Careers Education

Careers education at Duke’s Secondary School is delivered in a range of ways to all pupils form Year 7 to Year 13 and beyond.  Our PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Careers Education) programme encourages our pupils to think about career planning from their earliest time in Duke’s and supports this development throughout.  We participate in a range of projects to enable our young people to understand the breadth of opportunities available to them in their future education and employment, and partner with a number of organisations that support us in this aspiration.

Mrs. Danielle Towers
Head of KS5 and Careers

Mrs Towers works with students from across the school to support their understanding of future opportunities open to them; their progression through the school and into university or training; and to widen understanding of the career options available to them. She also supports other staff members to provide students with good quality career related activity as part of the curriculum and works closely with a wide range of employers.

Mrs. Danielle Towers can be contacted by telephone on 01670 816 111 or by email

Mrs. Helen Freeman
Head of Personal, Social, Health and Careers Education

Mrs Freeman leads the PSHCE and tutorial programmes across Duke’s School, ensuring that pupils participate in a broad curriculum that helps them to grow personally and prepare vital life skills for their future.

Mr. Tony Quinn
Enterprise Adviser

Tony is a Director at ORE Catapult in Blyth, and has held senior positions in a range of large and influential organisations, primarily in the power generation industry.  As our Enterprise Adviser, Tony works alongside Mrs Towers in giving advice on creating a careers programme that is fit for business; advising the Senior Leadership Team on enterprise and employability matters; and assisting the school by providing links to the business world.

Danielle Towers and Tony Quinn will be continuing to work together to provide students with unique career guidance and development experiences.

Mr. Ian Yarrow

Careers Adviser

Ian is a Careers Adviser based at Northumberland County Council. During the academic year, Ian will hold one to one guidance interviews in school on a weekly basis.

Mr. John Marshall

Link Trustee for Careers

John sits on the board of Trustees for The Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust. He is a lawyer and spent his legal career at Dickinson Dees LLP, latterly Bond Dickinson LLP, from 1989-2016 as a Disputes Resolution lawyer working nationwide, and latterly Senior Partner. John works alongside Mrs Towers in advising the careers programme and supporting employer links.

Mr. Jeff Hope

Link Trustee for Careers

Jeff sits on the board of Trustees for The Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust. Jeff has worked as the Head of Manufacturing at AkzoNobel, Ashington since January 2013. Before joining AkzoNobel, he was a Plant Manager for Rio Tinto Alcan at the Aluminium Smelter in Ashington, where he worked for twelve years. Jeff works alongside Mrs Towers in advising the careers programme and supporting employer links.

What is Careers Education and Guidance? 

The aim of CEG is to help learners find out about the world of work, develop key employability skills and ensure that they take responsibility for planning their own career pathway.

CEG at the school takes place within lessons, assemblies and tutor time, as well as through school trips and visiting speakers. Your children will learn how to research different jobs, make decisions at options times and find out what opportunities are open to them once they leave Duke’s. 

Individual Guidance

All learners from years 9-13 have the opportunity for face to face guidance with Ian Yarrow, the careers adviser. They can request this either by asking their tutor or a teacher, or they might be referred by a member of staff such as a key stage head. Learners in years 7 and 8 can also request a careers appointment and this might be carried out during a lunch time library session. Most careers appointments last about half an hour and all year 11s who have a meeting with Ian will receive an action plan summarising their plans and identifying their next steps.

Parents and carers of all learners can request an after-school appointment by ringing 01670 816111 and leaving their contact details for Mrs Towers Head of KS5 and Careers, who will then liaise with Ian. 

Learners with Special Needs

Learners with special needs will receive support from Northumberland County Council. A Local Authority adviser from the Careers Guidance Team is attached to the school and will be invited to annual reviews when learners requiring an Education Health Care plan reach Year 11.  

To find out more about how NCC can help your child contact Mrs Jill Collin on 01670 816111.

