In my last post I covered the musts of the statutory guidance. They’re aren’t many of them and to be honest, if you only complied with the musts, then your school will be doing a pretty poor job. However, the guidance places a pretty clear expectation of compliance with the ‘shoulds’ in para 11 & 12.
The Government has set a clear expectation that the quality of careers education and guidance should be raised in all schools…
The Government wants to go beyond the statutory duties and introduce a framework around which schools can develop and improve their entire careers programme.
So that leaves us with the task of getting on with the shoulds. There is a pretty clear timeline in the guidance about what should be done and when it should be done by. However, there seems to be a chicken and egg situation built in.
Who will lead and oversee your compliance with the statutory guidance?
We saw in my last blog that there are requirements in place to publish their policy statement setting out the arrangement for provider access. (Baker clause) by January 2nd 2018. That includes putting together a programme of events that employers & others can feed into. Who does this when the statutory guidance says you don’t need to name your school careers leader until September?
My advice would be to start thinking about what the criteria are for a careers leader. Though there’s been no requirement for careers leaders before the new statutory guidance was issued, they have existed for many years. I know this as I started my first post ‘in charge of careers’ back in the 1990s, however, most schools won’t have a careers leader in place and will have to put thought into what is needed. That of course means money as well as time, effort and thought.
Do I need to recruit or is there somebody on staff already?
Some schools will undoubtably start advertising for a new member of staff, others will look internally, but without a doubt there is going to be some uncertainty about the process. So what do headteachers need to think about?
Does our careers leader need to be a teacher?
No, they don’t. There are careers leaders who are careers advisers, some are administrators and others are teachers, however, I’d counsel the need for there to be a teacher on the careers team. Yes the careers team. This isn’t a job that one person can do alone. Careers is now clearly a whole school issue as defined by the new statutory guidance. Whoever you have leading the team will need to be able to manage a team and others of a similar level such as year leaders and heads of department. They’ll also need to be able to liaise with governors and external organisations such as colleges and employers.
They will need to have interest in careers and/or progression routes
Whoever is in charge should be interested in how young people make their choices about careers and pathways. Without that interest it’s hard to get motivated about how to inspire young people. As your careers leader will be seen as the ‘expert’ on all things careers they need to be able to communicate that enthusiasm to your already hard pressed staff. No easy job in itself.
They will need to be strong minded and be able to stand up for what is right.
A very strong theme within the statutory guidance is the challenging of many schools’ determination to hold on to their pupils for both KS4 and 6th form. The Baker Clause underlines that and the statutory guidance declares that governors are ultimately responsible for ensuring that careers
is presented in an impartial manner, showing no bias or favouritism towards a particular institution, education or work option;
is guidance that the person giving it considers will promote the best interests of the pupils to whom it is given.
Throughout the statutory guidance it is underlined that ALL pupils should be given access to ALL routes. In fact para 62 &63 says…
We would expect the opportunities to include a visit from a Studio School to inform key stage 4 choices; a visit from a University Technical College to inform key stage 4 and key stage 5 choices; and visits from a range of providers of apprenticeships and technical options, including an FE college to inform key stage 4, key stage 5 and post-18 choices.
school must make provider visits available to all pupils in the relevant year group. The school should not do anything which might limit the ability of pupils to attend. Unacceptable behaviour would include restricting invitations to selected groups of pupils, or holding events outside of normal school hours.
So there will be difficult conversations to be had with SLT worried about numbers and heads of departments worried about class sizes. I should also point out that whilst schools don’t have to grant every request they must demonstrate ALL options are presented unless there are no providers within reasonable travelling distance of your school.
What will your careers leader be expected to do?
When starting to put together a job description for a careers leader, I can’t better the list put together by my colleague David Andrews and outlined in the 2 slides from a presentation he gave a few months ago at the Careers England Summit.
Finally – training
Whoever you appoint will probably be looking for support and training and there will undoubtably be a number of options for CPD and training of careers leaders appearing over the coming months. However, I’d recommend the CDI introduction to careers leadership as a good starting point. It has a very reasonable course fee and is run by the previously mentioned David Andrews OBE who has been training careers leaders longer than anyone else. Details can be found here
I am of course available for consulting and support and have a lot of experience in supporting new careers leaders. I can be contacted on 0800 0246175 or via email email@example.com