SCHOOLS AND THE DUTY TO PROVIDE CAREERS ADVICE
What does the Education Bill require?
The Education Bill, currently in the Commons Committee stage, envisages a new duty on schools to secure access to impartial and independent careers guidance for every pupil in Years 9 to 11.This new duty will be in force from September 2012, with a new Careers Service established by April 2012.
In addition the Government plans to consult in Summer 2011 on whether the duty should be extended down to Year 8 and up to Year 13.
So the governing body of a school will have the freedom to decide how best to fulfil this duty ‘ in accordance with the needs of their pupils.’
Guidance, independent of the school, must be ‘provided in an impartial manner, and should promote the best interests of the person to whom it is given’. Sources of this independent careers guidance would include, but not be limited to, careers organisations funded by Government or other expert careers guidance providers. Schools should engage where appropriate, in partnership with independent providers (i.e. not directly employed by the school). Those schools that have already developed their own arrangements for providing impartial careers advice and guidance – for example, by employing their own careers adviser – may continue to do so. However, in such cases a school must also ensure pupils have access to a source of guidance which is independent and external to the school. This might include web-based or telephone services, and / or face-toface guidance from a specialist provider.
Schools will make any provision for careers guidance from within the Dedicated Schools Grant. The budget is unringfenced so that schools can identify their own priorities in line with the Governments drive to devolve as much decision making to schools as possible
A new national careers service will be established by April 2012, with elements of the service in place from September 2011.
Local authorities will retain their statutory duty to encourage, enable and assist young people to participate in education or training (Section 68(1) of the Education and Skills Act). They will also continue to be responsible for completing learning difficulty assessments (under section 139a of the Education and Skills Act 2008) for those young people with a learning difficulty and/or disability up to the age of 25.
The Government says ‘Local authorities must consider what arrangements they should put in place to ensure all young people, including those who will complete year 11 this summer, get access to the careers guidance they need in advance of this new duty being placed on schools, and of the establishment of the new careers service (planned to be fully operational by April 2012). The Early Intervention Grant is being introduced in 2011-2012, and will cover authorities’ transitional responsibilities in respect of careers guidance in advance of these changes coming into effect.
(Source DFE Guidance 13 April)