The careers programme at Prospect School recognises that for our students, decision making with regard to careers and college courses is often more circuitous than that acknowledged by the curriculum; it may be lengthy, highly personal, and subject to a kaleidoscopic range of influences.

This programme seeks to respond to these observations by providing opportunities for students to reflect as they learn; the lessons are dominated by the question, ‘what does this mean for me?’

The word ‘learning’, rather than ‘education’, seems to better reflect the scope of our programme, since we seek to develop these attitudes in a way that will be sustained. Our careers curriculum is adapted from programme called ‘Indigo, from Trotman’ (Crimson Publishing Ltd, 2018). ‘Indigo’ provides a rich bank of careers lessons, with over 60 detailed lesson plans and activities providing opportunities for students to reflect and understand how the learning corresponds with their own personal goals and aspirations; enabling us to prepare students for different progression routes and employability.

Student reflection needs to be underpinned by a rich knowledge base. The lessons address this pivotal aspect of the Gatsby Benchmarks, students are asked to think widely about opportunities and availability, they are challenged to think unstereotypically about jobs and courses. The lessons also address the broad targets for careers work outlined by the Department for Education in their recent ‘Careers Strategy’, namely students should be enabled to develop positive attitudes – towards themselves, their plans and employment.

Lessons encourage students to make their own, informed decisions, with a unique emphasis on developing positive character traits such as resilience and self-awareness. The ‘Indigo’ programme has allowed us to adapt learning from a framework of lesson plans designed for KS3 through to KS5, and we have begun to create a bespoke programme that meets the needs and learning abilities of our students at Prospect School. This bespoke programme is currently being delivered to all students at KS4. All students engaged in the careers programme keep a ‘Careers File’ to store written work, research and individual reflections, all of which can be built upon. Notably, many of the lessons focus on knowledge of self and each student’s learning may be of considerable help when writing a CV in year 11. It could be argued that a good CV is the best possible success indicator of the entire programme.