Recommendations  for schools  from the Ofsted thematic review published September 2023.

Recommendations for schools from the Ofsted thematic review published September 2023.

Tuesday 3rd October 2023
Janet Colledge

OK, so we've had a look at what Ofsted found, lets now look at what they recommend...

This blog consists of my personal observations or comments about the recommendations made by Ofsted which are used as headings. Again schools refers to schools, FE & Skills providers. The links and recommendations I make in this blog do not benefit me financially.

Schools, FE & Skills providers should:-

Ensure that they take advantage of the potential benefits provided by networks like careers hubs, such as support for employer engagement

This is a no brainer for me! One of the most important parts of being a Career Leader is networking. The fantastic Careers Leader Handbook devotes a whole 10 pages to the topic, I know I'm mentioned in it!

One of the difficult things about being a Careers Leader in schools is that you're usually the only 'careers person' in school most of the time. Who do you go to with things you're not sure of or recommendations for resources? How on earth can you know what is available in your local area without speaking to others in the same situation? Well this is where networks come in. In my estimation, 1 hour spend networking with worth at least 3 researching. So get online, there are FB groups, twitter hashtags etc that will make marvellous hunting grounds for those that know things you need to know. You found this blog didn't you?

Also join the CDI Yes there is a cost but the sheer wealth of resources, free and cheap training opportunities and support is invaluable. They also have regional reps for your area and they arrange online and in person meets.

Finally on this recommendation, if you're not already in a Career Hub, see if you can find and join a local one Even if there isn't a local hub available the CEC can help you with networking.

I'm going to put the next two recommendations together as I think they are two sides of the same coin.

Ensure that the careers programme is delivered by staff with the necessary expertise, and with appropriate support from careers specialists
Continue to develop staff knowledge of technical pathways (including T levels) and promote these equally alongside academic routes, using the DfE's updated statutory guidance

One of the things I highlight in the training I do on Ofsted for Careers Leaders is a quote from the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework

Teachers have expert knowledge of the subjects that they teach. If they do not, they are supported to address gaps in their knowledge so that pupils are not disadvantaged by ineffective teaching.

I therefore recommend keeping a record of CPD offered

  • Conversations or email exchanges with individual teachers about careers or linking their subject to the world of work.
  • Have you been to a year team meeting to discuss activities used in tutor time?
  • What resources have you shared with departments?

Not all CPD is sitting in a hall being bored by somebody like me with a PowerPoint at 4pm on a Thursday afternoon when you've a pile of marking to do. (I don't bore btw. Honest!) However, getting CEIAG on the CPD timetable can be a key way of raising the status of careers. There's lot of ready made CPD out there both free and paid for.

Speak to the SLT member in charge to make a case for careers CPD. I suggest doing a staff training needs audit to find out what staff feel they need support on before this meeting. I've put together an audit document that I'm happy for schools to use and personalise, it can be accessed via Google Docs here You'll probably need support from your line manager to get this done.

Also make sure that there is clear CPD on the two main routes and ensure that there is information provided for staff on opportunities in the local area. Not an easy job I know but get networking and find out what others are doing in the local area.

make sure encounters with employers, such as through careers fairs and talks, are delivered in a way that is most beneficial for pupils and learners

How this is done well varies from school to school but the 4 main aspects of an effective encounter are that it includes:-

  • Information about the qualifications the provider offers
  • The career routes these qualifications lead to
  • Provide insight on what it might be like to learn or train with the provider
  • Answer student questions

If you want more info on what constitutes effective employer engagement, I suggest you read the 7 page document from Education & Employers called What is a meaningful encounter with the world of work

So that concludes the recommendations for schools, I'm going to do one more blog tomorrow on the recommendations for the DFE and CEC.

License: Creative Commons 3 - CC BY-SA 3.0 Attribution: Alpha Stock Images - http://alphastockimages.com/