CEIAG for Headteachers, Governors and SLT

A Questions for Headteachers -Would you ask your dentist to perform your appendectomy?

Sunday 5th July 2015

No I thought not. Though essentially that is very similar to what the Government have asked headteachers to do.

To explain. A dentist will have knowledge that is pertinent to the skills needed to perform the everyday operation, but not all the knowledge and understanding that is required. In the same way, the Government, by handing responsibility to headteachers for careers learning to people who have allied skills but not the knowledge and understanding to fulfill the tasks effectively. The resultant mess is not the fault of the headteachers who failed to appreciate the need, or who placed it further down the list of 'should dos' when we get the time and money. The fault lies firmly with the Government for failing to put into place the support to build the capacity within schools.

Teach First has recognised the need with their recent report, Careers in the Classroom, which they published in March 2015. Every school needs somebody who is the 'expert' on careers learning simply because it is a job that needs doing and needs doing well, especially given the needs of young people in the rapidly changing job market that is the UK in the 21st Century. Having said that,

Ofsted have expressed the view that too many schools are too reliant on a single person to be entirely responsible for careers learning. They also continue to say that a revolution is needed and that schools should take urgent action.

So What Action is Needed?

From a central point of view, governors and headteachers need to be made more aware of their duty to provide independent careers advice and guidance in an impartial manner and in the best interests of the recipient.

Secondly, more training needs to be provided for both governors and senior leadership teams so that they are aware of the changes that have organically happened in careers learning over the years since 2012. No longer is careers learning seen as an interview in year 11 and a couple of CV lessons along with a week or two of work experience in year 10. Careers learning is taking shape as a cross curricular theme, much in the same way literacy and numeracy have. in short, it's everyone's job now.

Teachers have roles as tutors - after all research suggests 4 out of 5 pupils approach a teacher first for careers advice. They are also in the position to be able to include work based resources into their curriculum content, thus adding to the experience of pupils who might never have heard of say a logistics manager before their maths teacher gave them a question based on the use of network diagrams to aid efficiency in deliveries and when laying cables. https://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/teachers-tv-maths-in-the-workplace-6047577

Governors have a duty to ensure that schools comply with the statutory duty, How will they do that without knowledge of what is expected?

Careers advisers don't just deliver careers interviews, they can input into many other aspects of career learning such as providing pedagogical advice and supporting CPD for teachers, group work to inspire and support underachievers by exploring their aspirations...

Employers & local colleges and universities who can do so much more than just come in and give a talk. They can mentor, come into lessons and support teachers in developing schemes of work based around workplace activities

Alumni & current pupils who provide the 'I did it so can you ' aspect of confidence building, be that mentoring or just by having their photo on a display board alongside a little piece about what they're doing now and what challenges they faced.

So how can you hope to manage that all without more knowledge? More support? Whilst I have a vested interest in your contacting me, I need to pay the mortgage too, I'd just rather schools did SOMETHING, to improve careers learning, lets improve from patchy to generally good at least. Please note I'm not paid in any way for promoting these links - I believe they are the gold standard in providing services to improve your school.

  • Find out what your local authority or academy chain are doing to support the rebirth of careers learning.
  • Come on a course, or send an SLT member. The Career Development Institute puts many on during the course of the year, http://www.thecdi.net/Developing-Yourself plus there is a conference in York in November run by David Andrews OBE. http://nextuplocal.com/Pages.aspx?PageID=1052
  • Join the CDI as a school affiliate member http://www.thecdi.net/School-Affiliate
  • Contact me, I can provide bespoke support and advice. info@outstandingcareers.co.uk
  • Commit your school to obtaining a Quality in Careers Standard award - a great way to develop your staff http://www.qualityincareers.org.uk/

Just please don't ignore the situation, There is evidence that Ofsted are going to focus more heavily on destination data and evidence of careers learning so you need to tick those boxes but at the end of the day, you'll do it because your pupils need you to. Won't you?