Statutory Guidance on Career Guidance and Inspiration. Another nail in the coffin of professional career guidance?


By now most of you will have picked up that a new version of the statutory guidance for career guidance has been released in England.

I thought that I’d just quickly post up a load of links and a little bit of commentary to help you get to grips with it.

The Government has basically been boxed into revising the old guidance through a whole host of criticism that has come from all quarters. A browse through the schools tag on this site will give you a flavour of some of the problems if you are not familiar with them. However, what seems to have happened is not so much a climb down as one last push. The Government seems to be doing its best to destroy professional career guidance in schools. The latest statutory guidance is simply an attempt to find a different nail to bang into the coffin.

The Government launched the new/revised guidance with a whole host of documents including a Ministerial Statement, the Statutory Guidance itself, some supporting non-statutory advice and a press release. The upshot of all these different documents is further confusion with it being fairly unclear what schools have to do and what they just might like to consider (AKA don’t have to do). The core message of all of these documents however is broadly consistent and goes something like this: Schools should help young people to plan for their futures. The best way to do this is to give them access to employers and representatives from learning providers. There isn’t much purpose in professional advice and guidance. What is more, while this represents an ideal position, it is pretty much up to the school to do what they want anyway. If anyone is going to tell them off it is going to be Ofsted and let’s be honest they won’t get round to it.

Obviously my summary is very “high level” but others have been doing a more detailed job. Tony Watts provides his usual forensic look at the detail in Careers England Policy Commentary 27 and is not any more positive than I am. The Careers Defender Blog summarises in a less critical and more practical way for schools.

Other people have focused on how to build on these foundations by using the release of the guidance as a focus for ideas about best practice. Careers engagement: A good practice brief for leaders of schools and colleges is one example of this sort of thing. There will be others as we all struggle to come to terms with it all.

My guess is that the impact of this latest document will be fairly small. Schools have already established their trajectories in this area. The new guidance adds relatively little to what was already established as the Government’s direction. If it adds anything it is really about encouraging a range of new activities into schools. School will probably need some way to co-ordinate this, which may in the end strengthen the position of school-based careers co-ordinators. On the other hand the guidance further weakens the requirement for professional advice and guidance which probably weakens the position of existing careers providers still further. However, this is just a guess and we shall have to see how the real picture on the ground continues to unfold.

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