The future starts at Smith's Wood Academy

Careers at Smith’s Wood Academy

Smith’s Wood Academy has its own experienced Careers Advisor,  Mrs O’Donnell, who is qualified to Level 7 in Managing and Leading in CEIAG and is a member of the Careers Development Institution.

Mrs Kaye Downing is the Senior Leader who holds a strategic leadership role for CEIAG.

The Academy is supported on a strategic level by an Enterprise Advisor from Balfour Beatty VINCI who is responsible for designing and building part of the most exciting and challenging railway project in Europe: HS2.

At all stages of their school career students will have an opportunity to work with Mrs O’Donnell both in classroom activities and individual one to one interviews. Our aim is to offer all pupils a full package of support in order to help them make the right choices for a successful future. Smith’s Wood Academy holds a “Quality Award” for its outstanding contribution to Careers work within the Academy across all Year groups.   ‘Career Mark’   is the mark of quality for Careers Education and Guidance.

If you wish to support Smith’s Wood Academy with any activities or events please contact Mrs Amanda O’Donnell.

Our Careers Programme

Read our full careers programme here.

Careers Advisor Amanda O’Donnell

Email: [email protected] Call: 0121 788 4100 Extn: 4736

Our Careers Policy

Read our full Careers Policy here.

Measuring Our Impact

We measure the impact of our careers, guidance and support through the use of the eight Gatsby Benchmarks and the Compass Audit and Tracker. Our careers information is due for review in July 2019. Read students destination information: Destinations 2015-2019

May 2019 OFSTED report findings

The school provides a thorough and well-planned careers education programme in all years. Leaders compare their provision with national benchmarks of good practice and put in place clear plans to address any relative weaknesses. For example, leaders recognise that engaging with parents is a particular challenge at the moment. The programme has a clear aim of raising aspirations, including increasing the proportion of students who go to university when they are 18. Almost all students move to further education or training when they leave the academy at the end of Year 11.

  • Cambridge University in collaboration with Smith’s Wood Academy

    Work with Year 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11. Raising levels of aspirations within Smith’s Wood Academy. One hour workshops provided for each year group including:

    • To give an introduction to studying at Top Universities
    • To get students thinking about their future, qualifications and A Level choices
    • To challenge some of the myths students may have about University

    Anna McGlinchy from Cambridge University September 2017.  “Thank you for hosting Frances and I at Smith’s Wood Academy last week – we had an extremely positive visit, we hope to work with you in the forth coming years”.

  • Medical Mavericks

    Medical Mavericks provide Year 7,  8, 9, 10 & 11 with an insight into medical careers.  The Medic Man, also known as Tom, takes part in and undergoes surgical procedures so that he can share the experience with students and staff in Schools and during his lectures at Universities across the country. Tom demonstrated how to take your heart rate with an ECG (Echo Cardiograph) and a student also had his heart trace taken. Tom discussed careers in the NHS, not just the obvious ones but also the ones that are often behind the scenes and not thought about. Students really enjoy it and parents contacted the Academy to say how much the students got from it. One parent stated ‘ Can I just give you some feedback from my son in Year 10.  He really enjoyed the Medic Man and found interesting, I felt like I had been at the presentation after he’d finished talking about it, Thank you’.

  • Inspiring the future

    Smith’s Wood Academy works alongside ‘inspiring the future’ to provide inspirational careers information & guidance to its students. Working in conjunction with local businessmen and women to raise aspirations for the students. Alan Lewis, local ICT Business Manager spent a morning with Year 9 ICT students talking about the different roles linked to ICT and how important ICT will be in shaping the future of all our lives from the cultivation of vegetables to social media and how we will do jobs in the future.

  • Careers Zone

    Offsite Careers opportunities Below is a small selection of the Careers events students have the chance to be involved in at Smith’s Wood Academy.

