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Exploring creative career pathways at Varndean School

Partners produced a student-led conference showcasing a variety of creative career pathways, relating to design and technology. This project was about creative thinking, careers guidance and transition but most importantly aspiration.

Who was involved

Students and teachers from Varndean School, Brighton and Hove.

Creative practitioners: Mark Robertson (lead, event manager), plus 27 creative practitioners from careers relating to design and technology (including celebratory arts, STEM ambassadors, cake making, fashion design, graphic design, computing)


How can students make links with a variety of external practitioners working in a variety of careers in the field of design and technology and work with them to design and deliver an event which actively engages an entire year group with these career pathways?


To establish a network of links between the school and local members of the creative industries

To encourage students to engage with the wide spectrum of activity within the Design and Technology department and to consider taking a Design and Technology option at GSCE

To give students the opportunity to take the lead on organising a major school event


Students, teachers and practitioners collaborated to deliver an all-day conference event for students. The conference inspired students, and students enjoyed the day. They had met inspiring role models and gained insight into professional life and potential careers.

Teachers developed positive relationships with students, and saw them differently in a different context. All staff provided positive feedback about their experience of the day. The school is enthusiastic about students organising future “collapsed timetable days” and intend to support this on a regular basis.

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This is why I went into teaching – to inspire kids!