January 2013

During this term your son/daughter will have to make important decisions about their future.  As the school’s Careers Advisers, we can give advice to pupils to help them make appropriate choices.  Advice for parents on ‘Helping your children with their career’ is available on the Skills Developmnet Scotland website at http://www.myworldofwork.co.uk/ .

Summer 2013 school leavers

If your son/daughter is considering leaving school in May, please ask them to let their guidance teacher know as soon as possible.  We will then arrange to see all leavers in school during this term. 

It is very important that pupils who are leaving school this summer begin now to consider their career plans.  The following options are available.


Applications for college courses should be made this term, preferably by the end of March.  Most college courses are vocational and lead to qualifications and training in a specific area of work, so before applying to college pupils need to consider which type of work interests them.  Pupils can request a careers interview at any time to discuss their career ideas and receive advice on college as an option.

For help with applications, click the mind map below.


School leavers who plan to go directly into work should begin to look for job vacancies from February/March onwards.  Since many jobs for school leavers are not advertised, it is often necessary to send speculative applications to potential employers.   For some areas of work eg the construction trades, applicants have to take an industry entrance test.  This too should be arranged this term.  Pupils who need advice on finding work should request a careers interview this term. 


Some school leavers may need additional help to go into employment.  The government funded  training programmes provide this support.  The Careers Advisers together with the guidance staff will identify any pupils who might need this extra help and discuss the training available.


Winter 2013 school leavers

Any pupil, currently in fourth year, whose 16th birthday is after 30 September 2012, must remain in education until 20th December 2012.  However many Winter Leavers decide not to return to school for fifth year and instead take a Winter Leavers course at college or arrange a work experience placement between August and December.  Winter Leavers college courses provide vocational training.  Information about Winter Leaver courses EdinburghCollege will be available in school and on the college’s website www.edinburghcollege.ac.uk  later this term and application should be made by early May.    Pupils who want to do work experience have to arrange their own placement and provide details of this to their guidance teacher for approval.  The school’s Careers Advisers will arrange to see Winter Leaver pupils in school either this term or before exam leave next term.  Winter leavers can also request an interview in school at any time.

Staying on for fifth year

Pupils who plan to stay on at school will confirm their choice of subjects for fifth year by completing the appropriate paperwork.  The prospectus outlining the courses available will be issued later this term.  Each pupil has to study five subjects in fifth year.  It is very important when choosing subjects that pupils, who are considering a particular career or college or university course, check out which subjects are needed for entry, before choosing their S5 subjects.  Pupils who are interested in a broad career area, but are currently unsure of a specific job or course, should also check out which subjects relate to this area of interest.

Pupils considering university courses can use the UCAS website www.ucas.com to research information on entry requirements.  The Planitplus website www.planitplus.net and the Skills Development Scotland website http://www.myworldofwork.co.uk/ both provide information on entry qualifications for jobs and college and university courses.  In addition pupils can use the resources in the Careers section of the school library.

Before deciding to stay on for fifth year, pupils need to consider if this is their best option.  Some pupils come back for a further year at school without considering alternatives.  If you feel that your son/daughter might benefit from having a talk with a Careers Adviser about their post S4 plans, please encourage them to contact us.  We are here to help pupils make well informed decisions.

If you or your son/daughter would like to speak to me outwith school, I can be contacted by telephone on 0131 665 3120 or by email at jennifer.jones@sds.co.uk

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