Does this mean Ofsted will take more of an interest in CEIAG?
Thursday 13th September 2018
Today the TES published an article that proclaimed boldly
OFSTED PLAN TO SPEND LONGER IN SCHOOLS
The gist of the article is that there has been a perceived focus on the cost of inspections rather than the efficacy/value. Especially the decision to not routinely inspect Outstanding schools.
A National Audit Office report into Ofsted earlier this year said that the exemption had led to more than 1,600 schools going for six or more years without inspection, with 296 having not been inspection for 10 years or more
What does this mean for CEIAG
Well firstly, more schools will be inspected that haven't been seen under the Common Inspection Framework (CIF ). Previous to the CIF, the inspection report only explicitly comments on CEIAG as part of the Leadership & Management strand, it now comments as part of the Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare strand. It's been widely reported that Ofsted are preparing to issue an update to the CIF next year. How will the inspection of CEIAG change.
A crystal ball
Sympathetic though one should be with the pressure on schools and their ever tighter budgets it is clear that the 2012 abolition of Connexions and the placing of the burden of CEIAG provision entirely on schools who had little experience and even less guidance hasn't worked well. The Government has provided steadily more guidance over the years culminating in the Careers Strategy published last December which set out a number of musts on schools and expanded the role of the Careers & Enterprise Company.
I won't go through those requirements here, there are plenty of my blogs outlining them and simplifying them along with the Careers Education in Schools booklet that I wrote for National Careers Week. What I will say is that there are now a number of things that Ofsted can look at before coming into school which may or may not influence the amount of time they spend inspecting CEIAG.
Under the currently CIF, I've had reports of Ofsted inspections which have had absolutely zero interest in CEIAG, though to balance that I've heard of inspectors delving deep into destinations data and spending up to an hour in a one to one with the careers leader. Without a doubt it's still a lucky dip.
The Way Forward
So where do I think that the expected update to the CIF will go with regard to CEIAG?
I think that inspections will look at the school website to check that it has:-
- An access statement including the name and contact details of the careers leader
- A clear an easily accessed stable programme of CEIAG activity (Gatsby Benchmark 1)
- A clear section of the school website that provides access to suitable information sources for parents and pupils
Then I think they will expect to see
- Current and previous completed Compass tool reports in order to judge progression towards meeting all 8 Gatsby benchmarks, this will probably be in conjunction with a meeting with the named Careers Leader and possibly their SLT link.
- To see evidence of a fully qualified careers adviser being available to all pupils
- They will continue their practice of triangulation where they look at data available, then speak to staff and pupils. This is where it is really important that pupils understand what CEIAG is and where they are accessing the knowledge and skills that are needed.
The role of careers leader is still an emerging one, Thankfully, The Career Development Institute has published some example job descriptions which are available free of charge here but it would appear that some schools are expecting SLT members to wear the careers leader hat in addition to all their other hats rather than having them supervise the work of a MLT member with responsibility.
I don't have all the answers I'm afraid. Money and workload will remain the obstacles to a universally excellent CEIAG service. It remains a fact that some schools will take the need seriously and others won't. The ones' that do the former seem to have somebody on MLT or SLT that understand the reality that exam results, whilst vital, are not the entire package and that only pupils who leave school with the skills necessary to negotiate the ever changing job market will thrive.