Support for learners who have left school

Learners who leave Duke’s Secondary School after Year 11, 12 or 13 can access support from Northumberland County Council’s Careers Guidance Team at various local community venues. Professional careers advisers from the team are available to see school leavers in the Ashington area. They can be contacted at County Hall on 01670 620008, by text on 07827 244027 or via email at

The National Careers Service

This is a free service for both young people and adults. Young people aged 13 and over can use the service to find information about jobs and courses, as well as requesting 1:1 support from a qualified Adviser by ringing the helpline, emailing, texting or requesting a webchat. Call 0800 100 900 or log on to the National Careers Service 

Other useful sites containing careers information include: – a range of career videos and articles covering most careers topics – a range of careers resources and practical tools – an excellent way of starting to match your interests with jobs – the National Apprenticeship Service website – job sectors that make up the North East landscape

Use the careerometer to compare and contrast different jobs!

Investor in Careers Quality Award

Duke’s Secondary School was awarded the IiC quality award in Careers Education and Guidance in July 2018. This is a nationally recognised award that demonstrates a school is meeting the highest of standards in preparing its learners for the world of work. 

Gatsby Careers Pilot Project

Duke’s Secondary School is proud to be part of the national Gatsby Career Benchmarks pilot. Along with 12 other schools in the North East Duke’s is exploring new and innovative ways of delivering careers education, information, advice and guidance. The eight Gatsby Benchmarks were published in 2014 and are playing a vital role in improving careers work across the region and the UK. You can find out more here

Enterprise Adviser Initiative

Duke’s Secondary School was one of the first schools in the region to be appointed an Enterprise Adviser. The idea of the national Enterprise Adviser Initiative is that prominent local figures from business and industry support the school in preparing students for the world of work. Tony Quinn, the Managing Director of renewable energy employer ORE Catapult in Blyth is already actively working with his staff on joint projects that will give Duke’s learners a real insight into how a cutting edge business succeeds in today’s global energy market.

Duke’s Annual Careers Plan

All students from Years 7-13 have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of career related activities during their time at Duke’s Secondary School. These activities include, World of Work days, workplace visits, guest speaker assemblies and career ready programmes plus many more. However, we continually try to evaluate and improve our programme by gathering feedback from all stakeholders. The Duke’s annual careers plan will be reviewed in summer 2020.

Should you wish to comment on our careers provision or are interested in supporting the programme in some way, please contact Danielle Towers, Head of KS5 and Careers on 01670 816111 or by e-mail at

NCEA Duke’s Secondary School Documents

Duke’s Secondary School careers policy

Our annual careers plan

Careers in the curriculum

What a learner can expect from careers guidance

Guidance for the individual learner

How could you be involved as a parent or carer?

Provider access policy

Download (PDF, 303KB)

For further information about our careers programme, including how you can access additional information, please contact

Download (PDF, 300KB)

For further information about our careers programme, including how you can access additional information, please contact

Download (PDF, 296KB)

For further information about our careers programme, including how you can access additional information, please contact

Last year, all our students progressed into either higher education, employment or training.

Gatsby Benchmarks Pilot School
The School has also been recognised for its work with a pioneering national initiative that aims to transform the way that careers guidance is delivered in schools.  We were one of 13 North East schools and three colleges working with the North East LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) in the National Careers Benchmark Pilot. Its aim is to build links between education providers and businesses and is being financed by the Gatsby Foundation.

Watch this video to find out more:


Investor in Careers accreditation
As a result of our work in developing careers education, we are proud to have been awarded the Investors in Careers quality mark in 2018.

NE Ambition Careers Hub – Lead School
In July 2018, the North East was selected as one of 21 areas across England to host a prestigious Careers Hub dedicated to improving careers education for young people. Duke’s Secondary School has been selected as a “Lead School” within the Hub, working with the Careers and Enterprise Company and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver high quality careers education within the region.

Our Head of KS5 and Careers reports regularly on the impact of the programme through line management meetings and in reports to the Senior Leadership Team of Duke’s Secondary School, the Executive Leadership Team of NCEA Trust, and the Governors and Trustees of NCEA Trust.

We have two link governors who hold the Head of KS5 and Careers, and Principal to account for the progress in this area, and who report on their findings to meetings of the Full Governing Body and the Academy Standards and Improvements Committee.

