The fact that anyone reads, comments or shares my posts on this Careers blog continually amazes and delights me. There is the whole internet out there to click your life away on and, as an author of an opinion based blog focused on a narrow strand of education policy, I’m grateful that, for what ever reasons, people choose to while away some time on this particular corner of it.
Of course, all bloggers must feel pride or some small sense of accomplishment when people they admire or respect in their field takes note, praises or even quotes your output.
Then, there’s the faintly ridiculous sensation you get when you realise that the Department for Education has quoted you.
That’s right: in paragraph 18 of a recently released document (footnote bottom of page 6), written by the DfE for the Education Select Committee to update them following their inquiry into Careers Guidance in schools, this short post gets a mention.
They’ve quoted me there to show approval for the revised Statutory Guidance which fits into the wider mission of the update document to convince the Select Committee that the Department’s policies are bearing fruit and steering us all towards an improved CEIAG landscape.
Firstly, it’s a quote I stand by. The revised Guidance document was a vast improvement over the original and goes into great (sometimes even overly repetitive) detail of what a school should be doing in regard to CEIAG. There was a period after the release of the original duty document when a common complaint from Headteachers was that they “didn’t know what to do” to provide quality careers provision. The revised document ended that get out clause as a reason for a school’s lack of provision but, let’s be clear, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other reasons that a school may well be struggling with providing Careers services for their young people.
So, in a desperate scramble to retain some sense of credibility now that I’ve been quoted by “the man,” here are a few things to clear up:
- At the time of the inquiry, I wrote a less than favourable post about the Secretary of State’s appearance in front of the Committee to give evidence. Surprise! None of that gets a mention.
- I really do appreciate the use of the term “careers website” guys but, come on, The Guardian Careers site, Careersbox, the National Careers Service, these are “careers websites.” This place is just the semi coherent ramblings of a lanky lad from Luton who is putting off other things he should be doing instead.
- In other areas of policy the DfE is greatly increasing the amount of content and so teaching time needed for subjects such as Maths and English. They won’t (and probably shouldn’t) apologise for this but it will have consequences. For any Career leads in schools hanging onto Form or dedicated PHSE teaching time to deliver Careers sessions, this is bad news.
- The money issue is bubbling under and will continue to grow into a massive issue for schools. Quality careers provision costs money, be that wages for a post, paying for resources or just coach trips to an event, it needs schools to dedicate a budget to it and, as the Gatsby Foundation showed, if schools are not doing that at when it could only cost a small percentage of current funding levels…the squeeze on Careers will only get tighter as the overall pot shrinks. Schools need funding for this work and any hint of a request or suggestion that would of required cash support has been stonewalled by this Department.
I presume the update has been submitted as summer reading for the Education Committee members ahead of a final evidence session on their inquiry with the Secretary of State in the Autumn (which, considering his Department just ignored every suggestion or criticism in their report, should be fun). Also ahead of this they have released a call for written evidence to be submitted to them before the 19th September 2014. I couldn’t think of any better submissions for them to receive than evidence from practitioners in the field striving to show the importance and value of CEIAG everyday.