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Sixth Form Careers

Once you have embarked upon your Year 12 studies, the Sixth Form team will be on hand to guide and support you with your future choices, whether that be University, college, an apprenticeship, a gap year, studying abroad or seeking employment. All Year 12 students will have a one to one careers chat with the Sixth Form Careers Coach, Mrs Skaptason, to discuss individual career plans and to receive appropriate guidance and encouragement. During the course of the school year, a variety of workshops will be available to help with the development of key employability skills. External speakers will also visit the Sixth Form to present on key areas.

All Year 12 students will attend the annual UCAS Discovery Day which takes place in March/April where over 100 universities and other organisations gather under one roof to offer information about their courses/opportunities. In July we have a Next Steps Week which starts with all Year 12s visiting the University of Southampton for a Campus trip. They then attend the Alumni event where we invite as many Sixth Form Alumni back for one day to share their experiences with the current students. The week ends with the Next Steps day which offers presentations on a number of subjects from applying to University (including Open University), applying to apprenticeships and taking a gap year. Students hear from a representative from a Russell Group University, an ex student who is completing a degree apprenticeship and we hear from Rolls Royce Graduates about the journeys they took to get to where they are. This is followed by an evening specifically for parents and carers so that we can inform them how best they can offer support.  All Year 12s are also encouraged to take advantage of the one week work experience opportunity in June.

As soon as you embark on your second year, the Sixth Form team will support you with your UCAS applications and will ensure you receive all the help you need when writing your personal statement. If University is not your chosen path, the team can support you with apprenticeship applications or other routes you may choose to take. At the beginning of Year 13, all students experience a mock interview – these are conducted by parents/carers who work in various professions.

The Sixth Form team is here to help, encourage you and answer any question you might have about your future after Sixth Form. The door is always open and help is always available.

Going to University

SPH has an extensive programme of support for University applications, including Oxbridge, medical, veterinary, dentistry, engineering and law to name a few. Most years we have achieved two or three successful applications to Oxford or Cambridge University. A high percentage of students progress to University and around one quarter to the top 24 Russell Group Universities. SPH starts a UCAS support programme for all year 12 students in March/April of each year with a visit to the UCAS Discovery Day at the Brighton Centre.

It is particularly important that students receive a reference that reflects them and their achievements and so we work closely with them from the outset. One to one interviews are central to the support we offer as the programme progresses, and most students will have many interviews with their tutor to discuss their personal statement and choices.

For those students choosing to continue to University, SPH is there to support them on their journey:

  • in choosing the right course at the right university
  • to help them make the most of any open day they attend
  • to support them with their UCAS application and writing their personal statement
  • to support any student planning on doing an EPQ
  • to support specifically with Oxbridge, Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary applications
  • with mock interviews
  • applying for student accommodation and student finance

Medicine Students

Each year we have a number of students applying to study medicine, an incredibly tough and competitive process. We work with each student to ensure they are as prepared as they can be with the following:

  • helping to choose the right university
  • support with volunteering and work experience opportunities
  • support with the UCAT admissions tests
  • MMIs (Multiple Mini Interviews): each year we get doctors and other healthcare professionals  to come in and carry out MMIs with our medicine and dentistry students and deliver constructive feedback
  • Continuous interview practice: Mrs Skaptason is on hand to interview all students, recording them on their own devices so that they can see how to improve.


Brighton & Sussex Medical School Sessions

Each year we take those students interested in not only a future in medicine but those students interested in other healthcare roles to the sessions delivered at Felpham Community College – the HUB for BSMS. The aim of the sessions is to explore students’ interest in medicine, develop their understanding of the role of a doctor and provide advice and guidance on making a competitive application to medical school. Sessions include:

  • Getting into Medicine
  • A journey through the NHS
  • Interpreting X-rays
  • Medical school interviews


The In2MedSchool Programme (

For the second year, we are part of the In2Med School programme, a wonderful programme supporting the next generation of aspiring medics. Each school is partnered with a current medicine student who has a monthly session with the students – we have a wonderful student from the University of Southampton. In addition, students are required to attend ‘lifestyle’ sessions and what that means for medicine as well as presentations around public health. We attend the annual conference and as students get closer to interview time, they receive MMI support. It is a wonderful programme which we feel lucky to be a part of.

Applying to Oxford or Cambridge

Every year we have a number of students applying to both Oxford & Cambridge and we are here to support those students throughout that process in the following way:


Every other year we take a group of students from years 10-12 to visit St John's College, Oxford. This is a great opportunity for students to speak to and ask questions to current students, to sit in on a couple of lectures, to eat lunch in one of the fabulous dining halls and to be tested, in groups, on different questions that A Level students are asked at the interview stage.


