Education Bill

Memorandum submitted by Fran Bostyn, Ros Doyle, Julie Fearn, Karen Griffiths, Sue James, Ann Joel and Janis Wilson (E 22)



1) We would like you to take into consideration our views and concerns about forthcoming changes to The Education Bill. We are a group of professional Careers Advisers who have considerable experience working with young people across a wide range of educational settings including those with special needs, those in the looked after system, those in the Youth Justice System and those excluded from mainstream schools. This is in addition to providing a universal careers guidance service for all young people aged between 13 and 19.

2) Our role in school predominately is to work with individuals to provide a holistic approach to impartial and independent information, advice and guidance. We help young people to identify their strengths, overcome barriers to learning and fulfil their potential. This enables them to develop skills to make effective career decisions in the future. We respond to the individual needs of each young person we see. Other aspects of our role are to work with parents/carers, employers, training providers, other professionals and providers of further and higher education. Working in partnership allows us to develop services for young people and supports our professional partners.

3) While we welcome an all age careers service we have concerns about certain aspects of the proposed legislation and the impact this will have on young people together with the longer term implications for employment and economic growth.

A new duty on schools in England to secure independent careers guidance for all pupils in years 9 to 11.

Our concerns are:

1) How will this guidance be provided? We have had discussions with schools which indicate that they would be unwilling to commit already stretched resources to provide a quality careers guidance service. Will there be a temptation on schools to provide only the minimum? This could be a web based information and guidance system which may suffice for some young people but we would contend that most young people benefit from face to face guidance and ongoing support.

2) What guarantees are there to ensure schools secure quality and quantity impartial information, advice and careers guidance? Without appropriate guidelines in place there is an option for schools to interpret what constitutes impartial information advice and guidance. These guidelines must protect the interests of young people.

3) How will this be monitored?

4) As the level of funding is not yet known, how can the government guarantee the schools will be able to fulfil this new duty imposed on them by the changes to the Education Bill?

Removal of the duty on schools in England to provide careers education for Y7 t0 Y11

1) With time for careers education being already squeezed and the proposed removal of the duty on school, how realistic is this expectation that the school see careers education as a priority? We have already witnessed in schools that time previously given to careers in year 11 (a key transitional stage) has been eroded due to other pressures on the curriculum.

2) Concerns regarding the requirements to provide work related learning at Key Stage 4. We feel work related learning is a key component of the PSHE curriculum. It enables young people to make the vital link between education and the world of work leading to more realistic career decisions. We also support the PSHE curriculum in school by providing labour market information, work experience preparation and de-brief and helping young people to decide on their placement. Schools have commented on how much our work is valued within the PSHE curriculum.

Removal from schools and college in England of the duty to provide Careers Advisers with access to pupils and students and information on pupils and students for the purposes of giving guidance

1) Ministers expect these arrangements to be agreed during negotiations of the contract between the school and the external provider but should there be guidelines in place to ensure this happens?

Removal of the separate duty on schools in England to provide careers information but continuation of the duty in further education institutions.

1) While we welcome the proposed continuation of the duty on further education providers to secure independent careers guidance, we wish to point out that in our experience early intervention has proved to be effective in enabling young people to make the links between educational achievement and careers.

The collection and publication by the Government of data about the kinds of activities that pupils from a school or college go on to do after they leave.

1) This work is currently provided by careers advisers. Young people are contacted in a variety of ways (a) school questionnaire is sent out in year 11 to help us identify those who have not made any plans, b) follow up phone calls, emails, texts offering further support and guidance c) attendance at results days (GCSE and ‘A’ Levels) d) in September further contact to make sure the young person’s transition has been successful. Continuity of support during this period is vital to a young person’s successful transition. The collection of data serves two purposes. One is to provide the data required by Government Office but, more importantly to us, it enables us to indentify young people requiring further support. We are concerned that the needs of the individual will be subordinate to the impersonal collection of data.


We do not have confidence that the proposed changes to the provision of careers guidance will support the needs of all young people and produce a well informed, work ready and appropriately qualified young workforce for the future. The impact of changes in careers guidance, coupled with numerous other changes to education and training will have a devastating economic and social cost in the years to come. Compromising on guidance and support now can have far more reaching effects on young people’s self-esteem, confidence, mental health and lasting ability to participate fully in society.

In general terms the Bill is in danger of ‘scrapping’ a qualified and committed workforce. We have first hand experience of working with young people who struggle to participate in education and society and understand how this affects their life chances. There is a lot of uncertainty about our role within the proposed changes. By supporting young people in to appropriate education, training and employment we make a considerable contribution to the economic wellbeing of the country.

We urge you to give careful consideration to the proposed changes and the impact they will have on young people and the careers profession as a whole. Expectations however well meant would need to be formalised by robust regulatory measures.

February 2011