    • Girls into Engineering at Jaguar Landrover. Three lucky girls spend a week at JLR finding out about engineering and the jobs linked to the manufacturing and production industry.
    • STEM Ambassadors working with students in Science & Math’s
    • Forensic Scientists at South & City College. 15 students spend and afternoon finding out about Forensic science, and the college courses available.
    • GIRLS only one week work experience residential at Swynnerton Army Barracks.
    • Science Christmas Lectures at Birmingham University for Year 7
    • Women in Math’s at Wolverhampton University
    • Big Bang Fair at the NEC
    • Math’s & Careers at Wolverhampton Race Course
    • Travel, Tourism & Aviation insight days at UCB
    • Waiters week at UCB, Hospitability Students can apply.
    • Chef Academy & Young Waiters Academy at UCB. Saturday school.
    • Rock Assembly at Wembley SSE Arena, Careers Fair and Pop Concert! 30 students attended
    • Army & Navy Assemblies &Personal Development Days
    • My Green Future for Year 9 looking at Careers in the sustainable energy sector.
  • Year 7 Careers Project

    “I Have A Dream” students look into the future producing a careers project covering a dream for their future job, their community and the World.

  • Year 8 WOW Day World of Work

    A range of employers participate in a wonderful day to introduce our students to the World of Work. Interested in participating?  Please contact MRS O’DONNELL   [email protected] We would love to hear from you.

  • Year 9 Introduction to Career Planning Websites
    • Wellbeing Days
    • Lion Heart Challenge
    • Group interviews
    • 1:1 interventions
    • University visits
    • College visits.
  • Year 10 Employability & Work Experience
    • Skills Show at the NEC
    • Group interventions
    • 1:1 interventions
    • University visits
    • College visits.
  • Year 11 Transition into Further Education, Apprenticeships or Employment
    • 1:1 interventions
    • Record of Achievement
    • CV writing
    • Career Fayre
    • University visits
    • College visits
    • Apprenticeship support.
  • Special Educational Needs

    Pupils benefit from Careers advice information and guidance from Year 9 onwards.  ‘Careers Trips’ such as the Botanical Gardens to find out about Eco systems and Horticulture. College talk and tours and support for parents.

  • Interactive I touch screen

    The Upper School Virtual Learning Centre is resourced with careers information, 30 computers & an Interactive I touch screen for use with students. It is available for student use at some break and lunch times & before & after School. Career interviews take place in the Careers Zone.  All Year 11 students receive a 1:1 careers guidance interview with Mrs. O’Donnell starting in the Autumn term.

  • Parents Evenings

    Mrs O’Donnell is present at all events for parents to talk to.

  • Forthcoming Careers events
  • AIM HIGHER West Midlands

    Smith’s Wood Academy works in coloration with Aimhigher West Midlands to provide students in Year 8 to Year 11 with opportunities to widen participation raise levels of aspiration and challenge misconceptions about University.  Graduate Mentors work with our students, they provide subject focus days, University & College visits and much more. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Universities from around the West midlands.

    Smith’s Wood Academy Website

    Introduction to Aimhigher:

    Smith’s Wood Academy is proud to be working in collaboration with AimHigher West Midlands, a provider of the Uni Connect Programme formally known as NCOP (National Collaborative Outreach Programme). The programme supports a Government initiative to increase the percentage of students entering Higher Education from less advantaged backgrounds and focuses on widening participation and raising student aspirations to go into Higher Education.

    AimHigher Plus has multiple partner universities and Smith’s Wood Academy is fortunate to be working closely with one of the university partners, Birmingham City University. Birmingham City University provides Smith’s Wood Academy with an Aimhigher Plus Progression Ambassador, Miss Hardie. Miss Hardie works in Smith’s Wood Academy two days a week to work with students from Year 9-11 and provide them with numerous opportunities to widen participation and raise levels of aspiration and challenge misconceptions about University.

    What will the Aimhigher Progression Ambassador do for the school?

    • Encourage those learners with the potential to go onto Higher Education to explore it as an option.
    • Expose learners to ALL options available to them after secondary school.
    • Ensure that learners can make their own informed decisions about their future.

    How will this be done?

