CEIAG Kahoot

Delivering Careers lessons to teenagers wary of putting effort into something that “isn’t worth anything” can be a tricky business, especially as many of these sessions are for the purpose of information delivery. The outlining of processes (how to write a CV, how to use UCAS) or those setting out timelines (when to organise work experience by) are the bread and butter of ‘chalk and talk’ careers lessons but they can be dry and unsatisfying affairs. For those practitioners fortunate enough to work in settings were they are afforded more lesson time for employability discussion or skills identification or other topics, there are good resources to guide the way with more interactive task ideas for the learners to attempt but when the backbone of the session is you talking, you sometimes need help to achieve student buy in.

A resource which could add to your toolkit you use to achieve this is Kahoot.

Kahoot is a web based quiz application that allows users to design their own quizzes and then, using either your establishment’s I.T. or student’s own phones, get the entire class to take part in a quiz with timed, multiple choice answers, points and rankings for correct answers and a final podium for the top participants. All you’ll need is to design your quiz and then run through it on your own phone to familiarise yourself with the answers and timings before the lesson.

You can sign up and start making “Kahoots” for free here:

There are plenty of “how to” guides and testimonials on their Youtube channel

and you can keep it as basic or in depth in your design as you like with the options to add Team games, music, background images and gifs to spice up your presentations. Whether as a starter activity or as a plenary to check learning outcomes, a Kahoot is a fun way to get your students involved and excited in Careers lessons. This approach isn’t quite the full Gamification of (Careers) Learning in the same way as Careers board games but purely as a more modern approach to a “pop quiz” traditionally run by teachers and one that achieves a sense of competition in the audience.

You can take a look at my first attempt that I used in a Job Search session for FE Construction students here and please do link to any other Kahoots that you have set up in the comments below.


Good practice in organising work experience placements

It’s easy to forget that, below the headline announcements and big speeches, Government departments are usually just chugging away with administrating policy, managing change and commissioning and learning (hopefully) from research. A recent (March 2017) 148 page research report by the NatCen Social Research and SQW was published by the DfE entitled “Work experience and related activities in schools and colleges” whose aim was “to consider current provision and operational practice of work-related activities at schools and colleges in England.” Which isn’t really what it does, for it only really focuses on work experience provision and pays scant regard to other kinds of employe engagement.

Based on the results of over 700 survey responses and 278 interviews (all conducted in the 2016 Summer term) the report paints a picture of what methods schools and employers make use of and which they struggle with when planning, sourcing and organising work experience placements. (The report covers this process in both schools and Further Education Colleges but it’s the work with Pre 16 students that I will concentrate on here) It is full of interesting data regarding participation of students and barriers some perceive to taking up placements, how schools prepare students for placements, quality control of those placements and evaluate the impact on students post placement.

This all results in is a good practice guide that can help practitioners to offer effective work experience schemes


and a recommendation to the DfE

Despite widespread acceptance of the importance of work-related activities in preparing young people for the world of work, and some common agreement about what constituted good practice, it was noted that the absence of clear guidance from the Department for Education in relation to work-related learning pre-16, meant that it was not always prioritised (whether in the curriculum or in staffing). The absence of guidance was felt to be particularly impactful when governors/ senior leaders needed to be persuaded of the benefits of delivering a structured programme of work-related activities. Detailed guidance related to pre-16 provision, therefore, is to be welcomed

which, I would imagine, is a plea that would be welcomed by CEIAG practitioners in schools.

Throughout, the report is full of interesting titbits, some of which caught my eye were:

  • Funding constraints are restricting school work in this area

It was felt that, in order to support an expansion of work related activities at a time when school and college budgets were tight, additional (central) funding was required

  • Employers are keen for placements to be longer than one week
  • Work experience is still the most common form of employer engagement offered by schools at KS4


  • 66% of respondents send students out on placements in the Summer term and 86% organise block placements rather than separate days.
  • The most popular reason for timing of placements is to fit around programmes of learning 55% which suggests schools are not being flexible to the needs of employers or learners when planning such provision.
  • 24% report that “not finding enough placements” is the largest reason for not all students accessing placements while “lack of confidence” (89%) and “fear of the unknown” (81%) where the biggest challenges to students taking up placements which shows how important the personal support practitioners offer their students in the build up to placements is.
  • That some sectors of employment are clearly failing to find ways to offer enough placements to meet demand as schools report common difficulties (% of respondents reporting employment sectors where it was difficult to find placements)


  • That concerns around health and safety and insurance are still holding employers back from offering placements
  • That schools are working with a range of organisations to help source placements


(although note the low % working with Enterprise Advisers through the Careers & Enterprise Company is likely due to the Summer 2016 date of the survey when the organisation was much newer)

  • That far too few schools spend any time following up with employers post placements to provide feedback or assess how the placement went (% of schools who undertook follow activities with employers)


The report also looks at the rationale and reasoning for running a work experience scheme in the first place and it is cheering to see the range of impacts and employers that schools believe such provision can have on young people, which makes the practical barriers that do exist when organising KS4 placements all the more frustrating.

