Changing numbers of careers advisers in schools

I’ve been sent a very interesting answer to a Parliamentary Question asked by Jim Cunningham. He asked the Government to provide information on how many staff in schools had the role of careers adviser in the academic year (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11, (c) 2011-12, (d) 2012-13 and (e) 2013-14.

The answer suggests that this number is steadily growing.

2010 – 450 careers advisers

2011 – 470

2012 – 570

2013 – 660

Source: School Workforce Census. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

I’ve never worked with the School Workforce Census so I’d be really interested to hear from someone who has. My main question is whether “careers adviser” is the only careers relevant category (and so includes a range of other careers co-ordinator type roles). If it is then these data tell an interesting story.

What this seems to say to me is that while we have seen a growth in school investment in careers work following the collapse of Connexions (see Collapse or Transition for the story on this) this growth has been relatively small. The figure of 660 schools that employ careers advisers aligns well with our finding in Advancing Ambitions that 820 schools hold a careers quality award. I suspect that these two numbers overlap considerably which lends credence to my usual guesstimate that less than a quarter of secondary schools in England are really taking careers seriously (but that those that do are often investing in it to a relatively high degree e.g. employing staff).

Unison have pointed out that this figure also says nothing about the qualifications of the careers advisers employed by the schools. Given the fact that there is no regulation on this it would be surprising if all of these advisers were qualified.

However, even without information on qualifications this provides us with a useful insight into school’s engagement in careers. I think that we should continue to monitor this number over the next few years.


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