An update on Careers Guidance in Ofsted Inspections Nov 2015

At the recent Careers England Careers Summit, there was a fantastic array of speakers.  Amongst the speakers was Karen Adriaanse, the lead inspector for careers guidance & skills at Ofsted.  I managed to ask Karen a question about the new short inspections.

… under the new Common Inspection Framework there seems to be a persistent idea that  in the  short inspections it is very unlikely that school would face questions about careers provision. I just wondered if there was anything that I could take back to teachers to clarify that?

Her reply boiled down to this

Under the Common Inspection Framework, more schools will face short inspections undertaken with the hypothesis that school is doing well.  The inspectors will go in with a series of indicators that they are looking at in order to confirm that hypothesis.  If the lead inspector finds information to cast doubt about the efficacy of the school’s performance they have the power to change to a full inspection.

Karen has trained all HMI  on the importance of careers and what to look for.  She reads all secondary Ofsted reports and will be forming a judgement over the coming months about the need for any further training.

So what can teachers, governors and senior leaders take from this?  I take my opinion from a mixture of the speech Karen made, the CIF itself, conversations I’ve had with recently Ofsted inspected schools.

Ofsted may or may not ask  you specifically about careers in your school but they will ask pupils questions which will inform the inspectors about the state of career readiness of your pupils.  The chances are, if they’re asking you questions then your pupils haven’t convinced the inspectors that you have a solid framework behind your careers provision.

So the questions you should be asking yourself is

  1. Do my pupils know what our careers framework is and why we do what we do?
  2. Do my staff know what our careers framework is and why we do what we do?
  3. Do my pupils know what our careers framework is and why we do what we do?

More to the point

Can my pupils explain to anyone that asks, what our careers framework looks like and what has it done for them?

I finish with some of the slides which accompanied her speech –

ofsted 2

An overview of the general findings of the indicators of good careers in schools.



ofsted 3

An overview of weaknesses often found in schools careers frameworks.


Ofsted 8

One of the sectors in which poor careers will have a bearing


Ofsted 7

The second major area upon which careers will have a bearing.














































Ofsted 7

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2 Responses to An update on Careers Guidance in Ofsted Inspections Nov 2015

  1. Esther Galfalvi November 28, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    Hi Janet,

    Thanks for posting this! Looks like it was a great event. Do you happen to know if the materials are available online?

    I was wondering if you could comment on the removal of the explicit paragraph, which I thought was rather useful, in Ofsted’s previous framework:

    “The extent to which timely information, advice and guidance provide pupils with a good understanding of the full range of options available to assist them to make informed decisions about their next steps in education, training or employment; the availability and quality of advice and guidance on learning and career pathways; and whether staff have the necessary qualifications, experience and skills to provide information, advice and guidance”

    This does not exist in the 2015 Common Inspection Framework as far as I can tell. Have I missed its inclusion elsewhere, or has it simply been taken out? I realise that room for evaluation still exists under the evaluation criteria for Effective Leadership and under Personal Development &c, but the above paragraph is pretty unequivocal and if it’s gone, I find it hard to see how schools can be clear on the importance of careers provision. If I’ve missed it, I’ll be glad to be corrected!


    • Janet Colledge December 1, 2015 at 9:57 am #

      I think the following points add clarity
      From personal development

      ν In secondary schools, high quality, impartial careers guidance helps pupils to make informed choices about which courses suit their academic needs and aspirations. They are prepared for the next stage of their education, employment, self-employment or training.

      From Outcomes for pupils
      Pupils are exceptionally well prepared for the next stage of their education, training or employment and have attained relevant qualifications. Compared with the national average for all pupils, higher proportions of pupils and of disadvantaged pupils, progress on to a range of higher and further education establishments, apprenticeships, employment or training. These destinations strongly support their career plans.

      It also says that Inspectors will consider ν learners receive high quality impartial careers guidance that prepares them for their chosen next steps and enables them to make well-informed decisions about their future plans

      I agree that it doesn’t give guidance on what high quality guidance is, but then the statutory guidance is meant to do that.

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