Schools can & need to fight back against the UTC & Studio Schools employability PR blitz

In his speech to the annual Studio Schools Trust Conference this week, Lord Nash spoke of the need for this new type of school to be more proactive and “dynamic” in both their engagement with established local schools and in their marketing to local parents. His message came against a backdrop of news that the other new career route focused schools, University Technical Colleges, were operating so under capacity that the Dfe was considering halting the funding of new ones.

The Studio Schools rationale is to “pioneer a bold new approach to learning which includes teaching through enterprise projects and real work” because, as the CBI and other spokespeople for the world of industry consistently remind us, the UK education curriculum is perceived to be failing in one of its main functions to prepare work ready employees of tomorrow. Promoted by Lord Baker and The Duke of York respectively, UTCs and Studio Schools are reactions to this criticism and hope to fill a niche by bridging the gap between employment and education alongside the Dfe’s overarching program of school reform supposedly implemented with the skill needs of employers in mind.

In the speech Lord Nash referred to the issues Studio Schools have faced with recruiting students at both 14 and 16 and the steps they can take to improve both numbers and the range of prior ability of learners. This is a tacit admission that, in some Authorities, the Studio School brand has been misunderstood for a kind of new style Pupil Referral Unit type offer. Nash’s suggestions include:

  • a proactive approach towards the schools in their area. Despite what I’ve just said about the potential difficulties in recruiting students from schools at 14, those studio schools that have taken the initiative to build these relationships have done noticeably better

  • a dynamic direct marketing strategy to parents and pupils in the media and online

It is that “dynamic” and “direct” marketing drive that will interest CEIAG professionals as, without doubt, each of the schools will make their use of work experience, employer contacts, engagement and direct career pathways a major cornerstone of their advertising and appeal. As Nash says,

it emerged that the more aspirational the offer, the greater the appeal to prospective parents and pupils, with specialisms like the prestigious STEM subjects going down well. Strong employer engagement was also found to be a strong asset, but only if the overall offer was aspirational enough.

Reinforced by politicians across the political divide

and in eulogizing articles in the national press, the message is clear – These schools prepare young people for the world of work better than ‘regular’ schools.

‘Regular’ schools can and need to fight back against this PR strategy and, by Careers Leaders preaching the necessity of that to their Senior Leadership, this in turn could aid improvement in the consistency of Careers provision across the country. Local newspapers seem willing to give schools a platform to highlight their great Careers work so this is a tactic Careers leads in schools should be utilising to their full advantage to advance their cause. I passionately believe that ‘regular’ schools can incorporate the Studio School strategies mentioned above of employer engagement, IAG, enterprise and experience of the world of work into their structure and provision resulting in a wider and more comprehensive overview of the labour market for students. It’s worth saying that I should be taking my own advice here and local coverage of our own work is something I’ll be looking to gain in coming months and report back with any progress.

Year 11 Careers Fair

Last week we held our third annual Year 11 Careers Fair. It is an all day event we organise jointly with two other local High Schools as we’ve found that this approach spreads the administrative burden in the build up but also tempts more exhibitors into coming as more students will attend. Promising to put around 500 fresh faces in front of them is much more of a draw than just one year group.

Holding it in October seems to make sense as it ‘kick starts’ the reality of moving on for the Year group and, the closer through the academic year you get to exam season, the less likely you are to be allowed to take the students off timetable for an hour anyhow.

To discourage the frantic “freebie collection dash” that Careers Fairs can sometimes turn into we prepare a questionnaire/evaluation for students to complete. This includes questions that they have to ask certain providers and space to reflect on any new information they discovered and how it affected their plans. For an after half term assembly we have some high street vouchers to give as prizes for the forms that have been filled in with the most considered answers, those which show the young person has really thought about what they heard on the day. We also ask the exhibitors to complete an evaluation and try our best to act on their comments (this year we moved the location in part because of last years comments), which are extremely helpful as we want to make it as easy as possible for all types of organisations to attend.

