Month: September 2014

The National Careers Service has launched a resources pack for schools

As part of, what looks like from the outside, a refitting and refocusing of the National Careers Service towards supporting school CEIAG work an “E-Pack” of resources for teachers to use with students has been launched.

Link here:

The pack consists of a number of worksheets and power points that mainly advertise the National Careers Service to young people. This follows on the recent National Careers Council report which highlighted that the number of contacts the Service has with young people has fallen year on year:

The lesson plans, like the Barclays Lifeskills ones, are very general but might spark some ideas from you to fit into your own careers lessons or tutor plans.

There is also the usual collection of posters and leaflets also found on the National Apprenticeship Service site that no school would actually ever print off as the printing costs would be astronomical.

The final document, and perhaps the one I’m more likely to use first, is a “Support Requirements Form” that allows schools to book the Service to attend and run events.

The difference between a careers resource and PR excercise

This is a Youtube careers resource

it is about 6 minutes long, features interviews with young people as well as actual engineers with their job clearly indicated (“yes, this lady helps design space robots”) and could actually used in lessons. It’s not overflowing with production values but it has enough content to spark some CEIAG learning. Perhaps it could be the perfect starter for a careers lesson with a class debate about breaking stereotypes in job roles or you could ask students to redesign the science pages in your schools options booklet placing more focus on the engineering routes they could lead to or give them an empty careers ladder template and ask them to research the qualification steps to each engineering role featured.

This is a PR exercise

which has people dancing about to “Happy” in front of a lot of recently built stuff. In the description we’re told that:

The civil engineers behind some of London’s most iconic infrastructure projects have put on their dancing shoes to show the public – young people in particular – how happy they are to be engineers and the diverse and exciting careers on offer through choosing maths and science subjects at school.

Which leads me to ask then…Who are these people? What do they do? (are they all engineers?) What was their role in designing or building these facilities? Are we meant to guess? What do two guys doing robot moves on the Millennium Bridge have to do wanting to be a civil engineer? What were the career decisions these people took to get where they are? What challenges did they face? Did they all have to move to London? I’ve also racked my brain about how I would use this with students and drawn a blank – if inspires any activities from you, let me know.

At the time of writing one of those videos has just over 600 views and one has over 28,000 views and probably, a professional body very satisfied at their successful outreach project. My hunch though is that the lasting impact of such dispensable and slight resources without the attachable CEIAG learning thought through, will be negligible at best.

.@CareersEngland have been crunching the CEIAG Ofsted numbers

Back in the autumn of 2013, when we were but fresh-faced, bright-eyed young scamps, keen to embrace the world of possibilities, we were much cheered as CEIAG folk (at least I was) with the news that Ofsted would start including verdicts and monitoring of CEIAG practice in their regular Section 5 school visits. September 2013 came and went and I poked around a few Ofsted reports to see what they reporting and thought at the time, that this was something that would need further scrutiny with a greater set of data. Now, a year later with a re-drafted Duty and Ofsted handbook thrown into mix, Careers England have done just that and come up with some fascinating statistics.


careers england ofsted stats


It’s the figure in point 1 that provides me with the most concern. 215 inspections is a substantial enough data set to see patterns in reporting and the fact that less than half of reports are even mentioning CEIAG (before you even get into the quality and value of the judgments that do) is not conducive to an improving CEIAG system in schools. In fact, that Ofsted should be reporting on CEIAG practice is the central plank on which hopes of an improving system is based upon. Inspectors have clear guidance on what they should be inspecting and, while they do have my sympathy at the sheer range of provision they should be observing during their short time in a school (and how Governments are so quick to use them to focus the minds of school leaders onto the issue of the day –witness the recent ‘British Values’ imperative), there can be no need for further clarity about whether or not CEIAG should form part of a school’s Section 5 report. It should. I agree wholeheartedly with Careers England’s call for

Ofsted to ensure that in 100% of inspections careers guidance is explicitly and consistently covered

If progress towards this was achieved over the 2014/15 academic year then the message from the inspectorate to school leaders would be unequivocal; quality CEIAG is a core responsibility for you to enact. With this piece meal approach, it becomes another add-on to be dropped when the funding is tight, when the time runs out and when louder advocates for other provision hustle onto centre stage.

