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Learning from School 21: employer engagement in practice

Representatives from four leading North East schools will visit School 21, a pioneering school in Stratford, East London, to learn about the school’s approach to embedding employer engagement in the curriculum and share best practice from the North East schools’ own experience of implementing the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks which are being piloted here in the North East.

The four schools and colleges making the visit have all made excellent progress as part of the national pilot and have developed the systems, structures, partnerships and approaches required to deliver good career guidance and enable all of their students to make fully informed decisions about their future career choices.

Following very successful practice-sharing visits to the national pilot in the North East by the Edge Foundation, the Ark Academies Trust and schools from across the country, the four North East schools will visit School 21 to share their experiences of delivering good career guidance, discuss good practice and explore opportunities to collaborate.

The visit is being organised by The Edge Foundation, an independent education charity which works to raise the status of technical and professional education.

Olly Newton, Director of Policy and Research at The Edge Foundation, explains more about the forthcoming visit.

School 21, which teaches pupils aged from 4 to 18, presents a strong example of employer engagement and the work it does fits well with the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks which are being piloted by schools in the North East – it is representatives from these schools who will be visiting School 21 with us during March.

Students at School 21 spend some of their time working with an employer on a practical project – this could be working with a local restaurant to design a menu and work with the chefs, for example. The students learn practical skills in a business environment.

Every year 10 student spends half a day a week in the workplace and for a term and a half they are tasked with solving a real problem for a real organisation.

During our visit we’ll be spending time in the school and seeing some of these projects in action. We’ll hear from Peter Hyman, the Executive Head Teacher and one of the school’s founders. We’ll also meet some of the members of the school team who are involved in developing links with employers, and we’ll get the chance to talk to some of the school’s year 10 students.

It’s a chance to understand how the school manages to have such a strong emphasis on employer engagement and to gain some practical ideas about how to put this into action –could schools here in the North East make links with employers and structure their students’ time in a similar way?

The North East schools which will be taking part in the visit are Harton Technology College, King Edward VI School, East Durham College and Excelsior Academy.