“I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.”
Preparing for life after Heathfield is a collective responsibility, with the Careers Adviser, Director of Sixth Form, Heads of House, tutors, subject staff and the Headmistress all taking an active role in guiding the girls. Individual guidance about careers is integral to the ethos of the school.
Careers education and guidance begins in Form III when girls are helped to make informed choices about GCSE subjects, and is further developed in Forms IV and V. Prior to choosing their AS subjects, girls are given a full programme of guidance, including the Careers Brief programme, which assesses pupils’ interests and provides the basis for discussion with advisers and parents.
Girls are expected to arrange work experience placements after their GCSE examinations to help develop qualities and skills which will enhance their career prospects. Preparation for this includes selection, application and interview techniques, and each girl is given a booklet to record her experiences. Those studying languages in the Sixth Form often do work experience abroad.
In the Sixth Form, the main focus is on application to higher education. To enable the girls to make informed choices regarding courses and universities, a full programme of preparation is provided, beginning in the Lent term in the Lower Sixth and continuing until applications are submitted in the Upper VI.
Many speakers visit the school, representing a wide range of career options. These speakers are often successful women, including Old Girls, who are excellent role models for the girls. The school makes use of several of the Cambridge Occupational Analysts (COA) aptitude tests and is a member of the Independent Schools Careers Organisation (ISCO), which provides valuable support.
The school has recently introduced a popular annual Networking Evening in London for current girls to network with Old Girls representing a variety of careers.