How is work experience arranged at your DC's school?

(25 Posts)
flordiakilos Tue 28-Jun-16 07:23:20

Is it common for secondary schools in England to expect parents to arrange work experience for your DCs? If the parent is expected to do it, what happens if you can't find anywhere willing to let DC do work experience? Is there any penalty if you're unable to organise it? I'm just curious why schools expect the parents to do it when surely it would be easier for the school to make the arrangements with local employers.

finnishbiscuiteater Tue 28-Jun-16 07:27:05

At dc school b the parents arrange work experience, kids whose parents don't have access to managers/business owners and don't get responses to speculative letters don't get work experience. Its a terrible system which helps to entrench privilege.

TheDrsDocMartens Tue 28-Jun-16 07:36:05

We get a catalogue of places that take work experience and children apply for them. Like job hunting. There's also the option of finding your own.

corythatwas Tue 28-Jun-16 09:24:24

No, at ds' school it was made quite clear that finding a job was an essential part of the experience for the child. Not something mummy or daddy do for you, but something you do yourself.

The experience of going in and out of shops and restaurants asking for work and seeing how few people were at all interested triggered something for ds: for the first time he realised that this world of work might not be something you just drift into.

It also teaches you how to present yourself (and they were given guidance on this and encouraged to evaluate their own performance). I am in favour of this system. I really don't think it matters if you get an "important" workplace for work experience at this age: what you need to see is that there are certain basics that apply for getting work anywhere.

timeforabrewnow Tue 28-Jun-16 15:00:44

yeah - great idea cory. Glad to hear about how assertive and perfect your child is. Let's all do exactly the same because it works for you.

In answer to the OP, my sons' school have stopped doing work experience of any sort, and I think that is short sighted and a great shame.

Leeds2 Tue 28-Jun-16 16:01:51

At my DD's school, the DC were encouraged to do work experience during the summer holidays after GCSEs and ASs. It was left entirely up to the child/parents to arrange, and no one actually checked to see whether it had been done. It might be different if the work experience was for a set week/fortnight during term time.

Balletgirlmum Tue 28-Jun-16 16:04:52

Do do the school give them time during office hours to make these phone calls/visits cory?

Floralnomad Tue 28-Jun-16 16:12:05

I think schools have enough to do without organising work experience as well . That said I reckon for most children it's a waste of a week as they end up somewhere that has no relevance to what they want to do - one year my DS went to work with my sister ( accountant in the public sector) , nothing to do with what he wanted to do but all that could be arranged .

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Tue 28-Jun-16 16:13:30

At my sons' school, they encourage the pupils (their parents!) to find a place for work experience. This has to be approved by the school and parents are asked to pay £20 for it to be assessed by an external health and safety inspector.

The pupil is expected to make their own way to and from and pay for transport.

The school do offer to find a placement for those that can't but it's very hit and miss. My son's friend is off to a local undertakers for his (not what he would have chosen!)
Other pupils have the option of staying at school and producing a school magazine as their experience if they can't find anything.

ThornyBird Tue 28-Jun-16 16:16:42

My DC's school no longer does work experience, at least not in yes 7-11.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Tue 28-Jun-16 16:17:20

Floral I see your point, but the schools tend to emphasise that it's a learning curve to be responsible for yourself in a workplace, using initiative, interacting with adults, time keeping etc, rather than being an insight into your chosen career.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 28-Jun-16 16:23:05

Our school stopped it except if you do business studies.

Hassled Tue 28-Jun-16 16:26:19

The students are meant to organise it themselves but in reality it's usually through whatever contacts the parents have. Those with parents with no useful contacts flounder a bit; if all else fails they stay in school and it always seems pretty unfair.

My DD's school do a 2 week placement in y 10.

They will help place where possible but it is largely upto child/parents to find a placement if they want something other than local schools/shops etc

My DS did his 2 years ago so we knew what to expect - luckily DH was able to arrange a placement at work (railway project management)

DD was interested in medicine or law but school couldn't help so she's actually spending the 2 weeks placed with a friend in education instead - it's an area she was also interested in, so not wasted and I think it should be a really good opportunity for her

The tricky part is that a lot of organisations won't or can't take under 16s for insurance or other restrictions

It's not cheap though so not easy for all families to do. DS work experience meant a suit, PPE gear, travel and DD has had work clothes and shoes, travel and expenses too.... Very different from wearing school uniform, packed lunch and walking to school ....

corythatwas Tue 28-Jun-16 18:09:22

Balletgirlmum Tue 28-Jun-16 16:04:52

"Do do the school give them time during office hours to make these phone calls/visits cory?"

No. Schools tend to finish long before shops/restaurants/etc close in the evening, be open on Saturdays and over half term, so not really needed. The fact that you need to be organised in advance is drummed into them: again a useful learning experience.

The way it has been presented to us is very much as ILost it says: it's about learning to get a job, present yourself to an employer, behave in the workplace rather than trying out the exact job you might want as an adult.

Nobody in ds' class failed to get something organised in the end; ds was very late, being about as lazy as they come, but the threat of having to stay in school did it for him in the end.

Balletgirlmum Tue 28-Jun-16 18:52:20

I work for a construction firm & our phone lines are only manned Mon - Fri 8.30 am - 4.00pm for example.

