This morning the Government released their response to the Education Select committee report “Careers Guidance for young people – The impact of the new duty on schools” and to be frank, it’s massively disappointing.
The original report took evidence from a range of knowledgeable sources and produced a succinct document with some practical and worthwhile ideas. My optimism when it was released was blogged here:
Today’s document is a big let down.
The Government’s response can basically summed up in three key themes
On the new structure the removal of Connexions and the new duty thus enshrined:
A) no matter what you’re all saying, we’re still right
On the huge variable in provision that is now beginning to emerge:
A) we’ll wait for the Ofsted thematic review on Careers to tell us that schools love to impress Ofsted when they come around
On future alterations:
A) The NCS contract is up for renewal in 2014 and by then there’ll be lots of destination data so we might faff around the edges then
All of the excellent proposals in the Committee’s report are ignored or rebuked.
They shy away from doing to more to require consistency between Local Authorities (presumably as they’re not quite sure where these responsibilities will lie with the growth of academy chains),
they refuse to believe that Ofsted will be the main driver of change and hope that the proliferation of destination statistics will inform parental choice and, in turn, school’s IAG offers,
they rebuke the idea of an annually published careers plan by schools as bureaucracy,
they say their hands are tied in regard to the National Careers Service as it’s contract runs to 2014 and only then could changes be made,
they reject calls for teachers to take regular CPD to enhance their knowledge of modern workplaces,
they refuse to enlarge the remit of the National Apprenticeship Service to promote Apprenticeships in schools,
and they kick into the long grass of the Ofsted review conclusions the call for face to face guidance to be made a right for all.
The essential paragraph is here:
“The report emphasises top-down accountability and calls for Ofsted to play a stronger role in inspecting the quality of careers provision. Ofsted have indeed confirmed that approach to the Committee. While Ofsted inspections are a key accountability mechanism, and one focused on outcomes, the report could have made more of the important role that local accountability has in driving improvement. Destination Measures play a key role here, as the report recognises, and schools and colleges will also wish to show parents and students the career and work-related activities they offer to support young people to help inform their choices.”
as it reaffirms the Dfe’s desire to move away from central direction and allow provision to be moulded by parental choice across all areas of education including Careers IAG. A strong structure of impartial IAG spread across 14-19 pathways and providers could truly have ensured that the funding following the student went to courses, providers and outcomes with the best possible chance of success for the individual.
I await the forthcoming Ofsted review on Careers with little hope that it will alter the path already set.