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.
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.