How Gloucestershire schools can support school leavers

As the end of the academic year fast approaches, St Edward's Cheltenham is offering advice on how schools and parents across Gloucestershire can implement strategies to help support school leavers as they embark on their next chapter.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published
Helping students feel prepared to leave school and transition into the next chapter of their lives.

Imagining life after school can be scary and students often express various anxieties and concerns about entering the big wide world.

Some of the most common worries that crop up focus on career and job opportunities, financial independence, higher education, social challenges, academic performance and education — and in some cases, moving away from home.  

Tackling this, St Edward's School Cheltenham has a number of strategies to help its students to manage their anxieties regarding their next steps. 

Headmaster, Matthew Burke, says that it's important to remember that these anxieties are common and part of the natural process of transitioning into adulthood.

'Seeking support from family, friends, mentors, or career advisors can help school leavers navigate these challenges and gain confidence as they embark on their journey in the big wide world.

'And schools can play a vital role in helping students feel prepared to leave and transition into the next chapter of their lives.'

'Our careers lead offers career guidance and our well being team offers pastoral support to help our students explore different career options, understand their strengths and interests, and make informed decisions about their future paths.'

Burke further explains that for students considering higher education, they provide information about universities and the application process. They also assist with entrance exams and offer resources for scholarships and financial aid.

The school incorporates life-skills education into the curriculum, covering topics like budgeting, time management, cooking and basic household chores, which will equip students with essential skills for independent living.

Alongside this, St Edward's provides opportunities for work experience that give its students a taste of the real world and help them gain practical skills and insights into potential career fields.

Further helping to set children up for a positive future, the school offers mentorship programs; help to build resilience and coping strategies; guest speakers and workshops from different professions; networking opportunities; personal development programs; and more, to make sure students feel confident leaving school and embarking on their journey into the working world. 

While schools do their best to prepare school leavers, parents play a crucial role in easing their children's worries as they transition from school to the next phase of their lives.

Some specific things parents can do to provide support and comfort during this time include encouraging open and honest communication with your child and creating a safe space for them to share their anxieties, concerns, and aspirations without judgment; and being an active listener when your child expresses their worries — avoiding interrupting or dismissing their feelings — and validate their emotions.

It's important to celebrate their accomplishments and successes, both big and small, too. Recognising their achievements can boost their confidence.

On top of this, offer reassurance and be a supportive presence, help with practicalities, model resilience, encourage independence and share your own experiences — after all, we were there once, too.  

Burke said: 'By implementing these supportive measures, we feel we can better equip our students with the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to navigate the challenges of leaving school and entering the world beyond.'

In partnership with St Edward's Cheltenham  |

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