Sir James Smith's Community School

Work Experience

Students at Sir James Smith’s Community School are offered the chance to complete a work experience week in Year 10. Work experience is a valuable opportunity for students to sample the world of work and to gain an insight into life outside the classroom.

Every year, work experience is always very popular and this means that the favourite placements are usually taken early which is why we encourage students to sort out their placement as soon as possible. Many other schools in the area participate in work experience at the same time making competition for some placements quite fierce. 

Here at Sir Jim's we use work experience to enable students to improve their employability skills and to put the knowledge and skills they learn in Careers, PSHE and Citizenship into practice in a real workplace situation. 


  • National guidelines state that work experience for young people must be based in England or Wales. Resources are not available in countries where education and employment laws differ from ours. 
  • We also suggest that students do not find a placement with a sole trader as they often do not have the relevant insurance and the placement will be rejected meaning that a student will need to find another placement. 
  • Students should not find a placement where they will be working with a member of their family or where they already work as this won’t be a new experience for them.
  • Some placements such as The Police Force require students to complete an application form which can be downloaded from Cornwall Council’s website – check with Ms Ledger if unsure.
  • Students may work any hours they wish whilst on work experience as long as parents and employers are happy with the arrangements but the recommended limit is 40 hours in one week. Students may work evenings or weekends if it is an integral part of the job they have chosen.
  • If students want to go out of county, remember to only find placements in England or Wales.  Placements outside of these areas are not permitted. Please also remember that students and parents are responsible for all accommodation and travel arrangements together with any costs.  As out of county placements take longer to process (sometimes they can take up to 12 weeks to be approved) it is advisable to have a back-up placement in Cornwall just in case. 


Students have the choice of where they go but there are laws and regulations outlining what young people CANNOT do and these are listed below: 

  • In a tattoo studio or any other skin piercing environment 
  • On board a registered boat or ship 
  • In any gambling context 
  • In a cinema or night club 
  • Behind a bar 
  • In a travelling fairground or circus 

There are also restrictions on the types of activity students can do on work experience: 

  • Students may not work above two metres fall height i.e. two metres above ground level outdoors or floor level indoors
  • Students cannot work with toxic substances 
  • Students cannot be exposed to radiation 
  • Students cannot use power driven tools and machinery 
  • Students cannot work in excessive noise, heat or cold 
  • Students cannot work in confined spaces: mines, chimneys, storage tanks, tunnels, basements etc. 


For ideas on where to look for a placement, students have access to a website listing hundreds of placements in Cornwall which have been used previously. This list does not mean that an employer will take them, it is simply a list of where students have been before.  This database of placements can be found by clicking here.

Students will have been given a unique PIN number by their form tutors but if they do not have this, they can contact Ms Ledger. 

Students are encouraged to apply for their own placements rather than relying on parents as this prepares them for applying for a job once they leave school.  However, if they are struggling to find a placement on their own, help is at hand from Ms Ledger.


Once a student has secured a placement, they need to get their approval and consent form signed on page one by parents and given back to school so a copy can be made. Students should then take or send the form to their employer together with an information pack. Once the employer has completed the form they can either send the form directly back to school or return it to the student. The form should then be signed on the back page by parents and students and returned to Ms Ledger who will then enter it onto County’s database.


Health and Safety is of paramount importance and all placements are visited by Cornwall’s Education Business Partnership to ensure they are suitable for our students. If a placement is rejected for any reason, a student will not be allowed to go there and will need to find somewhere else more suitable. We will provide a general health and safety course before students go on work experience and we also provide ‘high risk’ health and safety training for those placements requiring more in depth training. 

Once a student is at their placement, a member of school staff will visit them to ensure all is well. For students out of county, a phone call will be made instead.  Each student will be given a logbook to complete whilst at their placement and they are asked to fill this in every day and there is also a section for the employer to comment about the student and how they have fitted into the placement. The logbook is handed back to Ms Ledger when students return to school; there is a prize for the best logbook. 

Upon their return, students will have a mini debrief session where they will be able to discuss their placements with each other and their form tutor and they will also be asked to write a letter of thanks to each employer for allowing them to work with them. 

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact: 

Ms Jo Ledger - 01840 213274

Please see links below for parent/carer and employer information:

careers at