At a Glance
“No question is too big or too inconvenient. Wherever you are in the world, questions are answered with speed and accuracy”
Cardiff Sixth Form College (CSFC) is a multicultural independent school which combines academic excellence with a dedicated pastoral and careers programme. CSFC has topped independent school league tables published by UK newspapers, such as The Times and The Telegraph, for nine consecutive years. As a school offering the A-level curriculum, CSFC reported 92% of its students achieving A* and A grades in 2017.
CSFC had no guidance platform prior to adopting BridgeU, with university and careers guidance being led in-house by school staff. Head of Higher Education, Hayley Bendle, tells us that she opted for BridgeU because she wanted CSFC students to have access to university and careers guidance that was as impartial and accurate as possible. Hayley’s first impressions were of a guidance platform that she cites as user-friendly, easy to navigate and informative.
CSFC integrated BridgeU at a time when it was completely redesigning and restructuring its own pastoral and careers guidance programme. The school moved from a model where teachers would double as progress tutors, responsible for the guidance of a small group of students, to a house system where Heads of House would be solely responsible for their students’ pastoral welfare. The BridgeU platform has also dovetailed well into CSFC’s new and bespoke and award winning pastoral management programme CREATE©, designed by Head of Pastoral, Lisa Morton.
Hayley praises the BridgeU Customer Support team for not only offering dedicated training and support to staff and students, but for being agile and adaptable when the school needed to implement BridgeU around its own restructuring. She credits the willingness of CSFC’s dedicated Customer Support Manager Kelsey Botne, to make the journey out to Cardiff, remarking that this in-person training “made us feel really valued”. As well as helping students to get set up on the platform, Kelsey trained staff members in using core components of the platform such as the Reference Letter Writing tool.
Hayley remarks that, whether she was dealing with BridgeU in person, or remotely “no question is to too big or too inconvenient…wherever you are in the world, questions are answered with speed and accuracy.”
“Studying abroad suddenly feels more real, more possible”
Instead of merely looking at university destinations based on where they sit in a league table, Hayley tells us that, thanks to BridgeU’s matching tool, students are increasingly coming to her to discuss their bespoke personal preferences, such as campus fit and preferred class size – “they can choose where they want to apply to, as opposed to where they’re expected to apply to”.
BridgeU’s ability to predict chance of acceptance also helps staff to manage students’ expectations, and offer them guidance when they may need to put more work into the university application process; e.g. interview prep, or undertaking relevant work experience.
“Many schools will benefit from BridgeU’s expertise, but their ability to adapt to our specific needs and add further quality to our provision ensures that the career needs of our students is well served.”
As the head of Higher Education at CSFC, Hayley has found BridgeU to be instrumental in streamlining the careers education programme for students. Instead of multiple spreadsheets, e-mail correspondences and shared drives, CSFC’s guidance processes are coordinated through a single platform. Staff at the school are also able to use BridgeU’s analytics to track and measure students’ engagement with the university application process.
Hayley remarks that BridgeU has been a great way to ensure that students are on track with their applications, as well as giving her an overview of students’ eventual outcomes and chosen destinations. She hopes that, with future cohorts of students, she can use the platform’s analytics to see if there is any correlation between their engagement with the platform, and the range of countries they are choosing to apply to.
CSFC’s Principal, Gareth Collier, added: “I am delighted with the way in which BridgeU have been able to provide clear and informative support for our students’ career choices, but also how the platform itself has added to the ‘Thrive’ element of our own pastoral management programme, CREATE©. Many schools will benefit from BridgeU’s expertise, but their ability to adapt to our specific needs and add further quality to our provision ensures that the career needs of our students is well served.”
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