Schools responsibility for career guidance

Helen Bates

Helen has 16 years experience of working for CASCAiD, the UK’s leading provider of careers guidance solutions. CASCAiD Ltd has produced technology-based guidance solutions for over 40 years and is a Social Economic Enterprise (SEE) owned by Loughborough University.

The majority of schools in the UK use a resource from CASCAiD to support their students in their careers guidance programme. Kudos has been used for over 20 years and continues to be the leading careers tool for Key Stage 4 and post-16 students. Career education and guidance resources are available from the age of 7 onwards, supporting the key stages of education to help young people plan their future options.

CASCAiD products are continually developed and updated to meet the needs of careers education. Our online tools support schools in delivering impartial and independent career guidance that encourages students’ participation, attainment and achievement.

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The new statutory guidance for schools was published on 26th March 2012 and provides guidance on delivering impartial careers guidance in schools. With this new responsibility on headteachers and school staff, we take a look at the implications.

New duty for schools

The Education Act 2011, established late last year, places schools under a new duty in terms of providing careers guidance for pupils in years 9-11 in England. Schools will be expected to provide ‘independent and impartial careers guidance’ for their students from September 2012. The statutory guidance for providing careers guidance has been published with a recent statement from John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning: “The publication of this new statutory guidance marks an important step as schools prepare for the introduction of the new legal duty to secure independent careers guidance from September. Schools will be expected to work in partnership with external and expert careers guidance providers, as appropriate, to ensure pupils get good advice on the full range of post-16 options. The statutory guidance makes it clear that face-to-face careers guidance can benefit pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to make informed choices and successful transitions.”

What is expected of schools?

Each school will have to decide how they will deliver career guidance while complying with the requirements of the statutory duty. Careers guidance must be secured from an external source and suit the needs of the pupils. Schools will need to ensure that:

  • Careers guidance is impartial and independent
  • All students are provided with information on all post-16 education and training options
  • Each student is provided with guidance which is in the student’s best interest
  • Guidance provided comes from a source external to an individual employed by the school

Can school staff deliver careers guidance?

Although schools with their own careers teams can continue to deliver guidance, they must also ensure that pupils have access to an external and independent source of guidance.

Using free resources

With limited budgets and new duties to fulfil, schools may be considering using free resources to carry out their duties but there are a number of risks to consider:

  • Is the resource of high quality and from a trustworthy provider?
  • Does it provide accurate, reliable and up-to-date information?
  • Is it appropriate for the schools’ pupils and their circumstances?
  • Does the resource provide impartial and independent guidance?
  • Does it support the delivery of career guidance in an effective way?
  • Is there any support for teachers delivering career guidance?
  • For example, support materials and/or training?
  • Does the resource provide guidance which is in the students’ best interest?

This last question is probably the most important consideration when choosing an impartial resource. If students are supported with high quality career guidance resources, the outcome will undoubtedly help them to progress in their education and encourage their achievement. As schools will soon be subject to new ‘destination measures’ introduced by the government to help students to progress post-16, it is even more important that they receive high quality careers guidance as this will reflect on the schools’ performance.

There are many changes ahead for schools this September as they take ownership for the provision of careers guidance. Although schools are faced with juggling their budgets, it is important that they realise that this is an opportunity for them to help students fulfil their potential, provide inspiring ideas about their future and raise their academic achievement.

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