Photo of a student from Radlett Lodge School meeting a bearded dragon
Students at The National Autistic Society’s Radlett Lodge School in Hertfordshire enjoyed a special careers day this week (27 June), getting a taster of a range of jobs – including what it could be like to be a zookeeper. 

The students, from secondary and post-16 classes, were given the opportunity to be inspired by an array of career paths through talks and activities ranging from beauticians, musicians, a painter decorator and even Zoo4U, who brought with them a bearded dragon, a snake, a meerkat, a rabbit and a rat. 

Jeremy Keeble, Principal at The National Autistic Society’s Radlett Lodge School said: 

"At Radlett Lodge we strive to provide our students with as many opportunities as possible, so we can help prepare them for adulthood."

Career days like this one can be a fun way for them to learn about a variety of jobs and get a taster of what they’re actually like. Our students seemed to really enjoy themselves. After all, it’s not every day that you come face to face with a bearded dragon!

“We’re grateful to everyone who helped make the day such a success, especially our staff and those who volunteered their time to meet our students and tell them about their work. We hope this will be the first of many career days.” 

Photograph of a pupil from Radlett Lodge School meeting a tortoise.

The autism-specific school was rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in January 2017 and provides primary, secondary and post-16 support to 55 pupils. Attached to the school is a residential building called ‘The Lodge’ which caters for up to 14 pupils who stay there on either a weekly or termly basis.

More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, including an estimated 120,000 school-aged children in England. This means that someone sees, hears and feels the world in a different, often more intense way. But it affects each child differently and can make school life very difficult. For instance, some children are so sensitive to light or sound that an overhead light or humming computer can be physically painful and make it almost impossible to follow a lesson. For others, a small change to the day’s schedule, like the school bus turning up late or a sudden change to the seating plan, can feel like the end of the world.

Some children on the autism spectrum are able to excel in mainstream schools while others require extensive support in specialist settings, like the NAS Radlett Lodge School. 

Photograph of a pupil from Radlett Lodge School meeting a rabbit.