Getting the right mix of Colleges, Sixth Forms, Universities, training providers, local and national employers to attend is the probably the highest hurdle to overcome. Some fantastic local employers such as Vauxhall, GKN Aerospace, Selex Galileo and Wates Construction attended alongside general employer bodies such as NAS, The Institute of Public Relations and Hit Training but we will always want more. Education providers are always keen to be there to market themselves and we thank and value their input as well.

If you run similar events, I’d love to hear how you go about organising them and what steps you take to make sure the students wring out the greatest possible worth from them. Please get in touch via twitter or in the comments below.

2016 Accountability measures: the next battle for CEIAG in schools

EDIT – March 2014

Following today’s release of the 16-19 Accountability & Assessment plans, I though I would add an update to this post. The plans make it clear that Destination Measures will be one of the Accountability measures used in the 16-19 performance tables. Concerns about the robustness of the data are mentioned again (page 10) but the document contains a clear commitment to improve the validity of these statistics and incorporate them into the range of measures used by the DfE, Ofsted and (it is hoped) students and parents to assess the quality of provision. With such a commitment to secure it seems, to my mind, only a matter of time before Destination Measures will be incorporated into the secondary performance suite.


The Dfe recently published (October 2013) their long-awaited response to a consultation on changes to school accountability measures due to apply from the 2016 results season.

There has been a deep and general consensus across education that the current headline figure of a pass percentage for 5A*-C at GCSE (or equivalents) is a blunt tool of measurement that encouraged schools to streamline their curriculum or overweigh it with equivalent qualifications, focus on the attainment of a narrow band of students at the C/D borderline and could be ‘gamed’ to such an extent that it did not accurately reflect a school’s performance.

The reaction to the new proposals to include a Progress across 8 subjects measure, an Achievement across 8 subjects measure, the percentage passing English and Maths and the percentage passing the Ebacc suite of subjects has been extremely positive, even from those at the coal face of school leadership.

There is a paragraph in the document though that should give CEIAG leads in school a moment’s pause.

Page 7:

“We would also like to include a destination measure as a fifth headline indicator. This will show the percentage of pupils who went on to sustained education, employment or training during the year after they finished their Key stage 4 qualifications. We currently publish experimental statistics to show this information. We want to be sure the statistics are robust before committing to using this destination measure as a headline indicator.”

Only a few days later news broke that many Councils are failing in their duty to track 16-18 participation status, making it clear why the Dfe fears the current experimental statistics are not “robust” enough to be included as part of the headline suite of data about a school.

The tortured tale of CEIAG in schools over recent months has finally reached a juncture in the story where Ofsted are offering judgement on a school’s attempts to meet their Statutory Duty as part of their regular inspections. The consistency and worth of these judgments will be determined in time but it is, at least, happening. Many in the CEIAG field are awaiting the publication of the further guidance promised after the critical Ofsted survey yet, perhaps it may be the inclusion (or not) of destination data in these new accountability measures that will have a greater impact on school leaders consideration of CEIAG in their planning.  Guidance is, after all, only guidance and, if one thing is clear from this administration’s approach to education policy, it’s that the mantra of freedom rules.

The consultation reply also states that, as well as being published on the dedicated league table website (hopefully in greater detail), these headline destination figures will be placed

On each school’s website, we will make sure there is a ‘snapshot’ of their performance in a standard format, so parents can quickly understand a school’s effectiveness.

The power this simple website addition will hold over Headteachers should not be under estimated: 5 clear figures, displayed on the front page of their school website, easily compared with other schools. Destination data has to be a one of those 5 figures for the progress we have seen to continue and for CEIAG to retain its growing importance in school leader’s minds. This rests on the actual data being collated and being “robust” enough to convince the Dfe of its worth. This is an area that those who attempt to influence CEIAG policy should be taking a keen interest in.

Some quibbles with the Ofsted Careers Report

For the sake of balance, I thought I’d point out just a couple of issues I have with the Ofsted Careers Report “Going in the right direction?”

It’s worth saying upfront that these points do not detract from the main message of the document and its serious findings on the lack of success many schools have had adapting to the new CEIAG duty. But, as a school that was visited as part of the survey, perhaps at least I can understand the process each of those schools would have undertaken to present their case.

It’s also worth noting that I don’t think either of the two examples quoted are actual examples from my own school although both will have definitely happened under my watch. (On that point it is difficult to be sure which examples in the final report are from my school, I have some hunches but the final document is the blended feedback from 60 visits so it’s only natural that some specificity is lost).

1. There’s nothing wrong with “first come, first served”

one school filled the 50 places for a visit to an external careers fair on a ‘first come, first served’ basis instead of using a clear selection process that prioritised the students who were likely to benefit the most.

