August 2017

The know zone

  • More
  • How do you unwind
    School and college leadership can be very demanding so how do you unwind – is it yoga classes, a glass of wine or perhaps a good book that helps you to relax? Here ASCL members share their views. More
  • Time to change
    Time to Change is a growing movement of people changing how we all think and act about mental health. More
  • Adding value
    As the role of the school business professional continues to develop, it’s worth reflecting upon the fact that you won’t be able to do everything effectively yourself. More
  • Do you meet the new standard?
    Kevin Gilmartin explains how the new Quality in Careers standard, including accreditation, will work. More
  • Context counts
    In its new review, Ofsted must tackle the distorting effect that accountability has on the curriculum, says Stephen Rollett. 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
  • Spotlight on KS3
    Suzanne O’Farrell asks some important questions to enable us to reflect on the impact and potential of Key Stage 3. More
  • All change
    There is now clear blue water between education in Wales and systems in other home nations, says Tim Pratt. More
Bookmark and Share

Kevin Gilmartin explains how the new Quality in Careers standard, including accreditation, will work.

Do you meet the new standard?

Careers education in schools and colleges has been the subject of debate for many years. Unfortunately, it has often been perceived as one of the easy options to cut when school and college budgets are stretched, despite the near universal acceptance that good careers education brings so many positive benefits for our young people.

At ASCL we fully support the view that high-quality careers advice is vital to young people and the economic future of the country but, equally, we insist that schools and colleges need appropriate funding in order to make this ambition a reality.

What has changed?

At the end of March, major changes to the way that careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) is provided and assessed were brought in.

England’s 12 CEIAG Quality Awards have been replaced by the Quality in Careers standard, a single national award with a range of national, regional and local licensed awarding bodies. Ministers at the DfE have welcomed it as a way to simplify and rationalise the careers advice system and have issued revised statutory guidance (April 2017) ( that recommends that all schools should achieve the new standard.

Quality in Careers accredits the four components of CEIAG:

  • Careers education
  • Careers information
  • Careers advice
  • Careers guidance

Some 1,100 schools, colleges and work-based learning providers in England either hold or are working towards it, including 30% of England’s state secondary schools and 30% of England’s sixth form colleges. Learning providers in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands can also access the standard.

How does it operate?

Schools and colleges seeking Quality in Careers accreditation are free to choose which licensed awarding body to work with, just as they are accustomed to choosing between awarding bodies for qualifications. Each awarding body will answer questions about availability, costs and their approaches to the journey of quality assurance and development of outstanding CEIAG.

Assessment of what schools and colleges are providing is assessed by external, professional assessors, of whom there are more than 100 across England, all dedicated to the accreditation of the highest quality CEIAG provision.

Each learning provider must demonstrate to the assessor that their programme of careers education, enterprise and employability, including work-related learning opportunities, has:

  • strong leadership from the headteacher/principal, the senior leadership team (SLT) and the governing body
  • effective training for staff involved in planning and delivering the programme

The programme itself must:

  • educate, prepare and inspire young people as they make decisions about their future learning and work choices
  • improve their motivation and aspiration
  • develop their career learning skills, knowledge and attributes
  • increase their understanding of work-based issues such as prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination and equal opportunities

Employers, as well as further and higher education providers, must be involved in the programme to open up and increase students’ understanding of a wide range of options, routes, apprenticeships, colleges and universities.

We all want the very best futures for our children and both parents and employers need to be confident that schools and colleges provide top-quality careers support. If a school or a college holds the national award, it affirms that the support being provided will help every student to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to take control of their futures.

You can read more about how the standard is governed and operates, as well as the requirements set for accreditation of CEIAG, in the Guide to the Standard on the CEIAG website ( It also has information about the national licensing criteria that the awarding bodies have had to achieve.

Kevin Gilmartin is ASCL’s Post-16 and Colleges Specialist and a member of the Quality in Careers advisory board.