This seminar provided an early opportunity to assess progress made in the implementation of the Government’s Careers Strategy in schools and colleges, following its initial roll out at the start of the 2018 academic year.
Delegates shared thinking on the challenges faced by schools and colleges as they look to improve careers provision in line with the eight Gatsby Benchmarks, aimed at measuring schools on their efficacy in providing a high quality programme for careers advice and guidance.
The seminar followed the publication of the Careers and Enterprise Company’s state of the nation report which found progress in areas such as interaction with employers but also shortfalls in schools achieving benchmarks by the end of 2020 - particularly in encounters with further and higher education.
Delegates also assessed the initial impact of the named Careers Leaders, which every school and college was due to have in place by September 2018 to take on delivery of schools’ careers programme and to ensure that the benchmarks are met.
Attendees discussed Careers Leader recruitment, training and development, with the Government initially making £4m available to cover the cost of training across 1,300 schools.
They also looked at other steps that schools and colleges can take to achieve the benchmarks including the development of closer relationships with other schools and local businesses.
Further sessions focussed on the establishment of Careers Hubs across the country - groups of between 20-40 secondary schools and colleges that are located in the same area, partnered with employers, universities and career guidance professionals - following the Secretary of State recently announcing a further 20 career hub regions.
They also considered how Central Hub Funds should be spent, and lessons that can be learnt from the first Careers Hub pilot in the North East as it becomes the Cornerstone Hub, and how it can spread best practice and offer support to the next wave of careers hubs.
Further discussion assessed what more needs to be done to ensure that technical education is being promoted as a career route by ensuring that more schools are enabling interaction between FE colleges, apprenticeship providers and students.
It came with a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research finding that two thirds of schools are failing to comply with the Baker Clause - which requires schools to allow training organisations to speak to students about technical qualifications and apprenticeships - and with the Department for Education suggesting that they could take direct intervention against schools that do not comply.
Those attending also looked at how to ensure high quality careers guidance in primary schools following announcements by the Government outlining how the Department will work with industry leaders and the Careers and Enterprise Company to improve provision, with an investment of £2m.
Further discussion included concerns from some parents and teachers that primary school is too early to be introducing careers provision and what good careers guidance at primary level looks like.
With £2.5m of funding committed by the Careers and Enterprise Company to support schools and colleges in 35 disadvantaged regions, delegates discussed priorities for supporting schools and colleges in disadvantaged areas to fund and manage their career programmes, particularly in providing meaningful employer encounters.
The agenda included speaking contributions from the Hastings Opportunity Area and the North Yorkshire Opportunity Area, with discussion on the role of Opportunity Area administrations in supporting disadvantaged schools and colleges, and driving long term social mobility.
Discussion also covered the position of careers guidance within Ofsted’s new inspection framework as ahead of its introduction next September and with the regulator indicating that careers guidance will be an important part of what will be inspected post 16.