Next Steps After Heathfield

Don’t know what you want to do when you leave school?
Don’t know where to start?

There are a number of options you can choose:

  • Full-time education e.g. at a college or sixth form
  • An apprenticeship or traineeship



Further education courses can be studied at a college or a sixth form. There are a wide range of courses available; these can be studied at different levels, each course will have specific entry requirements.

Typical qualifications offered at colleges and sixth forms include:

A levels: Academic type study, usually exam based, only available at Level 3 and require 5 grades at 9-4, usually including English and Maths. Often you will need a GCSE at grade 6 or above in a subject if you want to go on to study it at A Level. Colleges may allow you to retake Maths or English if you do not achieve a Level 4, but have good grades in your chosen subjects.

A Levels will give you a chance to find out about your GCSE subjects in greater depth or you can choose to study one of the subjects that many 6th forms and colleges only offer at A Level such as Law, Economics, Politics or Psychology. They are good preparation if you are thinking of going onto higher education e.g. University or if you are not sure of your career plans, as they can keep your options open.

Vocational qualifications: available in Levels 1, 2 and 3 and Foundation Learning. Courses are designed to help you learn in a practical way about a specific job area. They can help you get the skills you need to start a job, an apprenticeship or go on to higher education (university). Examples of vocational subjects include: Health and Social Care, Business Studies, Performing Arts

T Levels are new courses coming in September 2020, which will follow GCSEs and will be equivalent to 3 A Levels. These 2-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work.

T Levels will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days). They will provide the knowledge and experience needed to open the door into skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship. Examples of subjects that are possible are: Design and Construction, Digital production, Education and Childcare, and in September 2021 also Health and Healthcare Science, Engineering and Construction, Digital Business, Digital Support and Science. Follow this link for more information:



If you have a job sector or career in mind then an apprenticeship can be a great choice, as you will learn about a job area and get paid, and you could have a good chance of getting a job at the end of your training. There are different levels of apprenticeships, depending on the level of your GCSE qualifications. If you feel you’re not ready for an apprenticeship, a traineeship can help to prepare you for one. This is a course, with a work experience placement included, that can last up to six months and they will also help you with maths and English if you need it. Apprenticeships – to search and apply for apprenticeships.

“We would like to thank Heathfield community school for providing us with such an excellent candidate, Harry's attitude, empathy and attention to the task and his colleagues was outstanding. He is a real credit to the school and we wish him well with whatever his future vocational role becomes.”
Eurosigns - Work Experience Placement Provider.


You may have the chance to spend a day at a college and try out a couple of courses you are interested in, as well as get a feel for college life and all the extra activities that could be available. Make sure you consider what you want to do and try not to do something just because your friends are doing it. You will need to register (usually on the college website) and you may need to attend in your own time or ask school’s permission. Attend college open events, usually held in October and January – check out college websites or your school may publish the dates. Speak to your careers adviser in school, Jackie Martin. Ask your head of year or Mrs Rogers or reception if you’d like an appointment. 


Year 10 students will normally have the opportunity to do a one week work experience placement in May. Students will be responsible for finding their placement. However, school will help you with ideas and suggestions but you will be expected to write to the employer and may have to work hard to find something. You could also speak to your parents/carers to see if they can help you to find something, maybe volunteering, during the school holidays. Not only will different experiences look good to a future employer, it will also help you to decide what you enjoy. It’s not too early to start thinking about it now. The work experience week the school help you with does not have to be your only experience. With your parents or carers support, you could find work experience during the summer holidays.

NB At the moment due to COVID 19 it may not be possible for students to have a formal work experience placement in May next year. The school is considering options for students to have Virtual Work Experience opportunities. These will be announced to parents and students in due course.


All colleges and 6th forms hold open events, usually around October, January and June – check websites for details. They also produce a booklet (called a prospectus) giving information about all the courses and how to apply. Prospectuses from Richard Huish and Taunton and Bridgwater College are usually distributed to Year 11 students at school.

Year 11 students will be reminded and supported through the College application process during Year 11.They will receive guidance and will also be offered an interview with our careers advisor Jackie Martin. Please contact Mr Caddy for more details:

NB At the moment due to COVID 19 Colleges are providing virtual Open events. Please see the college websites below where they are advertised. Heathfield also endeavours to advertise these events on our news feed on the website and also our social media pages.


Bridgwater and Taunton College (including Cannington College)
Richard Huish College
Exeter College

Other Careers Support

You will be introduced to this website in Year 9: to help you to plan your study & work. This is a great resource for parents and students. Your choices at 14, 16 and 18, routes to different qualifications and job sectors with career tools to help you decide. There is also a parent/carer zone.

To view film and video clips relating to many career areas go to If you are considering university go to and can be used to find out more about degree level courses.


Please click on this link for information about our careers curriculum and some of the careers and enterprise opportunities across the Year Groups.

To ensure that we our offering our students the best possible advice, we are continually monitoring and assessing our career programme. To do this, we use the Gatsby Benchmarks. The Gatsby Benchmarks are a framework of 8 guidelines that define the best careers provision in schools and colleges. Further information on the Gatsby Benchmarks can be found here. The results from this year's evaluation can be seen below.

To ensure the advice on this page is current and relevant, all information is reviewed annually. Our next review will take place in Spring 2021.


Careers Advice – Jackie Martin

Impartial careers advice and guidance is provided for students at Heathfield by an Independent Careers Adviser, Jackie Martin.

Jackie is a Level 6 qualified careers adviser, with extensive experience of providing careers guidance to students in secondary schools. Jackie’s expertise includes advising on options within further education and apprenticeship opportunities. Jackie is available in school one day a week; students will be made aware of the times.

She delivers information, advice and guidance to students both on an individual level and in groups. All students in years 10/11 are given the opportunity to have an individual careers guidance interview and students are offered guidance, if required, when selecting their GCSE options.

Jackie delivers presentations to students in assemblies, and is available to meet with students (and parents/guardians should they wish to attend) during the school day, or at lunchtimes and after school by arrangement. She also attends parents' evenings for Years 8-11.

Appointments with Jackie can be made via your child's tutor or reception, or please contact Mr Caddy

Ian Caddy SLT Link - Careers & Enterprise
Jo Rogers Head of Careers
Sue Hawkins Work Experience Placement Administrator
Jackie Martin Independent Careers Advisor


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