Careers Guidance

When pupils arrive at Dauntsey's they begin a planned careers guidance programme reflecting the fact that choosing a career is a process and not an event.

Careers counselling begins in the Third Form with discussions about I/GCSE options and develops over the following years with advice and guidance on A Level courses, work experience, university applications and personal statements.

The Second Form are introduced to the Careers Library and the resources available and in the Third Form they are given advice from the Senior Careers Adviser on choosing GCSE courses. In the Fourth Form pupils have timetabled careers lessons in which they are introduced to the idea of career planning and implementation. In a series of seminars they are encouraged to consider the skills required by employers, the desirability of work experience, the critical nature of choosing A-levels, the pros and cons of taking a gap year and the basic processes involved in university entrance. They are also given instruction on writing CVs and covering letters and preparing for interview.

In the Fifth Form, pupils take the COA Preview Careers questionnaire supported by a series of psychometric tests called the Cambridge Profile. Following an individual report and an interview with a visiting COA Careers Adviser, they are encouraged to research careers and to discuss their initial plans with their Tutor prior to making A-level choices. This is the first critical step in choosing their career.

Many pupils therefore arrive in the Sixth Form with some idea about their career path; some may have very specific intentions, while others may still be exploring ideas and possibilities. At all stages and at any time pupils and parents are welcome to discuss ideas and career plans with the Schools Careers Adviser. All members of the Lower Sixth are encouraged to take advantage of the many career experience courses arranged by ISCO, and those looking to follow careers in science, technology, engineering and maths can apply for residential courses at universities around the country organised by Headstart or the Smallpiece Trust. 

In the Sixth Form pupils receive, in addition to advice on university applications, a series of presentations on gap year opportunities. Visits are also arranged to specific career fairs and workshops as well as university open days.

University Entrance

There are currently over 300 universities in the UK offering in excess of 50,000 courses, making the selection of a suitable course seem daunting. However, all pupils are guided in their selection of a suitable university course through the following structured programme:

  • In the Spring term of their Lower Sixth year all pupils take the Cambridge Occupational Analysts Centigrade questionnaire. A report is produced for each pupil giving a selection of courses and universities to consider and research further.
  • All members of the Lower Sixth attend a UCAS Day organised by the Careers Department in the post AS-exam period.
  • Dauntsey's holds its own Higher Education Conference for all parents of pupils in the Lower Sixth. Speakers include a University Admissions Officer and a representative from the Year Out Group (gap year providers).

All pupils are encouraged to consult House staff, teachers and the Senior Careers Adviser at any time about their ideas and plans. Pupils are also strongly recommended to visit their final choices of university either at an official Open Day or by arrangement.

Please click on this plate to read article published in our In Focus Magazine - Autumn 2014

September 2016

Of 139 university applicants this year, the vast majority were able to take up their first choice of university, with Cardiff the most popular destination closely followed by Bath and Southampton. Three quarters of places are at Russell group/The Times top 15 universities.

Three pupils are taking up Year in Industry places prior to university and others are heading to drama school, conservatoires and attending art foundation courses.


James O'Hanlon - Head of Careers

Aim High

“ The only rule we make is to aim high and keep an open mind. There will always be new opportunities to explore and new paths to follow. While there are no jobs for life, our role is to ensure that every Old Dauntseian can respond to the opportunities that are available: adapt, improvise and flourish. ”

— James O'Hanlon, Head of Careers