Work Experience Policy

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1 Introduction

Work experience is an integral part of our students’ entitlement to CEIAG (Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance); providing a key opportunity to support students in preparing for the next stage in their education, employment or training.

Work experience gives young people vital insights into the world of work, encourages them to aspire to great things, and helps them to prepare for their future. It bridges the gap between school, college and work and helps young people make decisions about their future and develop new and existing skills.

The opportunity to participate in work experience is provided to all students and provision is made to allow all students to access work experience placements. Students are encouraged to find placements linked to career paths that suit their interests, skills and strengths with the absence of stereotypes, which are actively challenged.

Students with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND), or any other additional needs, will be supported appropriately through liaison with parents and relevant staff i.e. the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and the placement provider.

2 Our aims

Work Experience should:

  • Enhance students’ knowledge of the world of work
  • Develop students’ employability skills
  • Provide an insight into the skills, qualities and attitudes required by particular sectors and employers
  • Provide opportunities for personal and social development – including self-confidence, time management, personal organisation and resilience
  • Help prepare students for the world of work
  • Enable students to make cross-curricular links
  • Support the School’s CEIAG provision
  • Provide students with an opportunity for self-evaluation

3 Provision

The opportunity for a five day work experience placement is offered to all year 10 and year 12 students in the summer term. However, some KS5 students might access additional work experience placements during year 12 and/or 13.

4 Management and co-ordination

Approval of work placements is the responsibility of the School and all placements are managed by the School. They can be sourced through a number of different methods including personal contacts, school contacts or external provider contacts, e.g. Connexions. National legislation from the HSE and the DfE will be followed to ensure the health, safety and safeguarding of students whilst on work experience. The School only authorises placements which have met all of our safeguarding requirements (see below).

5 Safety considerations

The HSE guidance for work experience and placements is invaluable and should be shared with staff and placement providers. It can be found at

5.1 Considerations for School

“[For] those organising placements, [they] should simply ask sensible questions, in proportion to the level of risk, to satisfy themselves that those arrangements are in place. They should not be second-guessing employers’ risk assessments or requiring additional paperwork. This means that schools do not need to complete extensive health and safety checks or risk assessments of their own, nor do they need to hire third parties to do so.”

HSE Guidance on Work Experience

5.2 Considerations for the placement provider

Under HSE guidance (the Health and Safety (Training for Employment) Regulations 1990), students on work experience are treated as employees for health and safety purposes. The placement provider has the same duty of care to the students as it does to its own employees.

The provider must ensure that any young person on placement is protected from any risks which are a consequence of their lack of experience or an absence of awareness of existing or potential risks or the fact that a young person has not fully matured.

An employers’ existing workplace risk assessments may already cover the risks that work experience students may be exposed to. Their existing Employer’s Liability Insurance will cover such placements.

5.3 Assessing the risk

Employers are required to have risk assessments for their employees, although small employers (with fewer than five employees) do not have to have them written down. We will ask placement providers to carry out an appropriate workplace induction, which may include undertaking the risk assessments with students, in accordance with the HSE guidance:

  • For placements in low-risk environments, such as offices or shops, with everyday risks that will mostly be familiar to the student, we consider that existing arrangements for other employees should suffice.
  • For environments with risks less familiar to the student (e.g. in light assembly or packing facilities), we will ask the placement provider to make arrangements to manage the risks. We consider this should include induction, supervision, site familiarisation, and any protective equipment needed.
  • for a placement in a higher-risk environment such as construction, agriculture and manufacturing we will ask the provider to consider what work the student will be doing or observing, the risks involved and how these are managed and to satisfy themselves that the instruction, training and supervisory arrangements have been properly thought through and that they work in practice.

In addition to this, we will ask that the risk assessments take into account the student’s potential inexperience, lack of awareness of risks and their stage of development. Where it is appropriate to do so, relevant information (such as a care plan) may be sent to the employer to allow them to consider how best to provide safe methods of working. The advice of the SENCO, Head of Year, Medical Welfare Officer and other relevant staff shall be sought in such cases before information is sent from the school.

5.4 Briefing our students

In school:

  • The school will deliver an assembly, prior to the students going out on placement, which reiterates the importance of work experience and its benefits. This assembly will also be used to explain about health and safety in the workplace and confirms the procedure for raising any health and safety, as well as safeguarding, concerns.
  • The school will reinforce these messages in the final few days before the students go out on placement, through the pastoral system.
  • The school will advise parents/carers of any significant risks in the form of an information sheet and what has been done to control them once a health and safety assessment has taken place.

On placement:

  • We request that the placement provider brief students on their first day of induction on health and safety; how to identify hazards and control measures that can be put in place to reduce risk of injury or accident.

6 Safeguarding our students

Guidance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and the Department for Education in the document “Keeping Children Safe in Education” indicates :

  • Pupils below the age of 16 cannot have a DBS check undertaken.
  • It may be appropriate for barred list checks to take place on individuals who supervise such a placement. Consideration should be given to whether the person providing the supervision will be unsupervised and how frequently they are providing the supervision. If it is more than 3 days in a 30 day period then it is likely to require a check. This check can be in the form of a barred list check.
  • For students aged 16 or over, where the placement is in a “specified place” (such as a school, children’s home, childcare premises), the placement provider “should consider whether a DBS enhanced check should be requested.”
  • Separate government guidance suggests that students aged 16 and over, who will be undertaking a placement in Health Care or the Early Years sector should have an enhanced DBS check. Time should be allowed for this to be undertaken in advance of the placement commencing. (This refers to “Post-16 work experience as a part of 16 to 19 study programmes and traineeships” published by the DfE in March 2015).

It is recognised that the issue of safeguarding refers both to the pupils undertaking the placement as well as service users who attend such specified places. Whichever way it is viewed, the advice of maintaining “reasonable supervision” should be considered central to protecting both parties.

7 Monitoring and evaluation

All students who access the work experience programme will be asked to evaluate and reflect on their experiences immediately after they return from their placements. This will take place through, but will not necessarily be limited to, a de-brief assembly, a formal evaluation and other reflective work through the pastoral system.

In addition, the work experience programme is reviewed by the Student Progression Manager and Work Experience Co-ordinator. This review is based on evidence from students and placement providers and will be presented to the SLT and the Governors as part of the CEIAG reporting procedures.

The review will:

  • Consider the extent to which the programme meets the stated aims
  • Consider any health and safety issues that have arisen, including from the induction provided
  • Calculate the percentage of students arranging their own placement
  • Calculate the percentage of students completing a placement
  • Consider reasons for failure to complete a placement
  • Identify areas for improvement which will be incorporated into the CEIAG development plan