1.As members of the House of Commons Education and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees, we came together in December 2015 to form the Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy. Our aim is to bring greater co-ordination to the scrutiny of education and skills policy and its impact on the economy. We chose careers advice, information and guidance as the subject for our first inquiry. It is an area of policy that straddles the Departments of Business, Innovation and Skills and Education and, given recent criticisms of the quality of careers provision in English schools, one that we considered merited further scrutiny.
2.Over the past five years, there have been a number of changes to the way careers guidance for young people is delivered. Until 2012, responsibility rested with local authorities and was delivered through the Connexions service. The Education Act 2011 placed a statutory duty on local authority maintained schools in England to secure access to independent, impartial careers guidance for their pupils in years 9–11.1 This duty came into force in 2012, at the same time as the Government released schools in England from the statutory duties to provide careers education2 and work-related learning.3 In 2013, the Government extended the careers guidance duty to cover years 8–13.4 Many academies and all sixth-form and further education colleges are subject to similar requirements through their funding agreements.5 More recently, in 2014, the Government announced the creation of a new national organisation, the Careers & Enterprise Company, to “transform the provision of careers education and advice for young people and inspire them about the opportunities offered by the world of work”.6
3.The Government has since announced that it plans to publish a careers strategy. Sam Gyimah MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Education, told us that the strategy would “set out a vision to 2020” and would cover provision for all ages.7 The strategy was due to be published in Spring 2016, but this timetable appears to have slipped to later in the year.8 We were pleased that Mr Gyimah committed to feeding our findings and recommendations into the strategy.9
4.The previous Education Committee conducted an inquiry into careers guidance in 2013, looking in particular at how schools were implementing the new duty. The Report raised serious concerns about the effect of the introduction of the duty on the quality of careers guidance.10 The Committee also held an oral evidence session following up on its findings with the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, in January 2015.11
5.The Sub-Committee launched our inquiry on 8 December 2015, the day after we held our first meeting.12 We received over 130 written submissions. We held four oral evidence sessions, between February and April 2016, hearing from a range of experts and others involved in the delivery of careers services, as well as Ofsted, national bodies responsible for careers provision, and finally the two responsible Ministers: Nick Boles MP, Minister for Skills in both the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Sam Gyimah MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Education. We held an engagement event with around 30 young people from a range of different backgrounds to hear about their personal experiences of careers information, advice and guidance.13 In addition, to see examples of good practice in careers provision, we visited St Marylebone School and Westminster Kingsway College in London. We are very grateful to those who gave us evidence, to the young people who came to our seminar and the organisations and individuals who helped us organise it, to the school and college who hosted us, and to all whom we met during our visit.
6.There are a number of terms used to describe different careers interventions, and there is inevitably some overlap between them. In 2013, the Education Committee set out the working definitions below, which we will also use in this Report:
7.We initially intended to focus our work on careers advice, information and guidance, but several pieces of evidence suggested that they could not be considered in isolation from careers education. We therefore also include in the report some findings on careers education. We have also concentrated primarily on provision in English schools, as this was the area which our evidence suggested needed the most attention.
8.This Report falls into four main parts:
1 Education Act 2011, section 29. Years 9–11 include young people aged 13–16.
2 Education Act 2011 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional and Savings Provisions) Order 2012 (SI 2012/1087)
3 Education (Amendment of the Curriculum Requirements for Fourth Key Stage) (England) Order 2012 (SI 2012/2056)
4 The Careers Guidance in Schools Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/709). Years 8–13 include young people aged 12–18.
5 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Department for Education, Securing Independent Careers Guidance: Guidance for General Further Education Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges, June 2013, para 1. Department for Education, Careers guidance and inspiration in schools: Statutory guidance for governing bodies, school leaders and school staff, March 2015, page 4
6 Department for Education, “New careers & enterprise company for schools”, 10 December 2014
10 Education Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2012–13, Careers Guidance for Young People: The impact of the new duty on schools, HC 632. See also Chapter 2.
11 Oral evidence taken before the Education Committee on 7 January 2015, HC (2014–15) 333
12 Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy, “Careers advice, information and guidance inquiry launched”, 8 December 2015
13 The event was arranged by Parliamentary Outreach with the assistance of Centrepoint, Fixers, Groundwork UK, Nacro, Upreach, Youth Employment UK and YMCA. We also received advice about the event from Jonathan Hopkins.
14 Education Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2012–13, Careers Guidance for Young People: The impact of the new duty on schools, HC 632, para 17
© Parliamentary copyright 2015
4 July 2016