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Some schools failing in their duty to provide impartial careers guidance

New research from CASCAID has highlighted key areas for improvement to school and college based careers provision in England. Evaluations from 316 schools that were completed anonymously show that despite revised government guidance, some schools are still failing to meet their legal obligations to provide their students with impartial careers guidance. Five percent admitted that they only promote pathways available at their own institution while only 42% confirmed that they include sources of independent and external information as part of their careers programme. CASCAID's analysis also found that despite high profile government backed initiatives to increase links between schools and employers, in most cases activity is not at a level to create significant impact. Twelve percent have no contact with local employers and under a third have a broad based employer engagement programme that extends beyond one-off school visits.

The survey shows that many schools are also lacking when it comes to backing from governors for careers guidance activities and for involving parents in their child’s careers guidance. Half state that there is no governor involvement in careers guidance while only 11% regularly involve parents with their child’s careers guidance.

Key findings from the report show that:

•        Only 8% have a systematic approach to integrating careers in the wider curriculum

•       Schools without a careers adviser find it more difficult to provide guidance that is age appropriate

•        While only 3% admit to not providing any face-to-face guidance, most only offer it to a sub-set of students as a ‘one-off’

•        35% do not provide staff with specific careers guidance training

•        84% do offer some type of work experience

•        10% have no budget for careers guidance at all

•        9% have no contact with local authorities

•        Schools that cater for students up to the age of 16 are strongest on impartiality and working with other stakeholders

•        Schools that cater for students up to age 18 are strongest at curriculum integration and working with employers.

CASCAID’s Interim Chief Executive, Annette Wade said, It’s obviously very concerning that not all students are getting the impartial guidance that they are legally entitled to but with the pressures schools are facing you can see why those with a sixth form are keen to retain students. The challenge is to look at how these schools in particular, can be encouraged to ensure that their students are given truly unbiased guidance that leads them to make the best decisions about their own future. Hopefully, with the increase in profile that Ofsted seem to giving to careers this will happen. What is encouraging is the number of schools and colleges that are offering some type of work experience, despite fears that the removal of the requirement for work-related learning at Key Stage 4 would make it extinct. I think that both schools and employers are recognising that exposure to the workplace gives students such a valuable opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and confidence that just does not happen in the classroom.”

CASCAID’s report follows other research into school based careers provision carried out by the Department for Education and The Career Development Institute in conjunction with Careers England.

The full evaluation report can be downloaded from www.cascaid.co.uk.

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