    • Providing 1:1 mentoring sessions for selected students in Year 9 – 11.
    • Conduct assemblies on various topics regarding Higher Education as well as providing the school with guest speakers to conduct assemblies on topics like motivation and goal setting.
    • Provide tailored workshops for Year 9 – 11 such as revision workshops, work experience, insight into careers and study skills ensuring it’s informative and engaging.
    • Provide opportunities through Aimhigher Plus with residential trips and cultural capital days.
    • University Trips.
    • Subject Focus Days.

    AimHigher Consent Forms

    Everything that AimHigher Plus offers to students is completely FREE. All trips, activities, workshops, guest speakers, residential and mentoring sessions has no cost to the students. As the AimHigher Uni Connect programme is a government funded programme, AimHigher needs to ensure their work in schools produces results so they are able to continue to offer opportunities to the students for free.

    At the start of the academic year, Year 9, 10 and 11 students will be given a consent form asking permission to be tracked on their progression through school and their journey to Further/Higher Education. Returning the consent form enables AimHigher to produce results to the government and the funding will continue.

    If the consent forms are not returned, AimHigher’s future and funding may be put at risk if we cannot prove the effectiveness of our work and what we offer in schools. If you have a consent form, please bring them back, filled out to Miss Hardie or Mrs O’Donnell.

    Aimhigher Booklet

    Aimhigher – UniFest 2020 Directory

    Aimhigher – UniFest Application Form

    Parents’ and carers’ Guide

    UniFest Parents Letter



  • Life Ready

    Employability and Enterprise Smith’s Wood Academy has collaborated with the Life Ready Programme (Solihull) that provides a framework designed to develop independent, life ready young adults.  The programme is based on evidence from the Gatsby Foundation and the Confederation of British Industry. The shared vision of the Life Ready Solihull Programme is that ‘students leaving Smith’s Wood Academy will have the skills, knowledge and dynamism to reach their full career potential, to meet the needs of employers and to contribute to the economic growth of the borough’. We have a linked Enterprise Advisor from WM Housing – Claire Hardwick with works with the Academy to ensure we have real links with Employers in the Local Community.

    We have a linked Enterprise Advisor from Balfour Beattie Vinci who with works with the Academy to ensure we have real links with Employers in the Local Community.

  • Work Experience at Smith’s Wood Academy

    Work experience is a real success at Smith’s Wood Academy.  Year 10 students participate in Work Experience for 1 week at the end of the summer term. Students secure placements with a wide range of Employers including: West Midlands Fire Service, Army, WM Housing, Solihull Council, Jaguar Landrover, Engineering, Solihull Youth Service, Primary Schools including: Smith’s Wood Primary Academy, Yorks wood, Timberly Academy, St Anthony and Kings Hurst. Birmingham Magistrates Court, Hilton Hotel, Birmingham Airport, University College Birmingham to name but a few! Employers state that Smith’s Wood Academy pupils are a real credit to the Academy and the community. The students receive fantastic feedback, which helps to build confidence, and motivate them for their Year 11 GCSE’s.

Careers Internet sites The following websites are of use to pupils who would like to research careers information at home:

Useful Higher Education Websites for University

Use the UCAS website to search for higher education courses at all universities and colleges nationwide. Lots of information here on how to apply

The U-Explore online allows users to learn about the world of work, the various career options available.

UKCourseFinder helps you locate your ideal university degree course. Quickly complete the study interests questionnaire, designed by Morrisby, to pin-point your interests in 150+ degree disciplines. There is also information on how to make your choice, where different subjects may lead, and help and advice on completing your UCAS form.

In association with UCAS, Centigrade matches your strongest interests & abilities with the most likely courses available. This is a chargeable service (£15).

Unistats is the official website to help you make an informed choice when deciding which university or college to apply to.

Graduate website with excellent careers information including graduate destination information ‘what do graduates do?’

Independent guide to UK universities, student life, gap years, and open days.

Information on all aspects of choosing and applying to higher education. Also includes information on graduate jobs and salaries.

Lists all the university open days to help with arranging campus visits.

The Guardian’s university league tables.

The Times’ university league tables.

Information on loans, grants and bursaries and how to apply.

Careers information for staff.