new role with a real sense of excitement. Angela Finch, in her distinguished career as Head of Careers at OHS, has given Careers a high profile in the last ten years, securing and then sustaining the prestigious Quality Award for Excellence in Careers Education and Guidance.
Cathy is committed to providing our girls with the best possible skills, understanding and knowledge to plan and engage with their own lifelong learning and career development. She comes with a wealth of experience as an English and Drama teacher and a form tutor in all sections of the schools as well as in her previous schools in London. She is an experienced advisor for students applying to university, having recently researched and devised a programme to widen access to top universities. She is a good listener and enjoys learning new things herself.
Now, more than ever, careers will not be for life but instead our daughters will be forging inventive and changing patterns of work and family life and doing jobs that don’t yet exist! They will become, we hope, committed members of their communities and contribute fully to them. All this will mean that they will need qualities of flexibility, stamina, intellectual inventiveness, a willingness to question and a strong urge to work in groups as well as for themselves.
The Careers programme in school will not give her answers to what she should do with her life. Instead we will help her to become confident at knowing herself well and developing her social and imaginative abilities so that she can make her own decisions, not just when she is choosing her university course but throughout her life.
Facilities and Resources
From January 2004 we have enjoyed our newly created Careers Centre which lies firmly in the heart of the school as befits the central role of careers for the future of our students. This is well resourced with computer facilities and up-to-date reference materials relating to careers and Higher Education opportunities. The Centre is available for use by all girls throughout the school day from 08:00 to 18:00. Ms O’Neill’s office is within the Centre and she is available for appointments (sign up on the timetable outside her door or drop her a note or email), or informal drop-in sessions. She is in school every day but works a rather shorter day on Friday. Check the Careers office door for details.
Our girls are entitled to, and provided with:
- Impartial advice and guidance (with referral for specialist support in response to identified need)
- Comprehensive, clear, accurate and objective information about the full range of learning opportunities open to them
- Continuous and managed support
- A planned progressive programme of careers education activities which meet their needs
Specific delivery on careers is through the PSHCE/Tutorial programme. Careers work starts in Year 7 when the girls acquire skills for decision making and action planning, skills which they practise and refine throughout the school. In 2007 we introduced a Careers Day for Year 8 and this is now an established part of our programme. They complete some aspects of The Real Game and make decisions within small community groups. Year 9 follow a short course entitled Preparing for Choices. This supports their GCSE decision making and they use the Kudos programme to match their current interests to possible careers areas. Work-related learning starts in Year 9 when the girls participate in our scheme of Take Our Daughters to Work Day and, in June 2009, we introduced a new initiative of an Enterprise / Enrichment Day for them. Year 10 build on their knowledge of the facilities and resources available to them and we have extended our links with ‘Make Your Mark’ and their enterprise challenges. Year 10 have a Careers Day at the end of the Summer Term which in 2011 took the form of a Pressure Group Day in which students in groups bid for money from the EU. At the start of the Autumn Term in Year 11 there is feedback from the profiling and all girls have two individual interviews as part of the Cambridge Occupational Analysts programme. There is a week of work experience for Y11after their GCSE examinations. In the Sixth Form there is explicit emphasis on the Higher Education process. There is the opportunity to participate in the Cambridge Occupational Analysts’ Centigrade programme and further experiences of the world of work are encouraged.
Investors in Careers
Our assessor was really impressed with our students and the work of the department. She commented in her report:
The school has adopted a creative and innovative approach to careers education and guidance and there is clear evidence of systematic evaluation and continuous improvement. A number of girls commented on the helpful and student centred approach of the Head of Careers in enabling them to further their career goals. It is also clear that the wider school community is involved in enabling students to do this.
The strengths of the department were identified as being:
- Innovative approach to careers education
- Evaluation and continuous improvement
- Head of Careers and Lifelong Learning
- Whole school commitment to CEIAG
- Portfolio evidence and vision of careers and lifelong learning
Each time we are re-assessed for the award we need to select an area of our careers education programme to illustrate innovation, development and commitment to continuous improvement.
This is the assessor’s comment in 2011:
The focus for innovative practice is lifelong learning. The examples given were the Careers Fair and Life Lunches. For Life Lunches, the school invites women to come in and talk about the whole of their lives and not just their working lives. A range of women from a variety of professions is invited including younger women. These talks are accessible to all girls, but in practice it tends to be 6th formers and some year 10s and 11s who attend. The school Careers Fair last year was based on global change and addressed changing demographics and the resulting length of careers i.e. the fact that this generation of students will be working far longer. The fair was based around a number of themes including ‘Conversations with the Future’, ‘One World’ and ‘Guides to Life’ Student from Year 9 upwards attend the fair and the feedback from students interviewed for the IiC assessment were very positive.
Of course, since we have been assessed we have held our successful Careers Event in February. So it’s an on-going process of development. I am grateful to all the students, staff and parents who make the life of the Careers and Life-Long Learning department at OHS so vibrant. I hope to welcome even more parents into school to take part in our work or to offer students work experience placements. Do email me for a chat about how you might get involved.