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Careers Guidance - Inspiration and Aspiration

on Thursday, 22 June 2017.

This guidance seeks to outline why schools must secure independent careers guidance, what is required to comply with the legal responsibilities and the role of the governing body and Head Teacher in shaping the guidance and support offered by the school.

This follows the DfE's update to statutory guidance for all maintained schools and academies on 12 April 2017.


Careers guidance has long been criticised as being inadequate and patchy. In 2013 Ofsted reported that "only one in five schools were effective in ensuring that all students were receiving the level of information they needed". Further, young people who are uncertain or unrealistic about career ambitions are likely to spend significant periods of time not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The statutory duty placed on schools to secure independent careers guidance for all Year 8 (12-13 year olds) to Year 13 (17-18 year old) pupils, it is said, is intended to expand advice and guidance so that they are motivated and inspired to fulfil their potential. In order to do this schools should have a strategy for careers guidance embedded within a framework linked to outcomes, which reflects the school's ethos and meets the needs of all.

Further, the governing body must ensure that that the independent careers guidance provided:

  • is presented in an impartial manner
  • includes information on the full range of education or training options
  • is guidance that the person giving it considers will promote the best interests of the pupils to whom it is given

In addition, it is for the governing body to provide clear advice to the Head Teacher on which to base a strategy for advice and guidance which is appropriately resourced and meets the school's legal requirements. Ofsted inspections will take account of the quality of the guidance provided and pupils' destinations when making their judgement on the leadership and management of the school.

Practical Steps

In order to deliver on this schools should consider the following when developing their strategies:

  • Provide access to a range of activities including careers fairs, employer talks, motivational speakers, college and university visits, coaches and mentors
  • Build strong links with employers
  • Offer high quality work experience
  • Provide wide access to Post 16 options
  • Provide face to face advice and guidance
  • Work with local authorities
  • Provide information about financial support which may be available
  • Work with Jobcentre Plus
  • Consciously working to prevent stereotyping

In developing careers provision for pupils, schools are advised to take three aspects of quality assurance into consideration:

  1. The quality of the school careers programme
    The Government recommends that all schools should work towards the national quality award for careers education, information, advice and guidance as an effective means of carrying out a self-review and external evaluation of the school’s programme

  2. The quality of independent careers providers
    The recognised national quality standard for information, advice and guidance (IAG) services is the matrix Standard. To achieve the Standard, organisations will need to demonstrate that they provide a high quality and impartial service.

  3. The quality of careers professionals working with the school
    The Career Development Institute has developed a set of professional standards for careers advisers, a register of advisers holding postgraduate qualifications and guidelines on how advisers can develop their own skills and gain higher qualifications.

For further information, please contact Tracey Eldridge-Hinmers in our Education team on 020 7665 0802.

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