In October 2020, Thornton College, the only non-selective independent girls school in Milton Keynes, won the National Independent School of the Year Award in the highly competitive student careers programme category, and is also a finalist in the Independent School Association Awards for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) education provision.
These awards are incredible accolades and a nod to the school’s core ethos and values that recognise and encourage in every student the power and ability within them to make a positive difference in life.
Thornton girls are interested in learning – from the youngest students who love the school’s family of Mekamon robots and coding, to older students who are linked with industry leaders through workshops and lectures.
Each year, Careers and Enterprise Leader, Jo Scott and her energetic, enthusiastic careers team, build and develop relationships with companies to ensure students are aware of the wide range of career pathways available. These partnerships and links have real outcomes with 100% of Sixth Form leavers last summer securing their first-choice universities.
As part of Thornton’s bespoke programme, all students have tailor-made, one-to-one careers and skills support, enabling them to build robust, individual portfolios. Students interested in the apprenticeship and employment route are supported through the rigorous recruitment process, and latterly have gained places with the Army, KPMG and the RAF. Having been inspired by a school workshop, a 2019 Year 13 leaver joined the RAF Air Operations Branch and has now been awarded the prestigious Jackson Trophy for best theory marks, practical performance and personal qualities seen in a recruit.
Last year, Thornton College hosted its fifth annual STEAM event, welcoming over 300 students from local state and independent schools. Students were able to interact with over 30 local science and technology industry leaders to discuss placements and career opportunities. These companies include Sir Robert McAlpine, Aon, Tesla, F1 Racing Point, BP, Unilever, AECOM, Hollis and NiftyLift. This is an impressive list of partners and the school works hard to encourage outreach with local pupils, giving them the chance to work together collaboratively and develop the soft skills that employers look for.
This year, of course, things have been different with COVID-19 and social restrictions. Interestingly, Thornton has not missed a day of providing teaching and learning since the outbreak and first lockdown in March 2020. The school has embraced the chance to think laterally and provide a number of virtual careers workshops.
These have included careers in Healthcare and Business and Food Manufacturing events, an interactive STEAM workshop delivered on Zoom by Volkswagen and online talks given by past students on a variety of experiences, including surveying, occupational therapy and sales.
This term, in addition to an ambitious online speed STEAM careers event, delegates will give talks on careers in Theatre, Law and Financial Services. Thornton have also formed a partnership with the new university, MK:U, hosting regular consultation groups with Cranfield University lecturers and faculty leaders. A group of Year 10s attended a meeting and brainstormed ideas for a Data Science Apprenticeship. Having initially written off data scientists as being rather geeky, by the end of the session the students were inspired by the creativity needed and the important role they play in sectors such as finance and medicine.
Teachers from both the Senior and Prep schools will host lessons for the annual MK Innovates, showcasing the STEAM innovative teaching that Thornton is proud to deliver.
For more information about Thornton College contact Jennifer Walker at JWalker@thorntoncollege.com