Addressing the Issues Raised by the Education Select Committee Report

Careers Guidance for Young People: The Impact of the New Duty on Schools

Tristram Hooley

What is the problem?
The Government:  promised an all-age careers service and has not delivered this.  has transferred responsibility for career guidance to schools.  has removed the requirement for career education and work-related learning.  has allowed Connexions to collapse as a national service.

The other problem
 Public understanding about careers is not good.  Changes to careers are often nested inside broader changes.  Government announcements on careers often make it sound like they are investing in it when they are either doing the opposite or doing nothing.  The media hasn’t really found a way to handle the story.

The Education Select Committee
 Is a cross-party group with responsibility for scrutinising government activities in the area of education.  It identified that changes were happening in careers through some of its wider work.  It resolved to look into this to explore what was happening and make some recommendations.

Education Select Committee

How Select Committees work
 Pick and issue  Call for evidence  Call a series of hearings and question key informants  Write a report  Discuss  Finalise report

Specialist adviser

Debate continues Government responds

Why should you care?
 There are lots of reports that talk about career education and guidance (see the iCeGS updates for a full list)  The Select Committee has no power.  So is it just another one for the pile?

What does the report say?
 The problem “The Government’s decision to transfer responsibility for careers guidance to schools is regrettable.”  We have to make the new situation work “… we recognise that the new responsibility is now in place and further change would lead to greater uncertainty and upheaval, with a detrimental impact on young people.”  “urgent steps must be taken by the Government to ensure that the current settlement meets the needs of young people. ”

 Government needs to tighten up the statutory guidance that it provides to schools.
 More clearly set out standards and expectations  Include a commitment to career education and work-related learning  Require schools to publish a career plan.

 Extend the remit of the National Careers Service
 Not delivery, but capacity building and brokerage  This would require new funding. Probably in the order of £120 million.

 Some other broader recommendations

Why is it important
    Evidence based Cross-party support Realistic step from the current situation Concrete actions/policies that could actually be implemented

What did the Government say

What did the Government say II
 School autonomy is key to the Government’s education policy – so no recommendations are accepted that require more regulation or legislation.  The Government defines “career guidance” very broadly without a strong reference to the professional base of the activity.  The Government defers its response on some recommendations until after the Ofsted review.

So is the Select Committee report dead?
 The National Careers Council made reference to it in a report advising the government on its future direction. It will be interesting to see how government responds to this.  The issue may be re-ignighted by the Ofsted review. However, Ofsted are unlikely to offer as clear recommendations for policy.  Labour are currently in policy development mode and seem likely to be influenced by the report. (See Tristram Hunt’s Guardian article).

What is needed to move this forward?
 A clearer and more definitive picture of what is happening in schools at the moment.  Research quantifying the impact of the loss of career guidance on young people.  A stronger media, public and political debate on career guidance (and related areas like work-related learning).  Some new thinking at the Department for Education.

Useful resources
 The report
 Summarised and discussed in Careers England Policy Commentary 18

 The government response
 Summarised and discussed in Careers England Policy Commentary 20

 iCeGS policy updates

Tristram Hooley
Reader in Career Development International Centre for Guidance Studies University of Derby @pigironjoe Blog at