Careers in the Schools White Paper - Some Thoughts and Questions

Careers in the Schools White Paper - Some Thoughts and Questions

Wednesday 30th March 2022

After being on a high, having seen careers included in this weeks' white paper, I've just crashed, metaphorically that is. So I'm going to start with my rant, get it over and then move onto more positive thoughts.

When is careers guidance not careers guidance?

This paragraph is the main mention of careers in the whole white paper.

When I first read it, I was very positive, however, it's just occurred to me that the reference to the legal requirement to provide careers guidance to all pupils doesn't actually mean that all pupils must have the opportunity to meet with a qualified careers guidance professional. It probably refers to the strengthened Baker Clause and young people having 'meaningful encounters' with employers and training providers.

I'm getting quite dispirited by this continual inability of the DFE and others to understand the value of independent guidance delivered by professionals trained to ensure that the guidance they give is impartial, up to date and in the best interests of the person to whom it is given.

My annoyance has been well documented in this blog and yes I might be being a bit of a Karen (apologies to all Karens out there) but it's an important point. Our young, and older, people are being denied a basic need. Support to find a route into employment that is fulfilling, that they are suited to and supportive to their social needs. This will not happen if all people have access to are other, albeit well-meaning, people giving them the benefit of their experience which may well have been right for them at the time but may be out of date, not suitable for the person being advised and/or not possible without support or assistance. What they need is support and guidance to make sense of the huge amount of advice and information that they have received. End of rant.

So the question is :-

  • What will this independent careers guidance look like, who will deliver it and when?

Careers programmes for primary pupils in areas of disadvantage

Very welcome. As one of the co authors of The CDI Primary Framework Along with John Ambrose of Complete Careers I'm very much behind this. Many schools have been having WOW (World of Work) weeks for some time now and some have gone much further into more detailed provision so, as they say, the devil will be in the detail.

So again the questions:-

  • What resources will be put into place in terms of support, resources and money.
  • Will it be linked to the new Primary Quality in Careers Award?
  • Why not all primary schools ( I presume it's linked the the levelling up agenda but not harm in asking)

Improved CPD for serving teachers and leaders

This has been mooted on many occasions and I have delivered many a session for schools, MATs, LEPs and Local Authorities over the past 8 years, this is another devil in the detail area. The main questions will be ;-

  • What resources including money will be made available.
  • Who will deliver the training?
  • Will teachers currently undergoing ITT received explicit training in careers education?
  • Will it be a one off training, often forgotten or something like safeguarding where it needs to be kept up to date?

They didn't mention Careers Leaders

The statutory guidance says that every school must have a CL no mention of them being a specialist, qualified and/or trained or any other requirement. There are many committed and enthusiast CLs out there having gone through CEC funded training either assessed or unassessed.
However some schools have what I call 'notional' CLs. Those that have the title but no training, support or time to do anything other than own the title. So my question is:-

  • Why not insist that all schools have a trained CL?

Only time will tell - we just have to sit and wait.