Supporting your aspirations

We know that students who choose to study at Harington are incredibly ambitious about their future pathways post-18. The majority of our students (typically over 90%) opt to follow a university route, and we have been pleased to see a growing number of students successfully applying for degree apprenticeships. As a specialist sixth form, our whole programme across Year 12 and Year 13 has been designed to support your ambitions.

Since the school opened we have consistently supported students to achieve places at the most competitive universities.

An average, over 70% of all our students have achieved their first-choice university place with typically over 45% of students leaving Harington to study at Russell Group Universities.

Applying to competitive universities involves far more than writing a UCAS personal statement (although we certainly give a lot of support on doing these). Below is an overview of the support students can expect to access throughout the year.

Academic Enrichment

94% of students agreed that the Academic Enrichment Programme supported their future career ambitions (student survey 2020)

Throughout Year 12 all students will be able to take part in our Academic Enrichment Programme. This programme is designed to give you access to supra-curricular content, that is material about potential careers that sits outside of your A level curriculum. The advantage of this programme is that once you do start to apply for your next career stage you will have both a greater understanding of the career, and crucially more evidence to support your application. Alongside this programme, you will be encouraged to take part in at least 9 hours of volunteering over 6 weeks. This is typically within the local community developing those key team work skills which are so important to employers.

Careers Pathways

A core part of our Academic Enrichment Programme is to ensure that you have additional support to help you apply for the next stage of your career. We therefore run pathway groups for the most popular careers. This is wide ranging but typically will include Engineering, medicine / veterinary science, Law, Business and Finance, Science, and Psychology / Criminology, and the IT sector.


Our Engineering pathway group is often one of the most popular, especially with those students studying Maths and Physics at A level. This well-established programme provides opportunities for hands on engineering (try your hand at designing the best home-made catapult or water rockets) and visits to local Engineering Companies in Oakham. Students have also benefitted from listening to outside visitors. These have included engineers leading large national infra structure projects along with our previous alumni like Indira who is now in the third year of her Engineering Scholarship. If you join the Engineering Pathway group you will be actively encouraged to develop your own project. In 2018 a group of our students entering the Guinness World Record for the World’s Fastest Toilet – the challenge has now been set!

Medical School

Applying successfully for a place at medical school does not happen by chance.

At Harington we run a joint Doc Society in partnership with Oakham School. This group, who typically study Biology / Chemistry combination tend to meet fortnightly during terms two to five of Year 12. The packed programme includes Q&A sessions with practitioners, advice on sitting the required entrance examinations, and guidance on how best to build up the required hours of work experience. Students applying in this field will also typically take part in the Science Olympiads which run every year. This is a national competition entered by the strongest scientists in the country. Every year the school is proud to send students into this valuable yet highly competitive career.

Law Pathway

Our law group has steadily grown in size every year and now it is not uncommon for twelve or more students to join this group as they consider a future career within the legal sector. This pathway group typically runs in term 3 of Year 12. A key aspect of this group’s time is spent looking at legal cases and debating the arguments for the prosecution or defence. We have welcomed existing barristers into the school to talk about their work, and students are supported to apply for work experience. For 2020 we have also added a specific group interested in Human Rights – it has been very popular.

Business and Finance

Our Business and Finance group is designed for those students who are considering a range of careers. This may include accounting, HR, marketing, sales and advertising. Many students in this group are currently studying Economics and/or Maths but this is not a requirement (nor is it often in the real world). A central feature of this group is the Young Enterprize Scheme that has been active for over forty year nationally. Students create a business, decide on their product or service, and then compete with other students around the country to be named Business of the Year. This is great hands on experience and the scheme comes highly recommended.


We have a large number of students each year who, after achieving a level seven at GCSE opt to pursue a Science based curriculum. To support their career ambitions we run a general science career pathway group. Students who join this group are interested in a career broadly within the Sciences so this may include Veterinary Science, Sports Science/Physiotherapy and Bio-Chemical research. Within this six-week programme, students experience a great deal of practical science, completing experiments that sit outside of the main A level curriculum.


Psychology is one of our most popular subjects at Harington and the number of students pursuing Psychology related degrees has increased greatly. In 2020, twelve students made the decision to study this discipline at university. The ideas of Psychology are now applied in an incredibly wide range of fields. With this in mind our Psychology pathway group aims to also cover a real breadth. For example, students consider topics as diverse as the psychology behind supermarket shopping – where should the fruit and veg isle be in the store, through to the way the police can narrow down a list of murder suspects (think Mindhunters on Netflix’s!).

The Harington Challenge

A unique aspect of our school offering is the Harington Challenge. This is a two fold mini project that all students are required to complete. Students firstly choose a topic of their choice, something that they have a real interest in or an area they wish to explore further as it possibly links with a future career choice. Once the student has identified their own individual title they will begin by writing a thousand word essay responding to it.  Students are encouraged to use a wide range of primary and secondary sources to answer the question effectively. The range of topics that students choose are really impressive from the arguments of legalising performance enhancing drugs in sport, to the psychology of gender identity, through to the considering why India is more environmental sustainable than the UK, or whether humans will ever break the 9s mark for the 100m. Any topic is possible as long it is not duplication material direct from their lessons.  The second section of the Harington Challenge is an oral presentation. Each student presents their findings to their form and answers any questions that arise. At the end of the term each form will put forward one form representative who will present to the whole year group.

The skills developed during the Harington Challenge are invaluable. Every year approximately 30-35 students will then decide to develop their ideas (or approach) further and complete an Extended Project Qualification (worth half an A level).

UCAS Applications

By the end of Year 12 students will be starting to work hard on their UCAS (university) applications. Our specialist team is here to help and your application will be reviewed by class teachers, form teacher and our post-18 Programme of Study Lead before being final approved. It is this rigorous process that has helped students achieve such strong university offers.

Each year we run a separate early entrance group where we ensure their applications are sent prior to the October half term. This group includes those students considering Oxbridge, Medicine and Veterinary Science.