10 things this Government has done which could improve CEIAG in schools

OOOOooooh, controversial headline but, hey, stick with me and hopefully, you might even agree with a few of the points!

1. Provided a policy focus on continuing Literacy and Maths until 18 

Recently this article


took a well argued stance that young people were being rushed through an education system that forced them to take decisions that greatly affected future career pathways too early. There’s much in that piece that provoked a nod in agreement from me as I would concur that a large number of young people leave school before finding their magnetic north to help guide their career route (if they ever do). Well, if we agree that a large number of young people are not making subject decisions at 14 and 16 with an identified career area in mind, then surely we should welcome the current Government’s policy focus on some subjects being important enough for all students to continue to study up until 18. While not limiting specialism, keeping a shared focus of literacy (for some) and maths (for all) will surely allow more students to move between career streams at higher ages.

2. Increased specialised routes for those who wish to take them at 14

For those youngsters that have settled on a distinct path early, this Government has increased the range of providers such as University Technical Colleges, Studio Schools and, from September, opened the opportunity for some students to enroll at FE Colleges from 14. The breadth of industries and career areas these pathways will cover is growing and will offer enticing and motivating routes for some students.

3. Given more freedom than ever before to Headteachers

Even with the spurious nonsense over the battle between Academy chain or Local Authority, school leaders at all kinds of schools have never had so much freedom over how they wish to run their institutions and are searching for programs and interventions that work. If we are convinced that good Careers work has positive outcomes with students, we should be at the front of the queue to persuade Senior Leaders to fund these programs in schools

4. Issued a Statutory Duty and follow-up guidance to shape Careers IAG in school

Whether or not you think the Duty is robust or comprehensive enough, it is there for all schools to follow and, combined with the sensible suggestions and examples of good practice in the subsequent Guidance, no school Leader should be under any confusion about what a good careers program looks like.

5. Cultivated a culture of “choice” & “competition” between schools

The implication of this worldview on the wider education of children tempts fierce debate but, purely in the context of CEIAG, it provides an opportunity. A more market based system requires schools to pay much more attention to marketing and reputation management. The positive outcomes and stories achieved by a good careers program offer much scope for Heads to take advantage of to get these messages across. Look how many of our students made successful transitions into Apprenticeships! Look at our students on this wonderful Oxbridge taster day! Look at our students in this engineering workshop run by a local company! You get the picture but this could be another persuasive weapon for establishing good career learning activities in school.

6. Published Destination Measures as part of the Performance table website

It has never been easier for all stakeholders to see if a school is enabling its leavers to make suitable, sustained transitions into future pathways. Schools with good career programs should be highlighting this data at every opportunity.

7. Enabled Ofsted to include a school’s CEIAG provision in their inspections

It would be fair to say that neither Dfe or Bis has had any influence over this decision by the regulator of schools but it’s happened under their watch so they get credit.

8. Enabled Ofqual to crack down on the practice of early and multiple entry in exams


Again, the Dfe has had no influence whatsoever over this decision. Despite it being the publicly expressed opinion of Gove numerous times. Nope, nope, nope. None. But for Careers workers in schools this will have two benefits. Firstly, more students will not just be satisfied to ‘bank’ a C as soon as they achieve it in the Core subjects in which this practice flourished but will continue to hope and work towards higher grades, thus improving the variety of pathways open to them for further study. Secondly, combined with the move to more terminal exams at the end of Year 11, the timetable will be freed up through Years 9 & 10 for (carefully planned of course) targeted careers work. The sudden boom in recent years of controlled assessment and the continual build up to end of module exams and resists has severely constricted the timetable to squeeze in career activities.

9. Set up a National Careers Service

Which does offer some services to young people.

10. Worked with the policy Advisory Group ‘The National Careers Council’

Which continues to advise The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and included much about school based careers work in its first report an Aspiration Nation


Disclaimer time – I don’t necessarily believe that all of these interventions will be as successful or work out as the current administration intends and there are many, many more decisions they could have taken that, in my eyes, would have improved standards. But I did want to point out that much has happened to shape CEIAG work in schools and it is not always a case of light and dark, purely positive and purely negative with policy decisions. There is room for shade and, with hard work and inspiration from all involved in school CEIAG, there is potential to achieve positive outcomes for students within the framework that is now established.


  1. The use of the word “could” in your title is important. Not “likely to” or “will”, but “could”. For example the provision of greater autonomy to head teachers “could” increase the focus on career development in schools. However, it is more likely to reduce it in most schools. It is certainly more likely to result in a patchwork of provision than having a national service.

    1. Very much so, a lot of the changes of the current administration rely on their belief in the ‘choice and freedom of the market’ and which leaves a lot more to the unknown than firm dictated structures and relies on the good work and passion of people doing the work and making decisions for the right reasons on the ground.

  2. I wish I was convinced by this argument but I am not. Nothing of what I am seeing on the ground as a former careers adviser (former because the role has been done away with and replaced with an ill defined iag role (part unqualified inexperienced counsellor cum social worker with the odd bit of careers guidance allowed if there’s time). The head teacher in the (special) school where I work does not seem to be relishing his freedom so much as wrestling with budget cuts and constant change imposed by the DfE and changes/cuts to services previously offered by the local authority. He would like to pay for a careers specialist but when he is facing making teaching assistants redundant he is not able to make it a priority

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