Careers guidance in schools not fit for purpose, allege colleges

24 Apr

A survey carried out by the Association of Colleges (AoC), published in April 2014, reveals that schools are failing to give adequate careers guidance to students about further education opportunities.  In fact, several appear actively to be obstructive, stopping students from contacting Further Education (FE) colleges in an attempt to hang on to them for sixth form studies.  Since September 2012, it became a legal requirement for secondary schools to provide careers guidance and advice to their students though the government did not give them with any additional resources.

FE lecturers averred that schools had stopped them from speaking to the students and refused to distribute college prospectuses and/or display information on the provision they offer.  

Altogether, 93% of those surveyed stated that schools with sixth forms made strenuous efforts to retain their students with 74% alleging that careers guidance had worsened because schools wanted to hold on to their more academic students in order to improve their standing in the league tables, regardless of what they thought was in the students’ best interests.

The director of policy at the AoC, Joy Mercer, wants Ofsted to sanction such schools – requesting the inspectorate to downgrade them – i.e. give them a grade no better than “Requires Improvement” if it finds that the careers advice is not fit for purpose.

David Walrond, principal of Truro and Penwith College, told the Times Educational Supplement (TES): “Eleven-to-eighteen schools have a vested interest in keeping their learners. Their funding is declining and the pace of change is difficult for them to deal with.  You can understand the financial incentive to keep their learners but, on a regional and national level, it is indefensible.  It’s damaging to the economy.”

The AoC is campaigning for an improvement in careers advice calling for better accessibility, accountability and resources.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, speaking in London on 27 February 2014, announced that to improve careers guidance, representatives of local employers would be encouraged to become governors.   He added that there would be new guidance to schools on the provision of careers advice, following recommendations made in Ofsted’s report, Going in the right direction? Careers guidance in Schools from September 2012, which judged that careers education was not good enough in most schools.  As part of the new guidance, schools would be “given a new responsibility to develop close links with local employers”.   Ofsted would be charged with monitoring how schools were delivering careers guidance during future inspections and conduct a national review in 2015/16.

Other measures to be taken would be

(i)         the introduction of a UCAS (University and College Admissions Service)-style system for young people who do not want to go to university, which would be managed by the local authority;

(ii)         opening job centres to young people of 16 and 17 years of age – for the first time; and

(iii)       training for 18-21 year olds who do not have level 2 in maths and English.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: