The SecEd Podcast: Preparing students for post-16 education

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

This episode considers the key elements of the transition from key stage 4 to 5. We offer practical tips for how we can prepare students, both academically and pastorally, for the big step-up to post-16 study.

During the discussion our expert panel asks why this transition point is so important and consider the key pastoral and academic challenges for students of moving into post-16.

Crucially, we ask how we can help students to handle the increased independence of post-16, including study and research skills, time-management, and self-organisation, as well as the increased level of challenge in the curriculum.

When should this preparatory work begin? Who is involved in delivering this support? What is role of further education and sixth form colleges in supporting schools, and vice-versa.

Also, what does good independent career advice and guidance look like, and how can we engage parents and support pupils to make good choices.

And finally, how can we tackle the knowledge gaps and lack of exam skills of the Covid generation of students now moving into post-16, including building back their resilience?

The podcast is hosted by Matt Bromley, an education advisor and author with more than 20 years’ experience in teaching including as a secondary headteacher and MAT director. Our guests are:

  • Vickie Smith, head of sixth form and vice-principal at Chichester High School, part of the Kemnal Academies Trust. Vickie is also the TKAT sixth form lead practitioner working across six other sixth forms within TKAT.
  • Andy Hargreaves, head of student experience at City of Liverpool College.
  • Maria O'Neill is an experienced pastoral leader and researcher. She is the author of Proactive Pastoral Care: Nurturing happy, healthy and successful learners.

To hear other SecEd podcasts, or to subscribe for free to new editions, search for 'The SecEd Podcast' in your podcast streaming application of choice. Or visit

For details about The SecEd Podcast, or to suggest future topics, email editor Pete Henshaw at


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