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Southlands School, Rome

BridgeU helped to expand student horizons through a multi-year guidance programme

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At a glance

  • BridgeU worked with Southlands to integrate the platform into the school’s existing multi-year guidance programme and student support process. 
  • Key Stage 3 students used BridgeU to learn more about their strengths, and explore potential career paths. 
  • Key Stage 4 students were able to use BridgeU to build a personal skill development plan to help inform their future subject choices. 
  • Key Stage 5 students were able to take advantage of BridgeU’s course matching and career guidance tools to make informed university choices and build their university application. 
BridgeU is a support to each phase the student has to go through
Florence Mattei, Southlands Guidance Team

What were the school’s goals in using BridgeU?

Having previously not used a system to support this process, Southlands wanted something that would:

  • Be easily used by staff who did not have previous experience in university guidance.
  • Help to widen student horizons and encourage exploration of more diverse post-secondary options.
  • Promote the school, through a long-term, multi-year approach to university and careers guidance.

A 3-Phase Approach

Alongside Colin Bradshaw, Head of Senior School, Southlands closely integrated BridgeU into Southland’s existing multi-year guidance and support process:

  1. (end of) Key Stage 3 (age 13-14): strengths discovery initial exploration of careers and strengths
  2. Key Stage 4 (age 14-16): brand building targeted personal skill development plan; subject choices
  3. Key Stage 5 (age 16-18): application writing  university choices and application building

Southlands wanted to ensure that earlier year-groups (age 13-15) were already ‘hooked’ on the system and familiar with how it works by the time they get to building their initial shortlist and actually applying. Florence Mattei, a core member of the guidance team at Southlands, described how she uses BridgeU as a “support to each phase the student has to go through”.

BridgeU helped KS3 students to collect experiences and make a targeted, personal plan based on their strengths, weaknesses and any gaps that exist in their CV/Resume
Florence Mattei

Phase One – KS3 Strengths Discovery 

Southlands implemented the following structure for Year 9s (Key Stage 3) 

  1. Careers Tool: students explore the degrees and skills connected to careers that are of interest. This is done through exploring and learning about the job families that will be increasingly in demand across the global workforce. Students then make a list of the skills they need to succeed in the careers they are interested in.
  2. Skill planning: students log their experiences in the Strategy Advisor, focusing on areas that help to demonstrate the skills they identified.

Florence Mattei described Key Stage 3 (Year 9) how students really enjoy using the BridgeU Strategy Advisor to “collect experiences and make a targeted, personal plan based on their strengths, weaknesses and any gaps that exist in their CV/ Resume”.

BridgeU encourages students to investigate career opportunities and gain awareness of their interests and strengths
Florence Mattei

Phase Two: KS4 Personal Brand Development

Building on the work that would have been done in Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 is designed to take students to the next phase of their thinking and discovery.

  1. Careers Tool: students revisit career paths and review the degrees most associated with their interests.
  2. University Matcher: students discover different degree opportunities around the world that can help prepare them for career areas of interest.
  3. Personal brand building: students review their logged experiences in the Strategy Advisor and devise a plan to develop their strengths and address any gaps
  4. Subject choices: based on the exploration and self-discovery that students have done through BridgeU, they choose their IB subjects to ensure they are eligible for the degrees (and careers) they are aiming for.
We are seeing much more variety in student applications as a result of BridgeU
Colin Bradshaw, Head of Sixth Form

Phase Three: KS5 Application Writing

Florence Mattei incorporated BridgeU into PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) lessons “to encourage students to investigate career opportunities and gain awareness of their interests and strengths”.

The structure for Key Stage 5 takes students through the journey of finalising their application decisions and writing a compelling application.

  1. Shortlist and Researchstudents review their previous matches and make updates to their profile to discover more options/ alternatives based on changing preferences or grades. They use BridgeU to research university options and gather information on modules and courses. Students then collate this information using the notes feature within the system. They then begin the process of using BridgeU to turn this research into a final university shortlist
  2. Essay/ Personal statement writing: students review their logged experiences in the Strategy Advisor alongside example essays and personal statements to help them write their own application.

A Southlands student, Luca who has been through the BridgeU process described using the Strategy Advisor to ‘easily identify things I can work on in the summer’, helping him to be proactive with work experience and summer volunteer work planning.

At this point, the school uses BridgeU to review students’ final application list. This was made easier by the fact that BridgeU automatically populates relevant deadlines and supporting documents to simplify the guidance team’s process. Specifically, when co-ordinating applications to UK universities, Debbie Smith reported that Southlands was very successful in using the Reference builder to collect different teacher’s comments on a given student; these reports were then easily combined into a cohesive UCAS Academic Reference for students applying to the UK.

The overall experience was very positive. The step-by-step for the students and staff was really straightforward and easy to follow
Debbie Smith, Head of Year 13

The Results of Using BridgeU

Result: Easy to Use

Debbie Smith, head of Year 13 at Southlands, appreciated BridgeU for its ease of use, particularly when she came into the role without previous experience of university guidance. “The overall experience was very positive. The step-by-step for the students and staff was really straightforward and easy to follow”, she recalled.

Result: Encourage exploration of more diverse options

Comparing BridgeU with the previous process, Mr. Colin Bradshaw, Head of Senior School, said: “We are seeing much more variety in student applications as a result of BridgeU. Our students are now widening their net of possibilities for Post-18 education and picking universities worldwide.”

Result: Promote the school through a multi-year, data-driven provision of university & career guidance

Colin said that he would “highly recommend BridgeU as it is a great ‘one-stop-stop’ for career and university guidance. It takes students and their teachers through every step of the process.”

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