This is the surface of a much wider debate; what qualitative and quantitative data should be bestowed with value to form a valid judgement on a school’s CEIAG provision and how those judgments should be reached. The Careers England document goes on to bemoan the minuscule number of mentions of Careers Quality Marks (I don’t think these prove much at all) while barely mentioning the use of reliable student outcome data (for me, a central indicator of school’s CEIAG program). Judging by this finding that Ofsted is only even mentioning CEIAG work in 43.7% of reports, that is a debate which will have to wait as the system has a long journey to travel before it can be had.


Updated Sept 2014: School Governors and the CEIAG Statutory Duty

I’ve posted previously about the guidance School Governors received from the DfE on their role in implementing the CEIAG Statutory Duty. With the event of a new term has come updated guidance for Governors and a small but noteworthy change of tone in the CEIAG section.

Last year the relevant section read:

3.2 Careers guidance
Maintained schools must secure access to independent and impartial careers guidance
on the full range of education or training options, including apprenticeships. This
requirement applies to pupils in years 8-13. Funding agreements for academies which
opened from September 2012 onwards generally include an equivalent careers
requirement. We have written to all academies which opened before September 2012 to
encourage them to take on the requirement. The governing body must reassure itself that
the requirement to secure careers guidance from an external source, in the form that best
meets the needs of their pupils, is being met. Schools must have regard to statutory
guiance (sic) underpinning the duty, which makes it clear that links with employers are
particularly important in securing careers provision that inspires young people to consider
a broader range of options.

While this year it reads (P47):

governors ceiag duty

The clear added emphasis is that now Governors should be taking a proactive approach to be involved in the securing of provision for students, not just checking and monitoring that school staff are doing this.

Hat-tip to @CEGNETUK for flagging this up.

Humans need not apply by @cgpgrey

Simply found this video too fascinating not to post it. “Humans need not apply” is a 15 minute insight into a labour market that might seem futuristic but is all too close to our doorstep. A labour market overwhelmed by automation and the bots that perform these tasks. Bots who have become so rapid in their rate of learning and adaptation, so complex in their ability to out perform humans in such a diverse range of tasks at such cost-effective rates that it’s probable that huge swathes of the labour market will succumb to their usage. Equally frightening and intriguing, the near future depicted in this video demands huge answers from economic and business leaders and the education system preparing those competing human workers of tomorrow.

Workshop at David Andrews 17th Annual CEG conference November 2014

David has very kindly asked me to lead a workshop at his forthcoming conference for CEG advisers in schools in November. I’ve been tasked to cover “Practical approaches to building employer engagement activities into a school careers program” in my slot. I’ve never been to this annual conference but some local colleagues attended last year and loved it so I’m very excited about some quality careers learning and hearing from the headline speakers such as Tristram Hooley and Karen O’Donoghue, but also I’m extremely conscious that I want to put on a worthwhile session. Getting the financial backing to attend any CPD isn’t easy these days (even to competitively priced events like this) so I’m very mindful that any delegates that do come and see me (those lost on their way to the toilets, those who ticked the wrong box on the booking sheet etc) feel that they’ve got a lot of value from the session.

So, if you were/are attending, what would you find helpful to hear about and discuss regarding engaging employers and getting them into school? I’ve got numerous hilarious and highly detailed tales of never-ending email trails about organising visits or speakers (“and then, we had to change it to the 14th because it clashed with a science practical!”) but I sense that the CEIAG world might not yet be ready for such high stakes drama. So far my rough plan is to cover not just the different types of interaction we have done and do but the conditions in school that help get those interactions on the timetable in the first place, experiences that have got the best feedback from students, things I’ve thought worked well and some cringe worthy nuggets of when things go terribly wrong thrown in for good measure.

Let me know what you would place value on hearing about either in the comments below or through twitter. Thanks.