How and Why Employers are Engaged to Support Student Learning and Progression in High-Performing Independent Schools

This seminar focused on the role of employer engagement in independent schools.

Abstract: The seminar addressed three questions: 1) to what extent do high-performing independent schools engage with employers to support pupil learning?, 2) why do they do it? and 3) how do they go about it?
It drew upon data generated from a range of sources: six structured interviews with careers advisors, teachers and head teachers at high-performing independent schools, desk research on twenty high-performing independent schools, a desk-top review of Russell Group university admissions criteria and YouGov survey data of 1,002 young adults (aged 19-24) in Great Britain on work related learning whilst in full-time education.

Findings from the data showed that a high proportion of the independent schools engaged employers to support pupil learning and progression in a variety of ways – enterprise activities, work experience, careers advice, business mentoring, work-place visits, and inviting in visiting speakers.

Responses from the interviewees suggested that schools engaged with employers primarily to help pupils: get on to university courses of choice, decide on career goals and how to achieve them, and develop employability skills.  These schools are distinctive in their ability to access support from employers via governor, alumni, parental and teacher networks.

The seminar concluded by presenting new findings from the survey data which suggested that pupils from independent schools found work related activities significantly more useful in terms of helping them to decide on a careers, securing employment and getting into university compared to their peers at comprehensive state schools.
Download the seminar presentation.