Careers Guidance

At Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy, we’re committed to preparing each student for life beyond education. We ensure students have access to impartial career advice and have access to employers who can help them consider their future options.

To ensure we offer our students the best career provisions, we are a member of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire career hub, where we work closely with the career and enterprise company to provide meaningful encounters with employers as well as supplementary services to support the careers programme.

We are very proud to have successfully retained our Careers quality assurance mark, which ensures that we provide the highest quality curriculum provisions for our pupils.

Career Vision:

“For all OSSMA students to have high aspirations for their future careers through a high-quality careers programme, enriched with opportunities that encourage students to achieve their full potential whilst expanding their awareness of the world of work beyond Stoke-on-Trent.”

Careers contacts:

They can all be contacted at the academy on 01782 882200.

We review our careers provision annually in conjunction with our Link Governor, as well as through our student voice. Our careers provision is externally monitored, and in 2021 we were successful in renewing our award for the Careers Mark. The review process is continued annually with a review meeting held with a member of the Local Authority’s career team. Our next review will take place in September 2024


Careers education starts in Year 7 through introductory lessons allowing the students to reflect on where they are now and on what they want to do in the future. 


Students continue with this in Year 8, investigating possible career routes and matching skills and qualities to suitable occupations. Stereotyping is addressed in each year group to ensure all students are aware of and fully embrace the importance of equal opportunities. A Year 8 Careers Fair is delivered for students to assist in Option Choices.


Students learn about the behaviours and expectations within different workforces as well as develop their knowledge of different career pathways. There is a focus on understanding the importance of careers, and this is reflected in the ESB assessments later in the year. 


Throughout year 10, students have access to a range of career activities, such as enterprise days and Unifrog interactions, to provide further information about careers and support their preferences for post-16.


Year 11 has a planned Careers Management Programme that is completed throughout the year. This includes investigating post-16 options; a Careers Fair is held in conjunction with Year 11 Parents’ Evening, which allows students to speak to various professionals and organisations in order to help with their post-16 choices. Students are regularly given open-day information during assembly and form time and are invited to attend workshops and presentations with outside speakers regarding various post-16 routes.

An assembly is delivered to Year 11 students about Apprenticeship opportunities, and information is given as to where additional information can be accessed. All Year 11 students will have 1:1 careers meetings with either our Careers Adviser or an Assistant Principal.


At OSSMA, we use Unifrog, which is an online careers platform that provides students with a variety of skills, knowledge-based and explorative tasks to support their careers knowledge. All students will have a login for the platform, and they are encouraged to discuss this with their parents/carers. Unifrog will be used with all the different age groups, and interaction tasks will be set regularly for students to complete and will be monitored by the pastoral team. 

Career form time sessions

At OSSMA, our students are involved in career form time sessions, which take place once a fortnight, to provide our students with further career knowledge as well as to encourage further exploration through the use of Unifrog, the online career platform.

Baker clause 

The Baker Clause is an amendment to the Technical and Further Education Act 2017. The Baker Clause states that schools must allow colleges and training providers access to all students in Years 8–13. Here at OSSMA, we meet this requirement by arranging career fayres and employment sessions throughout the different year groups. 

In support of the Baker clause, OSSMA promotes a variety of technical education qualifications and apprenticeships, and these are discussed where appropriate in curriculum time. To ensure that we as an academy support our students with their career education, our Career Lead meets regularly with the Local Authority to discuss careers and their changes to provide all students with the updated, relevant information which they desire. 

Here at OSSMA, we encourage external providers, employers and agencies to come into the academy and work with our students, providing meaningful employer encounters with our students. We promote the involvement of guest speakers across all subjects to speak to our students about different career pathways and their requirements. As the Career Lead, Mrs Hackney liaises with a multitude of employers to ensure that our students receive high-quality career education and interactions.

Should you wish for further information, please contact Mrs Hackney at [email protected].

Benchmark 1: A stable careers programme

At OSSMA, our students receive career lessons from Year 7 through Year 11 in PSHE lessons. These lessons provide a scaffolded approach to career provisions to fully support the students in making well-informed decisions about their futures. Also, students receive fortnightly career form time sessions where all year groups explore different career pathways and the relevant guidance needed to accomplish such a career.

Benchmark 2: Learning from the career and labour market

At OSSMA, our students have access to the current labour market during their form-time career sessions and opportunities to seek further support on parent’s evenings. Also, all our students have access to UNIFROG to explore their future aspirations further. In KS4, our students can access an onsite Career Advisor for further support for post-16 studies and opportunities.

Benchmark 3: Addressing the needs of the students.

