Well we waited a long time for this but at last it’s here. The new statutory guidance for schools is published and I’ve spent some time going through it in detail. There’s a lot of good practice outlined in it and if every school in the land went hell for leather in following the could’s should’s and must’s then our young people would soon be getting excellent careers education. However, in the current economic climate there are barriers in terms of cost of some of the directives. Hard choices will have to be made.
Thus, I’ve decided to start my series of blogs about the guidance with the top 10 musts, the things that schools will have to do at the very least in order to comply with this document. There are many other aspects that schools should be doing but my intention here is to highlight the legalities. Things that could land the school in hot water if they’re not done. So here goes.
- Every school must ensure that pupils are provided with independent careers guidance from year 8 to year 13.
- Every school must ensure that there is an opportunity for a range of education and training providers to access all pupils in year 8 to year 13 for the purpose of informing them about approved technical education qualifications or apprenticeships. This is the new Baker Clause which came into effect on 2nd January. Schools are not required to accept every request from a provider to visit but must demonstrate, through their policy statement on provider access, that a number of opportunities are available to all pupils in each year group from years 8 to 13.
- The 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.
The school must prepare a policy statement setting out the circumstances in which education and training providers will be given access to pupils, and to ensure that this is followed. The policy statement must be published and must include:
- any procedural requirement in relation to requests for access;
- grounds for granting and refusing requests for access;
- details of premises or facilities to be provided to a person who is given access.
- The Governors are legally responsible for ensuring that the Baker Clause requirements are met and that they are …” part of a broader approach to ensuring that young people are aware of the full range of academic and technical routes available to them at each transition point.”
- The governing body must ensure that the independent careers guidance provided:
- is presented in an impartial manner, showing no bias or favouritism towards a particular institution, education or work option;
- includes information on the range of education or training options, including apprenticeships and technical education routes;
- is guidance that the person giving it considers will promote the best interests of the pupils to whom it is given.
- All schools must continue to provide relevant information about all pupils to local authority support
- All schools must also notify local authorities whenever a 16 or 17 year old leaves an education or training programme before completion.
- Schools should make use of the SEND local offer published by the local authority. Where pupils have EHC plans, their annual reviews must, from year 9 at the latest, include a focus on adulthood, including employment. Schools should ensure these reviews are informed by good careers guidance. Schools must co-operate with local authorities who have an important role to play.
- Schools must ensure that young people are clear about the requirement to stay in education until 18 and what it means for them. In particular, they must be clear that young people are not required to stay in school. They can choose how to participate which might be through:
- full time study in a school, college or training provider;
- an apprenticeship, traineeship or supported internship;
- full time work or volunteering (20 hours or more) combined with part time accredited study.
What happens if we don’t?
The guidance sets out for the first time in my experience, just what would happen if you don’t comply… “In the event of suspected non-compliance with the duties and statutory guidance, our approach is for the parties involved to try to resolve the matter locally. This might include resolving a complaint in line with the school’s published complaints procedure. If a complaint remains unresolved, the DfE School Complaints Unit will consider whether the school’s statutory policies meet current education legislation and whether they have been adhered to. If the Department finds fault with a school’s policies following a complaint, then remedial action could be taken. This could include an official or a Minister from the Department for Education writing to the school and, ultimately, the legal powers of intervention available to the Secretary of State for Education may be enforced.”