Our Year 9 Raising Aspirations Evening was well attended and, with students due to confirm their GCSE pathways later this term, the event was designed to look that little bit further ahead and put the immediate decisions into a long-term context.

The key focus of the evening was to explore the UCAS and National Apprenticeship websites so that students and families could identify the benchmarks needed to succeed in post-16 life.

The UCAS website (www.ucas.com) is fundamental to any student considering university and not only includes the application process but offers a wide range of information and guidance to assist in decision-making.

The national apprenticeship website (www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship) gives general guidance and a directory to spot the best apprenticeships close to your home. There are a vast number within 20 miles of our school – with our train links to Birmingham being a big help – and careers in Human Resources or Hairdressing, Digital Marketing or Engineering or Dental Nursing or Accountancy are all readily available. You can even go into law or the nuclear industry via this route.

The high costs of university means that the apprenticeship route is an attractive option – with the idea of doing a fully-funded degree via an apprenticeship a great plan.

Carrie Cain, Assistant Headteacher, said: “The key to making a successful choice is to familiarise yourself with the options early and to make sure you hit the necessary milestones to reach your destination. It is important to remember that competition is high so every grade you can grab puts you a step ahead of the competition. It is crucial to realise that there is a direct link between the classroom and the world of work.”