CEIAG for Headteachers, Governors and SLT

BIS & Education Sub Committee report into CEIAG - A schools' perspective

Tuesday 5th July 2016

At a minute past midnight, sad creature that I am, I sat bleary eyed at my computer reading the long awaited report into CEIAG from the BIS & Education Committees sub committee. There is a real mix of stuff in there, some of it good, some of it not so good, some of it likely to be quite ugly. There is a very nice summary of the main recommendations starting on page 29, so I won't bother listing them here. Just click the link at the bottom of the article and scroll to the conclusion & recommendations section.

This blog is meant to help support hard pressed school staff in understanding what may or may not be in the offing. We don't have any idea as yes what is in the updated statutory guidance, nor do we know when that will be published. Though I'm hearing that September may be likely. The role of this report is to help the Government shape the statutory guidance and such reports have made recommendations in the past which have been ignored.

The Good - Ofsted encouraged to downgrade schools who don't have a good CEIAG in place.
ofstedThe report says : -

Government policy should be to incentivise schools to bring their careers provision up to standard and to hold them to account when they fail to do so. Ofsted's role should be strengthened, and schools downgraded if careers provision is not effective.

This is evidenced by a quote from Sean Harford Ofsted's National Director of Education

...it would have to be quite bad and outweigh a lot of other good work for this to downgrade a school"

Which was immediately followed by a quote from the Skills Minister Nick Boles

We need to start seeing a few schools marked down in their Ofsted judgment because they have failed to provide independent advice and guidance on the full range of options; the jungle drum will work pretty quickly once that starts happening.

We recommend that Ofsted introduce a specific judgment on careers information, advice and guidance for secondary schools, and set clear criteria for making these judgments. The Common Inspection Framework should be amended to make clear that a secondary school whose careers provision is judged as "requires improvement" or "inadequate" cannot be judged to be "outstanding" overall; likewise, a secondary school should be unable to receive an overall judgment of "good" if its careers provision is judged to be "inadequate".

The Good - Qualifications of careers professionals working in schools

CDI_Reg_Prof_NEWAt present those delivering careers advice in schools are not required to hold a qualification. The report states that its view is that given that provision is patchy (That word again!) The only way to improve it is to insist on properly qualified staff to do the job.

We recommend that the Government statutory guidance is amended to require those delivering advice and guidance in schools to hold, at a minimum, a relevant level 6 qualification.

It is also good to see that there is acknowledgement that employer engagement doesn't negate the need for professional careers advice

Employers have an important role to play in careers education but there have been longstanding challenges in building links between employers on the one hand and schools and colleges on the other. We welcome the Careers & Enterprise Company's work to overcome these challenges, in particular through its Enterprise Adviser scheme. It is important, however, that employer engagement is seen as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, impartial, independent careers advice and guidance. Young people who take part in employer engagement programmes should have the opportunity to re ect on their experiences with an impartial careers adviser.

The Good - We'd like Work Experience back please

Though acknowledging that WEX needs to change and adapt, it was good to see this...

In our view, all students should have the opportunity to take part in work experience at both Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5.

The Bad (OK not really bad but in a mess) - Destinations Data

The report recommends that destination data should still be used as a tool for assessing efficacy

To summarise a lot of words, it's too complex, it's too late and it's too confusing. Come on Government get your act together and get it sorted. It was also refreshing to see this quote from Future Academies.

Can destination measures be assessed differently so that university places are not seemed to be valued more highly than apprenticeships? When some higher level apprenticeships are harder to gain a place on than an Oxbridge college that must be madness.

The Ugly - Amalgamation of Quality in Careers Standard and Matrix
For those that don't understand what these are here is a 2 step process to understanding them

Quality in Careers Standard is an independent body which can be likened to OFQUAL who checks that the examination awarding bodies are meeting expected service levels.. The 12 Awards can be likened to OCR, EdExcel and AQA etc. All their variously titled quality awards have to meet the standards required in the QICS handbook, thus guaranteeing quality. All 12 of the quality awards verify standards in all aspects of CEIAG including careers education and are specifically aimed at schools colleges and sixth form colleges. There are well over 100o schools with either have or are working towards one of the 12 awards in the UK.
The Matrix Standard is a Government run standard which supports assessment and measurement of CIAG excluding careers education within an organisation. It was developed to help organisations which deliver careers advice assess their efficacy. There are currently 3 schools listed as recipients of the Matrix Award on its website.

The report recommends that the 12 QICS awards be merged into one. Whilst I can see how to the untrained eye that could look attractive I have some misgivings. Though on balance I can't say I'm against the prospect per se. All 12 awards are comparable as they are assessing the same standards. My main misgiving is that if all 12 were merged into 1 award the standard of quality control that is currently present in all the awards would be diluted by the sheer numbers of schools undertaking a quality award. Given the number of schools that have or are working towards a QICS award. (Sorry to get a bit geeky about all this, I'm currently the CDI representative for careers ed on the QICS board.) I'd say that the larger the geographical area covered the harder it is to quality control the assessment process. As an assessor for one of the awards, I'd say on the ground assessment really does need to be maintained. It's very hard to show efficacy in a school without speaking to and seeing pupils. On balance, I'd say that my preferred option would be to merge 12 into 3 or 4 but that is a personal preference.

The idea of merging QICS & Matrix has me running gibbering to the hills (or a nice warm beach with an endless supply of mojitos) I can't begin to catalogue the problems, in my mind it would be like trying to breed an elephant with a caterpillar. There just isn't enough common ground.

The report also said that once the merger is complete the schools should be required to complete a quality award.

The undecided The Careers & Enterprise Company to morph into Connexions 2?
reinventing the wheelOne of the major themes of the report was the need for rationalisation. Given the Governments previous predilection for free market economy, I'm agog to see this recommendation.

We recommend that all Government-funded careers initiatives, including the Jobcentre Plus support for schools scheme, be brought under the umbrella of the Careers & Enterprise Company. We further recommend that the Government consult on transferring responsibility for the National Careers Service from the Skills Funding Agency to the Careers & Enterprise Company. We also encourage the Careers & Enterprise Company to set out how, in addition to its existing programmes, it plans to support the provision of independent and impartial careers guidance in schools.

Pass me a mojito...

Link to report on Parliamentary website

Quality in Careers Standard



The Careers & Enterprise Company