The NCC will report on how schools are adapting to their new statutory requirement to offer independent careers advice

Early evidence hardly encouraging


Evidence suggests  that good-quality careers guidance interventions in schools have a positive impact on decision-making processes, reduce course switching, drop-out rates, and contribute towards successful transitions within statutory and further education, according to the  National Careers Council. The National Careers Council provides advice to government on strategy for the National Careers Service and allied career support services.

However, according to the Council, findings from the OECD and other studies  highlight career education programmes that develop career management skills (including career adaptability and resilience) in many schools are lacking. The Council is gathering intelligence on this issue and will be report in May 2013 on how schools and colleges have adapted to the new arrangements emerging from the Education Act and new Statutory Guidance. (A recent survey from Careers England found that careers advice in some schools is actually worse now than it was  before guidance was issued). The National Careers Council says ‘ So far, many schools are indicating how ill-prepared they are, as they are increasingly faced with a weight of marketing material from prospective providers. Head teacher bodies have expressed concern in this regard. The impact of the Statutory Guidance needs to be monitored closely.’

The NCC is not wrong about the need to monitor provision , particularly as  funding for careers advice and guidance is not ring fenced and schools may well be tempted to opt for the cheapest option (ie access to a web portal etc) when face to face advice  is often more appropriate, particularly for the most disadvantaged pupils. Ofsted is not inspecting the quality of careers advice and guidance offered by schools, so there are  understandable  concerns that standards will drop.  The government ,aware of these concerns ,has promised  a ‘thematic’ Ofsted review of   careers guidance  in schools which is due to report this summer . Good, early careers advice is widely seen as one important measure to assist social mobility.

A recent report from the ‘Education Select Committee: Careers Guidance Inquiry’ put the spotlight firmly on the need for young people to have access to good quality  independent and impartial careers guidance

(Source NCC written evidence to the Education Select Committee)


A new duty requiring schools to ‘ secure independent careers guidance for pupils in years 9-11 came into force in September 2012. Guidance secured under the duty must be provided in an impartial manner and include information on the full range of 16-18 education or training options, including apprenticeships.’ The Government also recently announced an extension of the careers duty to years 8-13 from September 2013. Colleges will also be required to secure guidance for their 16-18 year-old students.

The Department for Education has also  published a practical guide to help schools carry out their new responsibilities.


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