Delivering NEET policy packages? A decade of NEET policy in England

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We have just published a new article looking at government policy on NEETs.

Hutchinson, J., Beck, V. and Hooley, T. (2015). Delivering NEET policy packages? A decade of NEET policy in England. Journal of Education and Work. Online first.

The article explores the way in which government policy shapes the lives of young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). In particular it examines how the concept of NEETs is set within a specific infrastructure and discourse for managing and supporting young people.

The article provides a brief history of the NEET concept and NEET initiatives, before moving on to scrutinise the policies of the Coalition Government. A key distinction is made between those policies and practices that seek to prevent young people becoming NEET from those that seek to re-engage those who are NEET.

The article argues that the Coalition has drawn on a similar active labour market toolkit to the previous Labour administration, but that this has been implemented with fewer resources and less co-ordination. It concludes that there is little reason to believe that Coalition policy will be any more successful than that of the previous government, and some reason to be concerned that it will lead to young people becoming more entrenched within NEET.

For the lucky few there are some free copies to download, but you better be quick if you want to get your hands on one!

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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 thatĀ less than a quarter of secondary schools in EnglandĀ 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.

Careers 2020 – Options for future careers work in English schools

We have just published a new paper called Careers 2020 – Options for future careers work in English schools with the Pearson Think Tank.

The paper reviews the evidence around careers work in schools and explores different models of provision. The paper argues that there are three distinctive approaches to the delivery of careers work in schools which it describes as:

  • activity-based approaches
  • service-based approaches
  • curriculum-led approaches

It is argued that current government policy lead schools towards activity-based or service-based approaches but that the evidence base supports the idea that curriculum-led approaches are most effective.

The Pearson Think Tank are building on this paper with a survey of schools. Schools are invited to complete the survey to help Pearson to increase understanding about the current state of careers work in English schools.

Concerns about funding for careers services

I’m a member of the UK Careers Sector Strategic Forum. As a group we’ve just issued the attached statement which sets out some of our concerns about current proposals to restructure careers services in England. I think that it is well put and I’ll try and post something here as soon as we hear something from the Government.

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