2015 Update here:
A possible light at the end of the Careers IAG tunnel in schools has always been that Ofsted would start to investigate whether schools were fulfilling their new Statutory Duty in this area. While we await the Survey of Careers IAG provision being released in September, we know that Sir Micheal Wilshaw had pre-empted this to some degree and already announced that, in some form, Ofsted would be looking at this area as part of their inspections. I blogged about that here:
Well, finally we have confirmation of what this will mean in reality as the new Handbook for Ofsted Inspectors has been published:
The Handbook is, in effect for schools undergoing a Section 5 Ofsted during the forthcoming academic year, the goalposts. It tells them where they’re aiming for and how they will judged to see if they’ve scored or not.
In relation to Careers IAG there are two mentions that I can see.
In Paragraph 110, as part of advice on how to reach a judgement on the overall effectiveness of the school the handbook says:
When reporting on the quality of education, inspectors must evaluate evidence for each of the four key judgements and judge the extent to which the school meets the needs of the range of pupils on the school’s roll. They must take into account the destination of pupils when they leave school and consider how well they have been prepared for their next steps.
Which would need the Inspectors to have done some homework and taken note of the school’s destination statistics before visiting and, I assume, would involve a conversation with the CEIAG lead in the school (or maybe the member of SLT responsible) with questions around why the data is as it currently stands. Will they challenge the data and ask, for example, why more students are not progressing onto Apprenticeships or why the % of students who go onto to make a sustained destination isn’t higher? We will see but it would be good for the Careers profession in schools to network with this sort of information once Inspections start in September.
The real weight of accountability lies though in Paragraph 135, in the guidance for what Inspectors should look for when assessing the quality of leadership and management in the school. Inspectors should consider:
how well leaders and managers ensure that the curriculum provides timely independent information, advice and guidance to assist pupils on their next steps in training, education or employment
the placement of this dovetails nicely with the guidance around it requesting Inspectors check for breadth and balance in the curriculum but that’s it, That’s the check to see if schools are fulfilling the Duty.
What this will actually look like during a busy Ofsted Inspection will be very interesting to see. There is a massive amount of work and information for Inspectors to get through in a 2 day Inspection and the time dedicated to specifically looking at Careers IAG will not be extensive. The new framework already requires Inspectors to focus much more rigorously on teaching and learning in the classroom and spend less time sitting in offices poring over paperwork so I can imagine conversations with the relevant staff and feedback from students about IAG and perhaps requests for action plans, policies or calendars of Careers events only if those conversations have uncovered discrepancies or concerns.
Will that be enough to hold schools to account of their responsibilities under the new Duty? Will a judgement of Careers IAG be mentioned in the written Ofsted reports that follow an Inspection? From September we will be able to see.