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COA's programmes and services for Schools

COA provides programmes, services and for schools and colleges. All of our programmes have been designed in a flexible way, allowing practitioners to:

  • choose which products and services they wish to use for a whole year group or with a single student
  • fit them into an existing school tutorial programme
  • design an IAG programme around them

Click on the links below to find out more.



Further information

Aptitude tests
New to careers? Register for our Getting Started course
Update my school / staff details
MySchool login
Centigrade Online


Careers programmes - Probe

Probe introduces students in Years 8/9 to careers work and helps them to think about their interests and the importance of GCSE subject choice. They can use their feedback as an introduction to accessing careers information.

Careers programmes - Preview

Preview incorporates MyCareersRoom and helps students in Year 10/11 to:

  •  think about themselves and  focus on career areas likely to be of interest
  •  choose sixth form subjects
  •  develop research skills and create a portfolio

It is a flexible programme with full COA supporting services for the school including:   

  • literature for parents
  • attendance at parents' meetings
  • the conducting of the Cambridge Profile Aptitude Tests (if required)
  • training for staff
  • talks for students or parents
  • MyCareersRoom for the students
  • MySchool for the staff
  • Interviews are an optional extra

Higher education choices - Centigrade

Centigrade helps students in year 12 base their choice of course and institution in HE on focussed systematic research.

Centigrade can be an essential part of a sixth form HE programme. It helps students consider a manageable number of courses and institutions setting clear guidelines for their research into HE provision. It uses the very latest HE databases and its results are impartial and comprehensive. 

The Centigrade package includes:

  • literature for parents
  • adviser’s manual for staff
  • briefing for tutors
  • MySchool facilitates the archiving and access to student feedback and summary documents in the form of easily accessible PDF files.This is helpful if different personnel are involved in giving advice and if students misplace workbooks!

Other optional extras include:

  • training courses held in London or often in tandem with a regional meeting around the UK
  • use of MyCareersRoom
  • group handover sessions for students
  • interviews

View the Centigrade page for full details.

If students have done the Centigrade test individually using Centigrade online then unfortunately the MySchool facility is not available for the school staff, so it is important for staff to register the list of student names in advance if they wish to use MySchool.

For schools and colleges that are unable to offer Centigrade to their students - Centigrade is also available on an individual basis, allowing the student to pay by PayPal or credit/debit card.

The workbook can either be delivered via email as a PDF file, or can be printed at COA and posted direct - normally the same working day if ordered by noon.

Centigrade Online is available at

Aptitude tests - Cambridge Profile

Cambridge Profile - our battery of eight aptitude tests -  assesses aptitude and academic potential and can be used with students from years 8 to 12.  It has been specially designed to take less time than comparable tests, whilst maintaining its reliability.

Cambridge Profile is widely used by schools to help them in their assessment of students, whose first language is not English, who are joining the school in the sixth form or at some other stage. It gives an assessment of overall Academic Ability but in addition can compare Verbal Reasoning results in both their first language and English. The summative documentation also provides useful information on Teaching and Learning styles.

It is a stand-alone test but the additional information from this test can also be incorporated into the Preview results. Information for parents can be found in the  Cambridge Profile Parents' brochure.

View the Cambridge Profile Aptitude Test page for full package details.

COA assessment philosophy

The COA assessment philosophy

The COA programmes are designed to help students to make better, more informed decisions about their future education and career choices.  To do this, the programmes use a combination of guidance materials, self-assessments, independent assessments and objective assessments to provide information on students’ interests, abilities, motivations, attitudes and values.  The assessments are provided through a mix of questionnaires, tests, qualifications, interviews and teacher assessments.  The central concept is that students will do well in their future choices if they have the right mix of abilities, motivation and understanding.  The programmes do not, however, make use of personality tests or learning and thinking style inventories.  There are a number of reasons for this.  Firstly, the programmes are run with students who are still developing and maturing.  Although some aspects of personality may be fairly stable over time, others change with experience and learning.  In addition:

  • Courses and jobs have many facets.  Different personalities  and learning and thinking styles can be effective in different aspects of a job.  It is very, very unusual for one personality type or one style of thinking  to be the only one relevant  to an academic subject , profession or job.
  • People can adapt their behaviour to cope with different personality types and styles  of thinking and learning if they are sufficiently motivated.
  • Assumptions are often made about the relationship of preferred personality types and learning and thinking styles to job success which turn out to be wrong.
  • Personality assessment is a highly skilled activity.  We consider it unsafe to provide personality assessments to untrained individuals who are in danger of over-interpreting or mis-using such information.
  • Providing simplified feedback on personality test results or assessments of learning and thinking styles are likely to mis-represent the student.

So, at COA we avoid making use of such information and focus on the information about achievements, abilities, motivations and attitudes that we do collect.

Services for Schools

Regional meetings provide careers staff with opportunities to meet fellow practitioners and to network as well as to listen to presentations from experts and discuss matters of interest on topics connected with careers or HE.

The Getting Started course introduces newly appointed careers staff to the careers world, giving a sound foundation on which to build their knowledge of careers guidance.

Our Leading and Managing Careers Work in Schools course is based on six sessions and prepares staff for the role of careers leader in school.

COA's Annual Conference has covered a variety of topics in recent years from entrepreneurship to studying overseas and this year's event will consider the Global Marketplace.

Our Regional Directors and Interviewing staff are available to help with a wealth of experience, which careers departments value highly.

We provide bespoke training courses in schools so that tutors and other staff understand the relevance of the feedback which the students receive in years 11 and 12.  These sessions are immensely valuable in ensuring the careers staff are supported in their work and that the programme is integrated into the overall pastoral system designed to benefit the student.

When there are staffing issues within a careers department, COA can offer support to provide special cover by prior arrangement.

Talks and Presentations

We provide a variety of PowerPoint presentations for use in schools. These have been designed to introduce our programmes to the students or parents, to help students understand the feedback in their workbooks and to ensure that staff in the wider team are kept in the picture. These can form the basis of talks and presentations which are given by the careers or sixth form staff.

In addition our teams can give talks which include the following:

  • A Journey through your Workbook can be given ideally before the Interviews take place or the workbooks are distributed for either Preview or Centigrade
  • Talks about the programmes can be given at Parents’ meetings
  • Regional staff attend Careers or Parents’ Evenings on request (this is part of the Preview service but at an additional cost if only Centigrade is being used)

If you are already using our programmes and wish to arrange a talk or presentation, please contact Danielle Smith.

If you are interested in learning more about our programmes and services to help deliver careers guidance at your school, please contact Joyce Lane.


We publish books which form an integral part of our programmes but are equally valued as useful sources of information in the careers library.

The Careers Directory: each student receives this with their Preview Workbook.

Personal Development and Work Experience: each student receives this with their Preview Workbook.

Degree Course Descriptions: each student receives this with their Centigrade Workbook.

60 Personal Statements: a helpful guide to writing an impressive personal statement for your UCAS application form.

For advice when using Centigrade

Guidelines for using Centigrade can be downloaded from the Library section of MySchool.

Guidelines for using the COA Interviewing Service can be downloaded from the Library section of MySchool. If you require assistance please email Production or call 01362 688 722.

Opening doors of opportunity