Headmaster of Babington House School, Tim Lello, explains how the school strives to provide its students with the support, advice and expertise needed to secure a successful career when they finish school

With the news full of “mishandled A Level results” and “deficient algorithms,” a variety of university experience, or lack of it, and the anxieties over how the pandemic will impact university admissions, now more than ever our young people need real support and well-honed professional guidance in their aspirations to go to university. It is no surprise that there is a renewed interest in the schools that have small, highly successful sixth forms, which because of their size, ethos and professionalism are able to give very specific, bespoke advice to their students about the plethora of opportunities open to them after school. 

In the best schools, a professional careers advisor will start discussing university applications as early as Year 7, when the pupils are 11 years old, and students will be given the opportunity to discuss with other staff and external speakers the many options open to them – from how to choose and apply to a university, through to taking a year out.  

In the best ‘pint sized power house’ schools, each sixth form student will have two form tutors to guide them through the university admissions process. There will also be a member of staff whose role is to oversee the technical side of the UCAS process and make sure the school is completely up to date with the ever changing and complex individual requirements of each university course.  

In addition to these things, at Babington we have a Head of Seniors who provides leadership and expertise in the whole process, as well as keeping a very experienced pastoral eye on the pupils, making sure their wellbeing is at the forefront of our work, during what can be a stressful time for our young people. Furthermore, two members of staff write the references with the Headmaster and two staff check the students’ own personal statements, also with the Headmaster, who meets with each sixth former individually to ensure each submission is well-honed and they are very well supported. 

Sixth form students should also be made aware of the amazing degree apprenticeships on offer and how to apply for them with, for example, the prestigious Thalys Engineering degree programme which fully funds the student’s degree and accommodation costs, provides them with an income in excess of £20,000 per year and guarantees a job for them at the end of their course. At Babington we have two students going through this programme at the moment.

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