February 2018

The know zone

  • Bold beginnings?
    At last year's ASCL Annual Conference, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector (HMCI), Amanda Spielman, announced that Ofsted would be undertaking a large-scale review of the curriculum. The review's first report focused on the Reception Year and was published in November. Julie McCulloch looks at what it had to say. More
  • Securing your future
    Managing Director of Lighthouse Financial Advice Ltd Lee Barnard, shares tips and information on future proofing your pensions. More
  • You want more?
    Supervising the lunch queue? Shifts as a security guard and car park attendant? It shouldn't happen to a chartered accountant... unless they are a business leader in an academy, of course. More
  • Leaders' surgery
    Hotline advice expressed here, and in calls to us, is made in good faith to our members. Schools and colleges should always take formal HR or legal advice from their indemnified provider before acting. More
  • Careers guidance
    The government wants every school and college in England to have a dedicated careers leader and it has published a careers strategy to highlight this. Here, ASCL members share their views on these plans and on what more can be done to improve careers guidance. More
  • Managing expectations
    Stephen Rollett says preparing for inspection doesn't have to be a difficult process. Here, he shares his top tips to help you through the visit and beyond. More
  • Uncharted waters
    As the government publishes its long-awaited action plan and consultation on T levels, Kevin Gilmartin examines the big issues that the government needs to get right. More
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The government wants every school and college in England to have a dedicated careers leader and it has published a careers strategy to highlight this (https://tinyurl.com/y7y6dtsj). Here, ASCL members share their views on these plans and on what more can be done to improve careers guidance.

Careers guidance

National strategy

The importance being placed on careers guidance is long overdue but, as with too many of the government’s strategies, it is simply announced with some funding. Raising aspirations for all of our students, especially the most disadvantaged, is key to improving their success both in school and in life. As a school we have had no information regarding this initiative other than what is in the media. It appears to be a very broad announcement taking no account of the differing circumstances that schools operate in. As a relatively large secondary school we employ a work-related learning coordinator who looks after all our careers guidance among other things. Smaller schools may not have that luxury, especially at a time when funding for schools has never been tighter.

For careers guidance to be effective it needs to involve the world of work more fully with regular input from a wide variety of employers and professions so that students can see what careers are available and how to access them. Coordinating this with the demands of the school day, availability of employers and getting the balance right, is a mammoth task and one that could be better managed by a separate body rather than have each individual school chasing the same employers for their time. Some larger companies have their own outreach programmes that are often very good but smaller organisations do not and are reluctant or unable to release staff to get involved.

If the government is serious about careers guidance, and it should be, then there needs to be a national strategy, tailored to local needs, which is properly funded and communicated.

(Name and details supplied)

More money

A total of £4 million to fund schools to ensure that we all have a ‘Careers Leader’ does sound like a lot of money but if you allocated that equally across all secondary schools in England, they’d each get just over £600 each. At a time when more and more schools are having to make cuts in terms of staffing, both teacher and support staff, it seems incredulous to suggest that there is the capacity to deliver on this in any meaningful way, especially as the £600 wouldn’t cover the cost of a teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) or the reduction in someone’s teaching load, even if that were possible.

Michael Ferry
Headteacher, St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary School, Crawley, West Sussex

Flexibility and resources

Having worked in a careers service at a leading university I am struck by the lack of provision prior to higher education (HE). The key to good career information, in my opinion, is outside of the classroom.

The strategy to engage employers in schools is a good one; however, the best way to engage with young people is to bring them in to the workplace and inspire them. Many young people have a limited understanding of jobs available to them. Most careers advice is focused on the next step when it should be looking at the bigger picture. Advice and guidance is often very dry and static whereas experiential opportunities drive the imagination and offer aspiration.

The availability and raising awareness of good online resources such as the milk round www.milkround. com/school-leavers and something equivalent to www. prospects.ac.uk for school leavers is essential. Schools need to have the flexibility in the curriculum and resources to address this problem

Alison Caplin
Bursar and Senior Administration Manager, The Henry Beaufort School, Winchester, Hampshire