The Talent Foundry has a proud history of working closely with a large network of disadvantaged schools, and in total there are around 1,600 mainstream secondary schools in our network – all with high levels of deprivation.
As part of our mission to level the playing field of opportunity, we work exclusively with the schools that most need extra support and have high proportions of students eligible for Pupil Premium funding relative to schools in their local authority.
Further Education (FE) colleges with a POLAR 4 indicator in Quintile 1 or Quintile 2 are eligible for our programmes. Further information about POLAR 4 data can be found here.
While each of our programmes has its own geographical focus, as a charity, we work with schools up and down the country, including in Scotland and Wales.
Some of our programmes have a specific focus on a particular area, for example Government Opportunity Areas or Social Mobility Coldspots. The areas in which we deliver individual programmes are usually selected by the relevant corporate partner and further detail about the areas can be found on the individual programme pages of our website.
We work with all year groups in secondary schools from Year 7 right through to college or sixth form and are increasingly working with select transition groups in Year 6.
The eight benchmarks are a framework for good career guidance developed to support schools in providing students with the best possible careers education, information, advice, and guidance.
They were established as part of Sir John Holman's research into what pragmatic actions could improve career guidance in England, and lay out what a world-class career guidance system looks like. The Benchmarks form part of the Department for Education (DfE) careers strategy, launched December 2017.
Further information about the Gatsby Benchmarks can be found here.
All of our opportunities can contribute to schools’ attainment of the Gatsby benchmarks, whether that be through encounters with employers and employees (Benchmark 5) which the majority of our opportunities provide, experiences of workplaces (Benchmark 6), encounters with further/higher education (Benchmark 7) or linking curriculum learning to careers (Benchmark 4).
In addition, Ofsted will look at the quality of education during an inspection. As part of this they will evaluate the intent, implementation and impact of the curriculum and look at the personal development of young people.
Under intent, Ofsted will look at the extent that the curriculum is ambitious and designed to give all learners -particularly the most disadvantaged and SEND students - the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. They will also look to see if the curriculum is planned to ensure that the students gain sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
We also work with a number of non-mainstream schools, including PRUs and SEND-provision schools, largely through the LifeSkills created with Barclays programme.
By working closely with these schools, we are able to offer their students a range of relevant fully funded opportunities that will help them learn new industry-specific skills, meet people outside of their direct social circle and give them insight into the opportunities available for further study and work. In addition, all our programmes help build much needed skills such as listening, aiming high, teamwork and leadership.
For the impact, consideration will be given to whether young people are ready for the next stage of education, employment or training. In relation to the personal development of learners, inspectors will evaluate the extent to which the curriculum extends beyond the academic, technical or vocational courses. Consideration will be given to whether the curriculum provides opportunities that enable young people to develop and discover their interests and talents and develop their character – including their resilience, confidence and independence.
All our opportunities aim to help equip students with the core transferrable skills they will need to succeed in the ever-changing world of work, allowing them to become lifelong learners who are able to make a positive contribution to their individual communities and to society as a whole.
Our annual Rock Assembly event consists of a Futures Fair (Careers Fair) and a pop concert. The theme of the day is to encourage young people to ‘think big’ about their futures and to give them the opportunity to interact with a wider range of employers across a variety of sectors.