Education Bill

Memorandum submitted by Anne M Chew (E 113)

I am writing to you with extreme concerns about the future of careers education in schools with regards to the proposals in the Education Bill of 2011.

I completely understand the rationale with regards to concerns about the impartiality of careers education when being given by someone employed in schools which have 6th forms, but where an 11 -16 school employs a person to be Head of Careers, impartiality is endemic and excellent practice takes place. Such models need to be thoroughly investigated before decisions about careers education are made. I am extremely fearful that the proposals in the bill have been made with respect to what is taking place in 11 - 18 schools and the ‘bigger picture’ of careers education is not being adequately evaluated.

I can see the argument for change in schools with 6th forms, as all my children have attended such schools and I have been appalled by the lack of career education that takes place within them. However, the government is not taking into consideration the excellent practice that is taking place in many 11 – 16 schools where Headteachers have had the foresight to recognise the importance and value of careers education and employ dedicated staff to the role. I, and many others like me country wide, have been employed as a careers coordinator in an 11- 16 school and have total dedication to providing comprehensive impartial careers education to young people. By embedding good quality education into the curriculum, the benefits are enormous. Students are able to go on to make well informed realistic decisions about their post 16 options. Such education helps the retention of the students post 16 and prevents students from falling NEET.

By removing the requirement to provide career education in school and allowing schools to ‘buy in’ expertise will in my opinion be absolute folly and have far reaching consequences. As I am a member of the school staff, I am aware of how the school runs, the procedures in school, have access to relevant and vital information which not only comes from the retrieval systems but also from relationships with staff who know the students. I also know the students myself and follow the students through from year to year.

The ‘buy in’ of expertise is already quite a flawed system and doesn’t work well in many schools. There are numerous problems with such practice which I have personal experience of. To list some of the problems:

· Many Headteachers do not allocate sufficient funds to meet the needs of the students

The external person:

· often has inadequate information about the students

· often can’t access all information retrieval systems

· can’t develop relationships with all school staff for the benefit of the students

· is not able to work effectively around the changing nature of a school day – sometimes things happen at short notice

· may not have an adequate location in which to work

· may change week on week therefore guidance is inconsistent and relationships don’t develop

and many many more.

Careers education must be embedded in the school curriculum for it to work well – by removing the duty of schools to provide it will have dire consequences. An enormous amount of good work on IAG has been taking place over the last few years and to underplay the advances that have been made in this area is ludicrous.

I implore you to rethink this very important area. I would be more than happy to meet with anyone concerned to discuss this matter. The staff at our local FE colleges would support the argument for our practice as we help college retention enormously – I feel extremely passionate about this matter. This, along with the removal of EMA will also completely hinder social mobility. I am not writing with concerns for my own career, I am writing because my concerns are for the future of the children.

April 2011