St Martins in the Fields – “It’s all about you” – Wednesday 28 November 2012

At the top of Tulse Hill there is a school set back behind tall Dickensian gates that open slowly on demand.  Ahead, for the visitor are a flight of steps leading to an imposing front door, the silent herald of welcome to a comfortable old fashioned hospitality with the aroma of freshly ground Blue Mountain coffee as a lasting percolated memory.  “And the reason for your return” the silent herald might imply.   Well, good though it is I’m here for more than just the coffee and on cue follow swiftly at the heels of Jennifer Clarke the Careers Co-ordinator to join Years 9/10 in the hall.

My return to St Martins was at the invitation of Mrs Jennifer Clarke who was opening doors to prospective employers as the focus of her Careers Fair “It’s all about you”.

Guiding their young people is very much a value added here and although the commendable examination results can make the journey easier, its finding out where these students might be going that gives the school the edge.   Something that educators like Mrs Clarke know only too well and prepare the way carefully well in advance.

As someone familiar with the demands of teaching and learning, reaching grade boundaries through the pass rate facts of life are but a measurement, because at fourteen; students are the font of all wisdom, able to text unseen, hold three conversations at once and through social networking sites know whose hot for who with the hottest gossip yet to hit the streets.

Well, we’ve been there too, at another time and another place.   Not so technically advanced I grant you but the learning points are still the same and I hope that this look at the real world and the choices on offer were useful for Year 9 and that talking to prospective employers might have helped Year 10 make a few career calculations.   Identifying the right environment for skills and ability takes time and moving through a structured “Its all about you” inspection early on, could make all the difference in finding out what not to do with the realisation that something that was never an option suddenly becomes a goal for life beyond those tall Dickensian gates at the top of Tulse Hill.

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