As Cambridge is a little too far away to get to in a day, we try to get a representative come into school to meet and discuss with our students from years 10-12. This is an opportunity for students to find out more about life at as a student at Cambridge, the process of applying etc. and for them to ask as many questions as they wish.

Personal Statements

Those students applying to Oxford or Cambridge need to submit their application mid-October, earlier than the other UCAS deadline of mid-January. We are here to support students with this and have helped many successful students with this part of the application process.

Admissions Tests

Many of the courses will require students to take an admissions test. We are here to support students as much as possible when taking these tests, providing test papers and general support.


We organise mock interviews for every single one of our year 13 students to help prepare them for university interviews they may be required to attend. For those students applying to Oxbridge, we arrange for them to have a short mock interview with a Cambridge admissions tutor (a wonderful friend of the school community) and where possible they will also be interviewed by ex-SPH students now studying at either Oxford or Cambridge.

As a student/parent you can find useful information at the following university websites: – for all University information – to help compare between universities and courses – for all information relating to university events – a directory of University events – The University of Cambridge – for medical students – SACU offers a great independent & impartial source of careers information to students, parents and teachers. – The Sutton Trust works to raise aspirations of young people from low to middle income backgrounds and to increase their chances of accessing top universities and the professions.


The number of apprenticeships available to students today is increasing at a fast pace as is the number of students wanting to apply to do them. The opportunities on offer are amazing and our aim is to ensure our students and parents/carers are given as much information as possible to make informed decisions about their futures. The great thing is that where you are limited to applying to only 5 universities through UCAS, you can apply to any number of apprenticeships (and also apply to university).


We aim to provide as much support as possible to help students understand more about the apprenticeship process and we invite speakers in from:

  • The University of Chichester – to talk about their degree apprenticeships
  • ASK – to introduce Apprenticeships and to deliver Assessment Centre Practice Centres
  • Apprentices – we are lucky enough to have past students who have gone on to do higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships with JP Morgan (among others) and our students can learn so much from them and their experiences.

Where to Look for Apprenticeships

If as a student or parent/carer you want to find out more about apprenticeships, the Apprenticeship Guide is a great place to start.

To actually look for apprenticeships open to applications, you should be visiting:


Gap Years

We understand that a number of students do not want to head straight to university or into an apprenticeship and for some they want to use this time to build their skills so that they are more competitive when it comes to applying to apprenticeships or jobs.

We offer as much support as we can to students wanting to take a gap year and we assure them that if during that time they wish to apply to university we are on hand to support them, regardless of where they are in the world, although it does help if they are in the UK.

Work Experience

Although it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure work experience opportunities for students due to remote working in many cases, we still offer our year 12 students the opportunity to gain one weeks’ work experience in the final week of June. This is an opportunity for students to develop their written communication skills (during the application process) and so many other skills while on placement.

Mock Interviews

Whether our students are off to university, applying to apprenticeships or taking a gap year we believe that it is incredibly important for them to all have a mock interview. We are lucky enough to have a wonderfully supportive community at SPH and each year we have a huge number of professionals agree to support the mock interview process. Students are encouraged to dress as they would if they were having an interview and prepare questions that they might have to for an interview situation. Feedback is always incredibly positive from both the interviewers and the students and secretly we think they love getting dressed smartly, even if it is for just 30 minutes!

Trips, Talks & Programmes

Key Careers Annual Activities - For Year 12:

  • Applications open for shadowing schemes, summer schools etc.: September – October

  • University open days start: January

  • UCAS Discovery Day at The Brighton Centre: March / April

  • Work Experience Week: June

  • University Campus Trip: July

  • Alumni event: July

  • Next Steps Day: July

  • Register for admissions tests (UCAT, LNAT, ELAT etc.): June/July

Key Careers Annual Activities - For Year 13:

  • UCAS Applications & Personal Statement Writing: September – January

  • Deadline for applications to Oxbridge, Medicine, Veterinary and Dentistry: Mid October

  • Mock Interviews – conducted by external professionals: November

  • Admissions tests: November/December

  • Deadline for other UCAS applications: Mid-January

  • University interviews: November – March

  • Student Finance talk from Russell Group University: March/April

  • Finance talk for Students (budgeting etc.): April/May

  • Apprenticeship applications: October – July

Throughout the year: talks on apprenticeships, student finance, different careers etc.