The state of Careers guidance and education in schools feels “reported out” at the moment. It feels like so many organisations have been asking what should be done to improve the situation there’s probably no one left actually just getting on with the job of improving things. For the improvement to start happening in earnest, a great deal of importance has been placed on the long promised updated guidance previously issued by the DfE that, it is hoped, will clarify the way forward for schools and act as a roadmap to guide them towards offering more quality provision than the Ofsted survey found they currently do. This week that promised updated guidance was rendered completely irrelevant and unnecessary by “Driving a Generation” a report by IPPR North.
Compared to some of the other recent publications on the topic, it’s concise, based on dedicated work in schools and includes survey results of student opinion. Even with its brevity, schools only need to read an excerpt of it.
Recommendation 2 and Recommendation 3.
That’s it. In those two suggestions for practice are the backbone of a good, school based Careers offer. They cover all the bases: they speak of the need for quality involvement from business that is relevant to the curriculum and the labour market, the need for schools to have a nominated employee (probably not a teacher) coordinating and leading this interaction to provide a bridge between the two worlds and the rationale and student desire for meaningful work experience. They include the need for the wider business structure such as LEPs to play a part in encouraging interaction and spreading knowledge, examples of provision for each year group and the importance of more individualized advice and guidance for students as they progress to the later stages of secondary school.
Ever since the initial duty for Careers was placed on schools in September 2012 and the accompanying guidance was published, a common complaint has been that schools still needed clarity of what to actually do to meet the requirements. Despite the fact that schools could’ve easily discovered the answer to this question by asking their own students what they wanted, all of the recent media debate and numerous reports on the issue might have struggled to break through the din of noisy priorities a school has to deal with. This report clearly and quickly shows what should be done. There are still plenty of issues that schools could legitimately point to as excuse of struggling with their Careers offer (funding, finding time around curriculum pressures, a variety of interaction from employers across career areas) but clarity of what they should be aiming for can no longer be one of them. And we didn’t have to wait for the DfE to get it.