A letter to my readers -The reality of option choices 2015 style.

Thursday 29th January 2015

An open letter to my readers

Hello reader

I know I've been a bad girl! I've not really blogged for quite a while. Well, my excuse is that I've been busy, delivering courses, speaking at events, working on some exciting new ideas. Even planning a bit of a mini overhaul for the website. OK, OK, the reality is that even I have become tired of saying the same thing time and time again; i.e. somebody needs to sort out the mess that is careers education, information and guidance in many schools in the UK.

Yes, there's been lots of people saying the same thing...

  • The Unison/TUC/NUS joint manifesto
  • ATL
  • The Edge Foundation
  • The Gatsby report

I could go on, but I'm sure you're glad to hear that I won't. If you follow CareersEd for All Weekly (Do sign up if you don't already subscribe) you'll have seen mention of these and the many other instances of what boils down to the same message. Schools need help and support to sort out how to best tackle their statutory duty to provide impartial careers support for their pupils.

So what, dear reader, prompted me to start blogging again? Simply it was this conversation on my personal Facebook page. (Sorry for the poorly redacted photo) A plea from a mother whose son is currently going through the option choice process.

I've spoken to the poster and she is happy for me to share the experience. Since the post she's even more confused, as she's attended the option evening and of course, as her child is able and nice, all the teachers are 'selling' their own subject as important, vital and relevant. I'm guilty, in my former incarnation as a business studies teacher I've done the same. (I should clarify, I'm not a careers adviser, I'm a careers educator, something very, very different) So I'm not teacher bashing. It's part of their job to recruit pupils for their subject.

When I spoke to her a couple of weeks ago, I'd suggested she ask to speak to the school careers adviser, guess what? Yep, they don't have one. The only advice and support they have received has been from teachers. I posted the picture above on a careers adviser forum and was overwhelmed by the offers of free phone support as well as posted advice. Thankfully, one of my wonderful careers adviser colleagues is now in contact with them so, for one young lad at least, the end result should be clearer.

So traditionally, dear reader, I should end this missive with a happy ending, not just for my friend's son but for all young people. I wish I could. The new careers company announced by Nicky Morgan will be working to the agenda of inspiration and raising aspiration. Sadly, as you probably already know. Inspiration/aspiration isn't the problem for the majority, it's the "How do I achieve that?" that follows on from that inspiration or the confidence issues that plague so many of our teenagers that now needs to be addressed. Who deals with those issues? I'll give you 1 single guess dear readers, I'm sure you know the answer.

Kind Thoughts

jc signature