sir micheal wilshaw

How Ofsted will inspect Careers IAG in schools from September 2014

2015 Update here:

Things never stand still. Especially in education and especially over the last 4 years.

It has been almost a year since I published this post on how, the then newly published, Ofsted handbook instructed inspectors to evaluate a school’s CEIAG provision during Section 5 inspections in the 2013/14 academic year and, carrying on the flow of change, today Ofsted have released an updated handbook (PDF) to guide inspectors during their work in schools in the 2014/15 academic year. CEIAG is still included in the Leadership and Management section but the wording has (as has for most areas  in this new, truncated edition) changed.

So, Ofsted inspectors in 2014/15 will be primed to look for (page 43):

154. Inspectors should explore:
 the extent to which the school has developed and implemented a
strategy for ensuring that all pupils in Years 8 to 13 receive effective
careers guidance
 the impact of this guidance in helping young people to make
informed choices about their next steps
 how well the school meets the needs of all vulnerable groups of
pupils, including reducing the numbers who do not continue to
education, employment or training
 how well the school works with families to support them in
overcoming the cultural obstacles that often stand in the way of the
most able pupils from deprived backgrounds attending university.

A few points to note:

  • “Inspectors should explore” means they won’t just be talking to the Professionals in the school, I would still expect them to ask students their views on the quality of the CEIAG they have received.
  • “The impact of this guidance” could mean that, in your Ofsted box of evidence, it might be handy to have not just Destination data but case studies of students who have made successful transitions after attending tasters, visits, workshops etc
  • The focus on NEETS is pretty clear

So far, so good but there are a couple of things I take issue with:

  • There isn’t a hyperlink to the Careers Statutory Guidance in the document. Minor quibble but it would’ve been better to wave it under inspector’s noses a bit.
  • “overcoming the cultural obstacles that often stand in the way of the most able pupils from deprived backgrounds attending university”…Not a Apprenticeship but University. Oh dear, parity of routes?
  • There is no mention of CEIAG in the Grade Descriptors for Leadership and Management section from page 49. So a school’s CEIAG provision should be checked to see if it is outstanding or terrible or anywhere in-between but it seems this will have no impact on the actual grade awarded for this section and so, the overall grade.

And that’s it for the main school guidance. Until you get to Page 79 as this year, after consultation, Ofsted will offer a separate grade for a school’s Sixth Form provision and so has equipped inspectors with a dedicated section in the handbook for this. The relevant CEIAG paragraph reads:

The school provides good, impartial careers education, information, advice and
guidance prior to starting post-16 courses. Students are aware of their choices
following completion of their post-16 study programme.

“Impartiality” gets a specific here which would require some questions to be asked of current Sixth Form students by inspectors while, I would imagine, for schools without Sixth Forms like mine, this would be subsumed into checks on the first bullet point in the whole school guidance above.

With regard to CEIAG, last year’s handbook had a tricky task of bolting on a whole new area for inspectors to check into already stuffed schedules for inspection teams in schools and this years probably has just as difficult a job to achieve. While the Careers Statutory Guidance has expanded, the Ofsted handbook has been slimmed down  so the complexity of the requirements and suggestions in the Guidance does seem a little lost in translation and leaves greater room for, depending on your point of view, either schools to be able to tell their individualized CEIAG back-stories to inspectors or allow a greater lack of consistency in judgments.