Statutory Duty

Turning Problems into Solutions - Statutory Duty for Careers 2014 Pt 1

Thursday 8th May 2014

Following my synopsis of the statutory duty, I had a conversation with the amazing

@StephenLogan where we discussed the practical application of the duty. I'm pretty sure that many senior leaders are puzzling over some of the following questions that we came up with. This blog is a direct result of both of our experiences and I'd like to thanks Stephen for his valued input.
If they're not asking any of these questions then I'd hazard a guess that they've either not bothered to read the duty or don't think it will be enforced. I suggest you read my guest blog on the LeadingLearner blog, you may change your mind.

This is a 2 part blog, look out for the 2nd part next week.

Questions to turn problems into solutions

Capacity, Costs & Roles

What capacity do Schools have to engage with local businesses? The statutory duty requires schools to have a cohesive plan and specifically rules out an 'ad hoc arrangement' Given that the only way that to deliver a good cohesive plan is to ensure that you have a coordinator running a small team with responsibility for aspects of delivery, monitoring of impact, STEM, enterprise etc.

Who is going to coordinate this team? Is this the prompt most schools need to engage the services of a qualified careers adviser to run this team with teachers inputting into the process? Well that is one option. You could equally have an administrator or teacher but SLT should be casting their eyes around their staff and alighting upon those that are good at networking and building relationships. Most of all, ask yourself, do your staff have time to maintain those relationships? This isn't something that can be done in a couple of extra hours NCT.

What capacity do businesses have to support Schools? Many business are struggling and the extra cost, both monetarily and in terms of time taken, to provide staff to support school needs may be prohibitive for small or medium size companies. Considering most employment opportunities are in small businesses, this may give a skewed picture of employment prospects to our young people. Also, don't expect businesses' to automatically understand how schools work. In my experience they don't, take time to educate them about your constraints and objectives.

Are there enough businesses' to go around? Great if you're in a large town with a thriving business sector, harder if you're not. A lot of the national support seems to be very London centric. So what will you do if you're in a small town or rural area? Your central coordinator (I'm sure you see the point of having one by now) will need to be able to network and build your local contacts and introduce them to the correct people within the school. Most of all, your contacts need to be able to reflect the type of work that is available locally. LMI, or Labour Market Information is invaluable in matching your students' ambitions with the reality of what is available and avoiding that much talked about mismatch in ambition. Which leads us neatly into point 4.

Local vs National - there are different growth sectors in different areas. How do we make students aware of this? What use will we make of LMI. Where will this come from? The role of local partnerships is again vital. EBPs (Education Business Parnerships), the National Careers Service, Chambers of Commerce etc are all gatekeepers of masses of local information. Get networking.

Role of parents - do they have business contacts who could support? How can they be engaged to provide support.

Alumni - Will alumni lists be tackled in-house or will an organisation such as Future First be paid to arrange this.

Budget and staffing - Whose responsibility is it? Where will the money come from? What will the costs be? Managed activities cost in terms of money eg EBP & privately owned company provided activities, cut down the amount of in-house organisation needed, but cost financially. Free activities such as university visits and business speakers don't incur financial costs but do generate expense in terms of arrangement time and travel costs.
Role of Governors - Will there be a link governor overseeing and supporting. What will their role be?

Support Networks

Below is a quick overview of places to start to build the networks you need.
What role to the EBPs play in careers? Will there be a service level agreement? what agreed standards will they deliver? How will they be funded?

National Careers Service is tasked with developing its offer for young people and providing support services for schools. Will these be free? What form will they take? We will know more by October as the statutory duty cites October as the date this will be starting to happen.
Chambers of Commerce - How can we interact with them locally to provide support?
Charities, Employer and Professional organisations such as Brightside Careers in Podiatry Royal Society of Chemistry and Peacechild provide materials and sometimes activities to support schools. My Pinterest board for subject and occupational support organisations list many of those available.

Websites such as Careersbox, Career Camel, Barclays Life Skills etc all provide useful online resources, Again, my Pinterest board, lists many more. You know you can't rely on pupils to seek these out and use them independently. How will they be integrated into the process? Where will they be used in an ever expanding curriculum?

Look out next week for Educational Aspects and Targeting, Impartiality and Monitoring...