Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Careers education in England

Two new documents relating to careers education and guidance (CEG) were published in 2007: Quality Standards for Young People's Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG), from the DCSF, and PSHE: Economic Wellbeing and Financial Capability, from the QCA.

These joined an existing DCSF document Careers Education and Guidance in England: A National Framework 11-19, published in 2003.

Naturally there has been some confusion from CPD leaders in schools and colleges about the purposes of these three documents.

The CEG national framework provides recommended curriculum objectives for careers education in Key Stages 3 and 4, and in post-16 education and training. Schools have a statutory duty to provide careers education from years 7 to 11 and are encouraged to continue this into the sixth form. Colleges are similarly encouraged to provide careers education for post-16 learners.

The 2007 Quality Standards for IAG are aimed at local authorities which, from April 2008 will take over responsibility and funding for providing careers guidance in England, as part of a wider IAG service, from Connexions.

The Education and Skills Bill currently being debated in Parliament includes clauses that will require local authorities to have regard to the quality standards when commissioning IAG services.

ASCL is attempting to persuade the bill committee and civil servants that it would be more sensible and practical to have one set of guidelines covering both CEG and IAG - and schools, colleges and local authorities.

Moving on to the QCA document, the review of secondary curriculum resulted in a new programme of study, as part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE), for economic wellbeing and financial capability. It brings together guidance on careers education, work-related learning and enterprise and personal finance education. While non-statutory, it supports schools in meeting their duty to provide careers education.

The Education and Skills Bill proposes a requirement on state schools for impartial careers information and the DCSF is already preparing guidance on this.

The CEG advisers in local Connexions and local authority IAG services should be able to offer further information on how the quality standards for IAG are being implemented in practice, and about what support is available to help implement the programme of study for economic wellbeing.

Information provided by David Andrews, national consultant for the Association for Careers Education and Guidance.

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