Support, Guidance and Careers

Choosing your options

It is important that you make the right choice of courses and we are committed to finding the right learning pathway for each student.

At the Sixth Form Open Evening you and your parents will be able to attend a talk which will deal with the general principles of choosing a Sixth Form course. After this, you will be able to consult with subject teachers to gather more information and seek their advice.

This is only part of the information-gathering process. You should talk to as many people as possible; teachers, careers advisers, existing members of the Sixth Form, family and friends etc. and look at careers and university websites to gather the information you need. 

During Year 11 you can have an impartial guidance interview with the Careers Adviser, Fred Fortune. This will give you the opportunity to check that your plans fit your hopes and aspirations. Your parents may attend this interview (please contact student services if you would like this).

If choosing to stay at Holy Family after your GCSEs, you will need to study the Sixth Form ‘option groups’ and will be asked to nominate the subjects you would like to study in the Sixth Form. It is important to be sure at this stage that you not only have the subjects you wish to study, but that you have checked that you are going to study any subjects required for your path after Sixth Form. Some employers and degree courses subjects either require or “prefer” certain A Level subjects e.g. degrees in Medicine and Biology usually require A Level Chemistry.

During the Easter term of Year 11 you may be asked to review your subject choices with a member of staff if you are undecided or we feel there is a better option for you to follow. Throughout the process there will be the opportunity to ask questions about subjects and suitable combinations of subjects.

Important note: At every stage in your planning you should seek the fullest information from those who know. Amongst those who will be happy to help you are your Form Tutor, your Progress Leader, Sixth Form tutors and Careers Adviser. Beware of the myths that abound and are often based on outdated information.

In the Sixth Form

We have a team approach to your wellbeing. There are many people who work together to make sure you have the right guidance and support that you need. From initial interviews in year 11, to target setting, monitoring, tracking and reporting, there is a wide range of people, working as a team, to make sure that each and every one of you reaches your potential, whatever that may be.

Sixth Form studies demand that you, as students, take a much greater responsibility for your own learning. In addition, the UCAS applications system, apprenticeship applications and the university or employment lifestyle, upon which you will shortly be embarking, require considerable preparation. The support offered to Holy Family Sixth Formers is designed to guide you through this transition, increasing your skills and confidence in preparation for further study and/or employment.

All students receive regular advice and guidance whilst in the Sixth Form which includes:

  • Induction: Promoting a successful and smooth transition into Year 12
  • Target setting: helping you understand how to achieve your academic potential
  • Advice on personal issues supported by our local partners e.g. Careers Adviser and our Student Services team
  • Advice on Financial Support
  • Academic mentoring with a personal tutor - The most important people you will work with in the sixth form are your Form Tutor, your Progress Leader and our Academic Coach (Mr Holmes). They will be your academic mentors and will help you at all stages of your Sixth Form life through the transition from school student to university student or employee.

Our students already have an enviable record of finding good jobs and apprenticeships, either at 19 or after Higher Education.

We support your progression by providing:

  • Guidance on career choice
  • Help with finding and applying for apprenticeships
  • Higher education advice, including help with UCAS applications and guidance on applying for the right course at the right institution
  • Comprehensive support for Oxbridge and medical applications
  • Help with preparing for University Aptitude tests such as BMAT, LNAT, UKCAT
  • University residentials at Oxford, Cambridge and Liverpool University
  • Advice and information about employment locally, nationally and internationally
  • Information about Gap Year opportunities abroad
  • Assistance with Work Experience/Shadowing placements
  • Interview practice
  • UCAS support at all stages

In short, your future matters to us and we will do all that we can to help and support you in your studies and to help you make the right decisions for your future.

Preparing for Higher Education

The vast majority of our students go on to Higher Education and a lot of time is spent ensuring that they receive good advice about what courses are available. We ensure that each student is seen individually by one or more members of staff before decisions are made about course applications.

The process begins in year 12, with organised visits to Universities and a general talk to both students and their parents about Higher Education. This is followed by a day in school when University Schools’ Liaison Officers are invited to talk to students and answer questions about the admissions procedure and life at University or College. Advice is given about writing personal statements and completing the UCAS process. All students attend the Higher Education Fair at Liverpool University.

At the end of Year 12, all subject teachers complete a reference form for each student, including estimated grades. In determining these grades subject teachers try to be realistic, taking into account the capability and aptitude of the student, whilst at the same time trying to provide an assessment of the highest grade that the student could achieve in order to provide the best possible chance of gaining a place on the chosen course. However, no student is ever given a high estimate if it is felt they have no chance of achieving that grade.

The next stage is a consultation to discuss the advisability and suitability of the course chosen and to be given general advice as to where the course could lead. Students are encouraged to talk to other members of staff about this and get as much advice as possible on the courses which interest them. We try to tell them of the experiences of former pupils on similar courses and in similar institutions, in order to give them as broad a picture as possible.

Once the students are satisfied with their chosen courses and institutions they complete their application (UCAS) on line. At all stages the application is discussed with the Careers Advisor or your Progress Leader or Academic Coach who may suggest improvements and alterations. This system has proved to be very successful.

In order to ensure that the student has made the right choice of institution and indeed to enable them to decide for themselves they are allowed to attend three open days at Universities.

Students considering applying to Oxford or Cambridge are guided through the process by your Form Tutor and Progress Leader.

Important Notice: Those who are thinking of a career in primary school teaching are recommended to include in their application at least one National Curriculum subject relevant to primary schools. Account should be taken of this when choosing A level options. These usually include:

  • Art
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Music
  • PE
  • History
  • RE
  • IT  
  • Science
  • French (only available in a small number of universities)

Check university entry requirements carefully by consulting the UCAS and individual university websites, prospectuses etc. or ask your Careers Adviser. You can find a detailed guide, from the Russell Group, here.

Careers Support

For students who do not wish to pursue a Higher Education course, interviews will be arranged with the Careers Adviser at appropriate points.

All pupils at Holy Family have access to impartial face to face career guidance interviews with our qualified Careers Adviser, Dr Fred Fortune (from Career Connect, a Matrix Standard accredited company). Guidance interviews are tailored to individual needs and aspirations and cover all options available; at the school, at other providers (either locally or nationally) and in training, employment or self-employment.

Pupils can access this service through their tutors, Progress Leader and Student Services or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Useful Websites

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Mr M Symes,

Holy Family Catholic High School

 Virgins Lane.

Thornton,

L23 4UL

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         Tel: 0151 932 6106
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