At OSSMA, our career provisions challenge the stereotypical career pathways and raise the aspirations of our students. Also, we have a strong approach towards STEM within the academy and extra-curricular activities. Data monitoring takes place throughout the year to assess the impact of opportunities and provide relevant LMI for students that meet their needs and interests. Student access to UNIFROG enhances their exploration of needs.

Benchmark 4: Linking Careers to Curriculum

At OSSMA, all our subjects embed careers throughout their curriculums, enabling subject-specific pathways to be explored and referred to in lessons, especially in STEM subjects. We have staff subject career leads who promote the curiosity of careers within their subjects for students, raising the profile and aspirations of our students.

Benchmark 5: Encounters with employers

At OSSMA, each year group engages in WOW (world of work) weeks where the reality of work is brought to life. Interactions with different employers empower the student’s curiosity about work, supporting their decision-making. Various guest speakers and off-site opportunities occur throughout the year for each year group.

Benchmark 6: Experiences of workplaces

At our school, the Gatsby Benchmark 6 is addressed through various initiatives and activities aimed at providing students with encounters with further and higher education and real-life work experience. These efforts include career fairs, guest speaker sessions, college visits, opportunities in a working environment, and guidance counselling tailored to help students explore their post-secondary options and make informed decisions about their future pathways.

Benchmark 7: Encounters with further and higher education providers

At OSSMA, we work closely with our local colleges and further education routes to provide opportunities for our students to understand what each establishment would be like and support their informed decision-making. We work closely with our Enterprise Advisers and Enterprise Coordinators to ensure a strategic approach is applied.  Opportunities for enrichment within the career provision at OSSMA take place, and where needed, an adaptive approach is used to support the students further.

Benchmark 8: Personal Guidance

At OSSMA, our students have access to our Careers Advisor, Mrs Chadwick, who frequently meets with the students to arrange interviews, prepare for college, and monitor college applications. Also, our Career Advisor provides impartial career guidance to the students. We also have Mrs Hackney, a trained Career Leader who is a full-time teacher who provides further career provisions and supports the Careers advisor.  

Every school and college should have an embedded programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers, governors and employers.

Learning from career and labour market information

Every student and their parents should have access to good quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities. They will need the support of an informed adviser to make the best use of available information.

During PSHE time, each year group follows a tailored careers education programme. This includes information on different careers, information on how to seek careers, applications, interviews and the skills needed in the workplace.

We have incredibly strong links with our LEP, which includes half-termly meetings to review the provision and make use of the local labour market information to target areas of growth and development in Stoke and North Staffordshire.

Use the Careerometer from the link below to compare different jobs — salary, working hours, etc.

Click the dotted square. Type in the first career you think you might be interested in and select from the drop-down list, then add your second and third choices to see the comparison.

Students have different career guidance needs at different stages. Opportunities for advice and support need to be tailored to the needs of each student. A school’s careers programme should embed equality and diversity considerations throughout.

The PSHE programme is tailored to different year groups in order to ensure it is age-appropriate. As students progress through the year groups, the careers programme is tailored to suit the needs of their stage in life.

All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of future career paths.

During lessons, students focus on careers in their subject. E.g. careers in science. This gives students an insight into the careers they could pursue using their qualifications.

Every student should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of enrichment activities, including visiting speakers, mentoring and enterprise schemes.

Every student should have experience in the workplace through organised work visits, workshops with employers, or virtual work experiences to help them explore career opportunities and expand their networks.

All students should understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them. This includes academic and vocational routes and learning in schools, colleges, universities and the workplace.

A careers fair is held for Year 8 students to assist with options choices. Year 9 and 10 students spend time at both Keele and Staffordshire University, experiencing sessions to support Level 3 and A level qualifications. Application forms are completed in school and analysed to ensure that the best career advice is given.

Students are invited to attend higher education lectures and the Stoke Sixth Form College, hosted by Cambridge University, for a session on raising aspirations.

Every student should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a career adviser, who could be internal or external, provided they are trained to an appropriate level. These should be available whenever significant study or career choices are being made. They should be expected for all students but should be timed to meet their individual needs.

Students are interviewed by the school careers adviser. All Year 11 students receive a 1:1 interview with either the Careers Adviser or an Assistant Principal to ensure that they have high aspirations and are applying for the most suitable courses.

Our next review of careers information will take place in June/July 2022.

We have put together a document explaining all of the options available after you leave Year 11. Whether your choice is college, apprenticeships, or even if you have not yet decided on your career path, this document will help you make the right choice for you and give you the advice and guidance you need. 

You can download this document from the link below.