VulcanWoman Tue 28-Jun-16 19:00:38

My son had real trouble getting a placement, the local charity shop said they don't take people for week only placements confused. An office placement in a factory couldn't take him because he was under 18, insurance problems confused

Stinkerbelle37 Tue 28-Jun-16 19:13:03

Possibly outing myself ....

Careers bod in school. We use a combination of database of previous placements, support through lessons, and ideally kids sort it out themselves (as that is the point). But for those who won't / can't , I help them out as needed. From just suggesting where they try, right to doing their applications, phone calls, taking them to meet the person etc. Whatever is needed within reason.

Our kids love work experience. Govt isn't that bothered about Year 10 anymore, which is why some schools have dropped it. (Let's face it - it costs a lot to organise, and saving can be made by not doing it ). But Year 12 need some work-related experience.

Yes, kids with proactive parents are at an advantage. But that is true of just about everything. And at the end of the day, they aren't necessarily the ones that get the most from the experience.

(Bows out gracefully, not wanting to reveal self). (Note - normal secondary school is semi-rural location).

TyrionLannistersShadow Tue 28-Jun-16 19:22:12

I'm not in England so feel free to ignore what I say as irrelevant but here in Ireland we do a thing called Transition Year , it's optional and is in between 3rd and 5th year . Anyway as part of that the students must do one day work experience a week and part of that is sourcing it themselves. Parents are encouraged to let the student do it as it's seen as a necessary part of the experience. My own ds1 did 3 lots of work experience during the year, one block in a primary school, one in a game store and one in a vets practice.

CharleyDavidson Tue 28-Jun-16 19:30:49

Wales. They have one week in y11 where they all go for work experience.

Initially, there was a booklet of places that had signed up to a system for the work experience, and a website where they all signed up online for 3 preferences and the school then found them a place.

Then, however, they told DD that she was too young for her first choice (the local paper) and that her second choice (the library) and her third choice (a local shop as she is realistic that it could be experience for a pt job rather than for her career) was also full.

So she put another local shop or two and was told that they were 'not good enough for her' and that she should be setting her sights higher.

As she wants to write for a living, or teach as a fallback career choice (!) that meant she was perhaps going to end up coming to my school, which wasn't ideal.

However, we then thought about the local residential library and she emailed their manager who was happy for her to go there to spend a week with their marketing team, promoting the library. She's very happy with that, as is school, but it was a bit of luck that a friend even suggested it as it's not somewhere that a lot of people would classify as somewhere that you could go for work experience.

Travelledtheworld Tue 28-Jun-16 20:46:49

My kids schools have stopped organising it for the kids because it took too much staff time, and it made the school liable for doing a risk assessment and responsible for insurance.
My DD had to do some " job shadowing" in year 10. I thought this was pretty pointless TBH so she did some voluntary work in the office for a small local charity. She had to write a report about the structure of the organisation and the type of work that went on there, so it was quite useful.

DD now in year 13 is supposed to be doing some work experience week after next. But she can't be bothered to organise anything, so she isn't doing it.
Yes, unfortunately it's the children whose parents have the business contacts who get the work placements in the majority of the cases. I knew a few children who went to work with their Lawyer/accountant/ architecture parents.....

corythatwas Wed 29-Jun-16 08:22:05

Balletgirlmum Tue 28-Jun-16 18:52:20

"I work for a construction firm & our phone lines are only manned Mon - Fri 8.30 am - 4.00pm for example"

Which would still provide a corner for a child who starts school at 9 and finishes at 3.20, and is allowed to leave school during their lunch break as many secondary school children are.

This is partly what the exercises is about imo: to get the students to see that to get any kind of job you can't just sit around and wait for things to happen at; you have to be organised.

Anyway, if you think of it as a general introduction into adult world-of-work thinking, then it doesn't matter if you get your work experience in precisely the kind of job you are interested in or not. Ds, who hates the idea of cooking and wants to join the police, did his in a restaurant. He still learnt something from it. Dd who wants to be an actress did hers with a local heritage firm.

Balletgirlmum Wed 29-Jun-16 09:08:40

Most schools round here they are not allowed to leave at lunchtime. Ds finishes at 4pm. Those schools who finish at 3.30pm the kids are rarely home before 4pm what with buses & after school clubs

corythatwas Wed 29-Jun-16 16:46:11

In ds' school they are allowed to bring mobiles as long as they leave them in reception when they enter the school, so you could still make those phone calls while on your way to after school club, or while waiting for the bus. Or just accept that maybe you will have to get your work experience with a firm that is reachable after 4 or on Saturdays. To me, this is what work experience (and in dd's case the later experience of getting an actual real job) teaches: that you have to be organised and flexible and can't just sit around making excuses if you want anything at all.

Dd had to make between 35 and 50 attempts before she got her first job interview (having failed to get into the very competitive HE programmes she had applied for). That is the kind of world we should be preparing our youngsters for.

bigbluebus Wed 29-Jun-16 21:25:47

DS had to find his own placements in both Yr 10 and Yr 12. I think in a lot of cases parents did it for them. We helped DS out with advice but made him research the places and make the phone calls/send e-mails. Tackling it during the school holidays gets around the time constraints on opening hours V school hours.

School did provide a list of places that previous students had used if necessary but DS got placements in completely different places - he was just lucky - it wasn't anywhere we had any connections with.

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