Whatever careers related activities or trips I run, one of the most difficult decisions of the process is “Who goes?” Sometimes it’s obvious to target students you know have an interest in the nature of the visit, sometimes a Head of Year will request certain pupils attend and sometimes you spread the word, do your pitch in assembly and get students to sign up on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. And, in some cases, that’s perfectly admissible because the message it spreads through the peer group is participate. A modern school is a hive of clubs, extra curricular experiences and positions of responsible for students to be involved with. Providing the environment to encourage the self motivation in young people to sign up for these is surely part of the necessary learning associated with good careers work and enacting useful future career skills. The value of the trip mentioned in the Ofsted report didn’t just start when coach pulled into to the careers fair.

2. No preferred style of delivery?

a Year 10 assembly to launch work experience was too didactic and provided no opportunities for the students to participate

Every Careers leader, whether a qualified teacher or member of support staff, wants their career lessons or sessions to be successful and for the students to make progress in their understanding just like any other lesson. Recently, Sir Michael Wilshaw has been at pains to point out that Ofsted has no preferred style or method of teaching as chronicled by the teacher blogger Andrew Old, so that comment seems out of sync with these announcements. An assembly to launch work experience would be, by its very nature, a session jam packed of content the children need to make note of and remember such as deadlines to meet, websites to visit and paperwork procedures to follow. As a session it would be very different beast to a Year 8 lesson looking at what sort of skills employers value which would need to involve lots of discussion, paired work and short, sharp inputs from a capable teacher to keep students on task and moving forward. The ultimate answer to this point is that there should be a range of careers experiences that naturally cover a range of delivery methods so singling one out for criticism seems odd.

After the Ofsted Careers Report: The new guidance will say…

Most schools attempts at fulfilling the Careers Duty captured on camera

So, the Ofsted Careers report is finally out and it’s pretty damming in its conclusions on the Careers Education Information Advice & Guidance that schools are currently managing to offer their students under the new Duty.

Clearly prepared for the verdict, within hours Matthew Hancock and the Department for Business team published a number of Action Plan documents and promised stronger guidance for schools in the forthcoming weeks. So, in true kneejerk internet blogging style, I’m going to totally jump the gun and predict what this reinforced guidance will mean for schools in reality. Except I’m not really, because the Government response to Recommendation 1 in that Action Plan tells us what it will include.

Greater pressure on schools to engage employers and build links

We will highlight the need for schools to build strong connections with employers, ensuring students can benefit from sustained contact with inspiring people from the world of work

Which is fine as any Careers program should be linked with the labour market and the needs of business but this needs to be somehow overseen by local Chambers of Commerce and Local Enterprise Partnerships. My fear is that this will, for want of a better phrase, evolve into a bit of a bunfight as schools deluge local businesses with requests for exclusive links to provide work experience, visits or mentoring for only their own students. The wave of Studio Schools and University Technical Colleges that are opening up across the country are at a major advantage here as their employer links are forged in their DNA. Those schools who are part of large academy chains may also find themselves ahead of the game as their sponsors hold the clout to arrange partnerships with national employers. There is significant work here for schools and organisations such as Inspiring the Future, FutureFirst and MyKindaCrowd should see interest rise. This is an easy check by Ofsted through conversations with focus groups of pupils on an inspection.

Schools will find it harder to resist offers of collaboration from UTC’s, Studio Schools, Sixth Forms, FE Colleges and Training Providers

We will…be much clearer in the guidance about what schools should do to ensure that students have information about all the types of education and training they could pursue, and hear directly from different types of providers”

and by “collaboration” I mean “getting their foot in the door.” Will the phrase “hear directly” mean the days of hiding prospectuses for competing institutions under the desk are over and open the doors to assemblies and tasters from these providers?

Schools will be told that only a range of provision is sufficient

we will be explicit that signposting students to a careers website is not sufficient to meet the careers duty

There is a difference though between saying what isn’t enough and saying what is enough and I think those advocates of face to face guidance with a highly qualified adviser being a core principle may again find themselves disappointed that is only included as a possible intervention.

The detail of Destination data for each school will be increased and will form the opinions of Ofsted before they walk through the door for an inspection

We will highlight the inclusion of destinations for 16 year olds in school performance tables, informing Ofsted consideration of the quality of careers guidance provided in a school.

Any figures dramatically divergent from the national or local mean will need to be explained and the percentage of students not going into a sustained destination will be scrutinised. Reflecting the conversations that follow the analysis of test data that informs Ofsted’s preconceptions about a school, wise Careers advisers will have an evidence heavy narrative ready to explain to inspectors why their school data is like it is.