We utilise the Compass careers benchmarking tool from the Careers and Enterprise Company.

We measure our performance in self-evaluation against the Gatsby Benchmarks for good careers education, and we are regularly reviewed by representatives of the Gatsby Benchmarks organisation to validate or challenge our own evaluation.

We participate in the Investors in Careers programme, which requires external validation of our careers programme.

We listen to what our employers and our pupils tell us about our careers programme, and we implement changes based on this feedback.

The School’s partnership with renewable energy giant, ORE Catapult has been cited as an example of best practice by education experts.

As well as taking part in the School’s World of Work (WOW) Day, which sees over 50 leading employers and learning providers give students an insight into a range of different careers, ORE Catapult has also provided work experience opportunities and one to one mentoring.

The School has also forged strong links with a wide range of national and regional employers as well as further education providers.

University and UCAS

The UCAS widget links students and their parents to important information about higher education and the UCAS application process.

Through simple and intuitive navigation, it’s easy for users to increase their knowledge of the information and advice UCAS has to offer. The content will be reviewed regularly by UCAS so it remains up-to-date and relevant.

Why should I use it?
Parents and carers with little or no prior knowledge of higher education can find it hard to understand how best to support their child throughout the process. By using the easy-to-use widget above students and their parents can access the information they need, when they need it.

University Student Accommodation
LeapSkills on behalf of Unite students (the biggest university accommodation provider) have put together some  activities students can do with parents/ carers to prepare them for moving into university accommodation.

Download (PDF, 329KB)

For students considering an apprenticeship after school or for those who would like to know more about this route, ASK have created a new programme of resources. Students can watch pre-recorded Apprenticeship Awareness Assemblies to learn more from home about the different types of apprenticeships available and the various pathways they may take.


Learn how to find an apprenticeship and set up an account to apply.

The programme as features an Interactive Student Apprenticeship Guide which includes 10 hours of self-directed learning activities.

Apprenticeship Parents Pack

The latest apprenticeship information & advice for parents, supported by the National Apprenticeship Service is updated monthly in the Amazing Apprenticeships Parents’ Pack.

The Parents’ Pack can be found using the link below and includes information on mental health and wellbeing, understanding buzz words and how to link them to your strengths, CV expectations, employers top tips for applicants and much more!

Success at School: Advice for parents/ carers

Success at School have set up a mailing list for parents/ carers to help you support your child with decisions about their career pathway. Sign-up using the link below for tailored content straight to your inbox.

Success at School supported by JP Morgan have created a fantastic guide to help parents and carers steer their children through the confusing world of careers choices. From university and apprenticeships to work experience and gap years, the guide has it all. Parents can preview the guide using the link below.


As a school, we have subscribed to an award-winning, online careers platform called Unifrog. Students have their own individual accounts which they can access during tutor time or at home. We have also set up a parent/ carer login so that parents/ carers can use Unifrog as if they were a student. The form code needed is: parentsnorthumberland and sign up can be completed at: The Unifrog Careers Library tool features guides to hundreds of job roles. Each guide includes detailed labour market information to support students to make informed decisions.

Unifrog have also created a parent launch video on YouTube to provide a tour of the platform. The video can be viewed at

Labour Market Information

Access to up to date career and labour market information is important for helping students to explore potential pathways for their future. Labour market information includes information on: skills and career pathways in the local labour market, job applications and interviews, qualifications and entry requirements, employment sectors, salaries, employment trends, apprenticeships, job demands and working life.

At Duke’s we ensure students have the opportunity to gather information about the labour market where they live through assemblies, tutor time activities, Unifrog and weekly visible updates around school.

To help parents/carers keep up to date with developments in the North East, Northumberland College in association with Duke’s have created a useful leaflet including information on the 5 occupations with the highest growth and the 10 skill shortage vacancies in the North East.

Download (PDF, 4.61MB)

Weekly Labour Market Information updates are posted below or on the website under Curriculum- Careers Education- Careers Latest News. These updates feature the most up to date information for the region.

Download (PDF, 823KB)