GOVE BLAMES THE CAREERS SECTOR LOBBY FOR SKEWING THE DEBATE ON GUIDANCE IN SCHOOLS-IS HE RIGHT?

Gove blames lobby for talking garbage

But lets look at the facts

Comment

Michael Gove in the recent Education Select Committee pre-Christmas hearings criticised the supposedly “self-interested” careers lobby who “lack intellectual rigour” and who  talk “garbage” He conjured up the spectre of an all-powerful shadowy careers lobby. Did he mean the CDI or Careers England one wonders ? When pressed by MPs he refused to elaborate. He appeared to question the need for professional careers guidance, while arguing that greater employer involvement in schools is  needed (to inspire pupils).  Greater employer involvement with schools and pupils must be a good thing. But surely   this works best in synch with  pupils accessing sound, independent, professional , face to face  careers advice, along with  up to date information on the job market. (something that is not happening in  too many schools)

Gove neatly sidestepped the compelling fact that criticism of careers guidance in schools has come from a significant number of stakeholders and embarrassingly, too, from the respected conservative Chair of the Select Committee itself, Graham Stuart.  Indeed, not only did the Committee in its report on careers guidance criticise policy on careers guidance but  reviewed much written evidence opposed to current policy from a broad range of experts .  Significantly ,the government ignored advice from Professor Tony Watts, who was commissioned  by them to provide a report on lessons from international evidence. Among the growing band of critics are the CBI, Pearson, the Edge Foundation, the British Chambers of Commerce, Ofsted, the Social Mobility and Poverty Commission, the IPPR, Professor Tony Watts et al .

Katja Hall of the CBI said  late last year “The quality of careers advice in England’s schools remains in severe crisis. For 93 out of 100 young people to not feel in possession of the facts they need to make informed choices about their future is a damning indictment” For the Secretary of State to  imply that criticism is coming solely from self-interested parties in the careers guidance sector,  based on slender evidence, is at best misleading.  Indeed one is hard pressed to find any independent report or research from a third party that backs current government policy in this important area.

Certainly careers advice in the past has been of variable quality. And part of the problem is that some politicians have themselves received poor careers advice during their schooling and so perceive it as a waste of time.  But international evidence clearly tells us just how important good careers advice and guidance is, particularly for the most disadvantaged pupils and is a prerequisite for improving social mobility, which is high on this government’s own  agenda.   The government is finding it increasingly difficult to hold its policy line on careers guidance in schools and this may go some way to explaining Goves apparent tetchiness when pressed on this issue during the  committee hearings.

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