Careers Support

Pupils in S1-S3 are interviewed throughout the academic year by their Academic Mentors and followed up subsequently by their Pupil Support teachers. Senior pupils are seen regularly throughout the year by their Pupil support Teachers.

We use this approach as a way of getting to know our pupils well and to allow us to establish a bond with our pupils. During the interviews we discuss issues such as: how pupils are progressing; if they have difficulties of any kind; what their hobbies and interests are: what they see as their strengths and weaknesses and we also discuss their career aspirations. As they progress through the school, this information helps the staff and the Work Coach from Skills Development Scotland to advise them about future education, training or employment.

Pupil Support staff work closely with our partners in employment to help and support pupils make the transition from school to the world of work. We also maintain links with Dumfries primary and secondary schools, Dumfries and Galloway College, Barony College and the Universities of Glasgow and the West of Scotland at the Crichton Campus. Many of these institutions provide talks to pupils and will attend parents’ evenings. This allows both pupils and parents to talk to them.

Pupils are expected to make very important decisions with respect to their future from a relatively early point in their secondary education. Careers education and developing employability skills are integrated within the personal and social education lessons. Senior pupils also have activities they can opt in to help them with their career options. They include:

  • College application & CV building workshops
  • Mock interview experience with local business people
  • UCAS preparation workshops
  • Campus visits to colleges and universities
  • Work experience
  • Skills Development Scotland

A work coach is attached to the school. The work coach is an important member of the extended Pupil Support team. Our current work coach is Jane Patterson. She will meet with pupils initially from the senior school who are intending to leave at the end of the academic year. The work coach will also give presentations on career management within the PSE lessons.

Jane is in on a Wednesday and a Thursday with drop-in sessions being held at lunchtime on both days.

The school is also supported by Marie McKeown from Total Access Point. Marie will work with smaller groups of pupils to prepare the pupils for the transition from school into employment.

Widening access to higher education in the West of Scotland.

Focus West

Maxwelltown High School is proud to be a partner of Focus West:

Focus West (Focus on College and University Study – West of Scotland) is the largest division in Scotland of the national Schools for Higher Education Programme. Its job is to move more pupils into Higher Education, whether this is direct to university, or going to college first to study for a Higher National Qualification. Focus West, through its Programme, has the capacity to permit adjusted university offers to pupils at the secondary schools from which it operates.   It works on behalf of ALL universities and colleges in the west of Scotland and its work is therefore not connected to one university or one college. This means that it has a helpful, balanced overview of all suitable courses, not just those that are offered by one particular institution.

What can pupils experience? :

S3 Campus Days

You’ll begin your FOCUS West journey in S3, with two separate campus visits; one to a university and one to a college.

University Campus Days – On a University Campus Day, you will have an opportunity to look round a university campus, find out about the different courses that you can study at university and what student life is all about. You’ll take part in a series of group activities, led by current students who can tell you what it’s really like to go to university. You may be surprised to see the variety of people that go to university, many of them just like you. This is your chance to find out about what university is really like and the future opportunities that are open to you.

Some of the activities you’ll be doing:

  • Taking part in fun group activities with pupils from other schools; a great chance to make new friends.
  • Working with students who are currently at university and who will be able to tell you all about studying and student life.
  • Finding out all about the courses that you can do at uni and the careers that these can lead to.
  • Finding out about the different routes into studying at university (there’s more than you think!)
  • Finding out what university is really like. Answering questions such as –  how much does it cost? What jobs does it lead to? What kind of studying do you do at university?  Is it too hard? (of course not!) And lots more!

College Campus Days – On a College Campus Day, you will have the opportunity to explore a college campus and find out about all the opportunities available through studying at college. Similar to the university campus day, you will take part in a series of fun activities, working with mentors who are currently studying, as well as having the chance to take part in a workshop on a college subject that interests you. You’ll find out that a college course can lead to all kinds of future opportunities and careers

What you’ll be doing:

  • Taking part in fun activities to get to know the other people in your group and your student mentors.
  • Finding out what college study is really like and the careers it can lead to.
  • Finding out about the different routes into college and the links between colleges and universities.
  • Taking part in a fun, interactive workshop based on a college subject. Let the college tutors show you exactly what it’s like to study there.
  • Finding out about student finance; how much does it really cost to study?
  • Getting a head start to future success by seeing all the opportunities available to you.

By participating in both days pupils can find out if college or university is really for them.

S4 Focus on 4 Programme

4th year at school is an important time, with important exams to study for and career choices to be made. ‘Focus on Four’ is a two-day programme, held at the University of Strathclyde, which will help you find out the best ways for you to study, deal with the pressure of exams and make the right choices for the future.

Working in a group, and supported by your student mentors, you will find out about how different people learn in different ways and which way is best for you.  The student mentors will provide you with lots of new study techniques that will help you onto the path to exam success.

What you’ll be doing:

  • Finding out about different ways to learn and which is most effective for you.
  • Working with your team to create your ‘dream classroom’.
  • Finding out about new study techniques and how they can help you prepare for your exams.
  • Taking part in sessions on memory techniques, time management, the study environment and stress management.
  • Finding out from current university students what study techniques work best for them and what studying at university is really like.
  • Finding out more about student life and finance.
  • Exploring a university campus while taking part in a series of fun activities.

What previous pupils have said about the Focus on 4 programme:

  • “It helped me spread my time out to learn more effectively.”
  •  “It will help me concentrate.”
  • “I learnt a lot. Now I know a lot of new techniques to help me with studying.”

Watch out for up and coming dates for the Focus on 4 programme!

Useful Information:

Skills Development Scotland, Loreburn Centre, High Street, DUMFRIES, DG1 2BD
Telephone: Dumfries 01387 272500

Useful website addresses: