The evidence base in career guidance

Last week I was invited to the Department for Education to talk to various civil servants and people involved in the new careers company. I was rather pleased to be invited. It seems that a wind of change is sweeping through the DfE and that career guidance (and with it me) are once more back in favour.

What I tried to do was to give a potted summary of the evidence base in career guidance and to touch upon some of the key issues that look like they might be important for the new careers company e.g. employer engagement in schools and e-portfolios. I hope it was helpful and that policy continues to move in a more evidence based direction.

This is what I said

The evidence base in career guidance.


New guidance – Careers guidance and inspiration in schools Statutory guidance for governing bodies, school leaders and school staff

The Department for Education has just released a new version of the statutory guidance for career guidance and inspiration.

Careers guidance and inspiration in schools: Statutory guidance for governing bodies, school leaders and school staff

The new version of the guidance replaces the previous one and seems to have been strengthened in a number of important ways. One of the most important additions is a far stronger section on quality.
In developing careers provision for pupils, there are currently three aspects of quality assurance that schools should take into consideration:
  • The quality of the school careers programme. The Government recommends that all schools should work towards a quality award for careers education, information, advice and guidance as an effective means of carrying out a self-review and evaluation of the school’s programme. The national validation, the Quality in Careers Standard, will assist schools to determine an appropriate quality award to pursue. There are currently twelve quality awards that are recognised as meeting the Quality in Careers Standard.
  • The quality of independent careers providers. The recognised national quality standard for information, advice and guidance (IAG) services is the matrix Standard. To achieve the Standard, organisations will need to demonstrate that they provide a high quality and impartial service. Schools can access an online register of organisations accredited to the matrix Standard.
  • The quality of careers professionals working with the school. The Career Development Institute has developed a set of professional standards for careers advisers, a register of advisers holding postgraduate qualifications and guidelines
    on how advisers can develop their own skills and gain higher qualifications. The main qualifications for careers professionals are the Qualification in Career Guidance (QCG) (which replaced the earlier Diploma in Careers Guidance) and the Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development. Schools can view a register of careers professionals or search for a career development professional who can deliver a particular service or activity.

This is really heartening and suggests that the government are finally listening to some of the concerns that people have had about the way that the statutory guidance has been framed for the last few years.

Study with us – we dig up kings

richard III advert

Regular readers of this blog will remember that I run an occasional series on the weird and wonderful world of university marketing. In essence I’m interested in what messages universities put out about themselves to try and get new students to part with £9000 a year.

Anyone with any knowledge of the University of Leicester over the last couple of years won’t be surprised at the tack that the institution has taken. The University has been in the process of transforming itself into the Institute of Richard III Studies ever since they dug the carpark up. So it only makes sense that this is now the cornerstone of their marketing strategy.

But will it work? Is this why students come to a university? I can see that it might work for history buffs and crazy Plantagenate lovers, but for everyone else? Will a dead king stack up against the kind of “our degree will get you a job” messaging that other universities are going with. Leicester obviously think so!

Just in case you missed it, here is my picture of the man himself rollling through the town centre.

actual RIII

Every School Should Have Someone To Lead Its Career Education

I’ve written a piece for The Huffington Post which draws on our recent paper Teachers and Careers.

Every School Should Have Someone To Lead Its Career Education

Since 2011 career education and guidance has been under attack in England. Politicians like Michael Gove have argued that there was no need for any kind of professional support for young people’s careers. Instead, employers could do it all on a voluntary basis. This has been regrettable as it has meant that young people have lost access to any professional support for their education and career choices… Read more

Visit to Christ’s Hospital


Today I’m travelling to a very interesting independent school called Christ’s Hospital School. The school boasts alumni like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Barnes Wallace and agit-comedian Mark Thomas. It certainly looks like an interesting place and is rather different from most of the schools that I visit.

I’ll be talking to them about what excellent career guidance looks like and particularly drawing on some of the Gatsby findings about practice in independent schools.

This is what I thought that I’d say

Excellent career guidance

Exploring employers’ understanding and experience of Higher Apprenticeships

Higher apprenticeships are an important new part of the educational landscape. Yet at the moment very little is known about how they are working out. We are undertaking some research to explore this and particularly to look at employers attitudes to higher apprenticeships.

We are interested in the views of all employers, not just those who have direct experience of higher apprenticeships.

Please can you send the survey link to any employers who you think might be willing to fill this in (or fill it in yourself if you are an employer).

Employer survey on higher apprenticeships