Career and University Support
During the course of your school career you should be generally moving towards a useful and well-chosen role in life, and Woodbridge is there to guide you towards forging a path that feels exactly right for you and makes the most of your skills and ability. You may have a very clear idea of what you want to study because you have a definite career plan that necessitates certain subjects, such as chemistry for medicine. On the other hand you may have no idea. Whichever situation you are in, we will help you. It is a well-worn adage that if you find the right career, and you will find yourself never having to work a day in your life.
Director of Sixth Form and Careers: Isobel Tyndale-Brown
The Careers Department gives advice about which options are open to students with regard to work experience, apprenticeships and future careers. It also helps students with applications to foreign universities. The Department contributes to the PSHE programme from Year 9 onwards, and is in the process of developing programmes for the younger years. The Careers Department also works closely with the Head of Further Education in supporting students’ applications to UCAS.
The Department is also bringing in some new and exciting ventures including careers lunches and dinners. These will be informal gatherings with selected Old Woodbridgians who are invited to come back and share their wealth of experience with relevant students. We have also instigated a ‘drop-down’ morning for Year 12 students to look at the various options available to them, including higher apprenticeships and gap years, as well as imparting practical advice on CVs, interviews and surviving university. We work closely with COA (Cambridge Occupational Analysts) and Year 12 students have the opportunity to sit the COA Centigrade test, while all Year 11 students benefit from a careers test which enables them to learn how to research various interests and connect them with possible careers; they then each have individual meetings to discuss their options. Similarly, Year 12 students sit a programme that helps them with the choices of courses and universities.
This Department is fast growing and this is essential to keep up with an increasingly changing world, where careers and jobs are not as fixed or as certain as they once were. We are lucky to have ties with many OWs, parents, and local businesses, who are willing to help with advice, experience and the practicalities of applying for jobs in a variety of manners. Careers fairs and other exciting projects are in the pipeline.
Head of University Application Support: Ben Edwards
Any reasonable school can support its students through the process of applying to university, and no school can resist basking in reflective glory when one of its stellar students secures one of the most competitive opportunities. But that isn’t where the most important work is done.
Now that the supply and demand of university places is in potential undergraduates’ favour, it is even more necessary to focus on the research and reflection dimensions of higher education application. We aim to do this in close partnership with parents, with the School’s expertise complemented by the Tutor’s and the parents’ knowledge of the individual.
One of the most rewarding features of supporting aspirations in higher education is seeing remarkable personal development, sometimes from those who back in younger years seemed more unlikely scholars. Hearing of a pupil who has achieved first class honours despite believing “I never imagined I could go to university, let alone succeed”, or meeting up with a young student transformed by new opportunities which the School has equipped her to fully exploit, are the very best bits of the job.
At Woodbridge we make every effort to continue supporting our pupils as they move on from Year 13. Moving from personalised care to almost complete autonomy at university is an unfortunate feature of the British university system, and by continuing to offer advice we aim to maintain the working relationships nurtured at school. We are often asked to write references for pupils into their mid-twenties, because aside from their parents, we are still the people that know them best.
Adults have learned that life doesn’t proceed in a straightforward way for ever,; it is very stressful for young adults when what seemed like firm plans suddenly have to be changed, and that is when the quality of our guidance is really tested. We hope that the following examples show best how we can help to keep creating opportunities, and so maintain the confident engagement in life and learning which is generated at school;
“E drifted through GCSEs without much inspiration, but in exploring beyond his A levels, reading more widely, and sharing ideas with his tutor, a passionate interest in anthropology evolved and with this real academic maturity and engagement. This resulted in a university place at Goldsmith’s which more than repaid the faith shown in him. As his mother says “We are so proud of his results. It was amazing to see the progress he has made and I know it is due to his hard work and determination, but the School’s encouragement has been essential.”
“L had a very strong academic record and matchless commitment to so much extra-curricular enterprise. Perhaps too busy elsewhere to really consider his ambitions properly, he applied to a range of prestigious economics courses but as not successful. His response was typically positive, proactively organising to teach sport at our South African exchange school, whilst developing a vocation to study medicine. Four unconditional offers out of four confirmed his suitability and to the continuation of an outstanding academic career.”
Another pupil, T, went on to American Studies and music journalism, despite the fact mock results in year 12 indicated potential A level failure.
R gained strong A level results and at the School fashion show debuted a fantastic fashion collection. The pupil was brave enough to follow her heart, rejecting Russell Group universities and choosing instead to take a foundation course in fashion design at Newcastle, then Middlesex university for her first degree. R then went on to win the top prize for menswear at London Fashion Week’s “Fashion Awareness Direct” student competition. A Glittering career awaits!”