Call for next government to make careers education statutory

By Gabriella Jozwiak

| 25 May 2017

The next government should place a statutory responsibility on schools to provide careers education to boost the quality of advice on offer, a professional body representing staff in the sector has said.

The Career Development Institute wants schools to be required to provide careers education for 11- to 18-year-olds. Picture: Emilie Sandy

A manifesto published by the Career Development Institute (CDI) calls for the Education Act 2011 to be partially repealed, as this removed careers education from the school curriculum and instead placed a duty on schools only to provide careers guidance.

It also wants the duty to be extended from age 11 to 18, as previously the duty only applied to students from 11 to 16. 

Concerns about the availability and quality of careers advice have been consistently raised in recent years.

Last July, members of the sub-committee on education, skills and the economy published research suggesting too many people were leaving school without the ability to properly consider job, training and further education options.

The MPs urged the government to incentivise schools to improve careers education, including a call for Ofsted to downgrade schools where careers education was not up to standard. 

CDI chief executive Jan Ellis said careers education provision is "patchy" across the country.

"Some schools are doing tremendous work. Some have found the money. But many schools just don't," she said.

She said the government should provide extra funding to enable them to hire and train careers teachers.

The CDI manifesto calls for school staff providing careers information and advice to be professionally qualified to level four training, while those providing careers guidance must have achieved a minimum level six qualification.

The institute suggested the government should create a bursary scheme to fund this training.

"Careers education is a public good and should be publically funded," said Ellis.

In addition, the manifesto recommends that all schools should be encouraged to adopt the Gatsby benchmarks of good practice - eight benchmarks by which schools can evaluate their careers education that were identified as part of a review of global best practice in career guidance by the Gatsby Foundation.

It also calls for all schools to be required to achieve the Quality in Careers Standard. 

Currently, the Gatsby measures are not included the government's statutory guidance on Careers Guidance and Inspiration in Schools.

The CDI manifesto also calls for all schools to be encouraged to appoint a leader to have overall responsibility of careers support, for career development co-ordinators to be appointed to work across local areas, and for the government to work with the careers profession to "improve the profile and prestige of careers guidance".

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