Evaluation of Careers Provision in Schools and Colleges in England

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1 Evaluation of Careers Provision in Schools and Colleges in England Introduction This report provides insight into how state funded, mainstream 11 to 19 education providers in England evaluate the careers guidance provision that they offer to their students. Summary of findings Based on evaluations carried out by 316 schools/colleges: Only 8% have a systematic approach to integrating careers into the wider curriculum and referencing the relevance of subjects to the world of work. 5% only promote pathways available within their institution to the majority of students. The majority state that they did promote all pathways equally, however only 42% have a programme that included sources of independent and external information. Most interaction with local employers takes the form of one-off school visits. Only 30% have a broader engagement programme and 12% have no contact with local employers. The absence of a careers adviser increases the likelihood that a school/college is unable to provide age appropriate guidance. 8% do not collect actual or intended destination data. Just over a third have a programme of activities with local colleges and universities. Half of schools/colleges have no governor involvement in careers guidance. Face-to-face guidance most commonly takes the form of one time activity that is offered to a sub-set of students. 3% do not provide any face-to-face guidance. A third state that they have a realistic budget to deliver careers guidance. 10% have no budget at all. Almost half work with local authorities to deliver an individual action plan for vulnerable students. 9% maintain no contact with local authorities. Only 11% regularly involve parents and engage them with their child s careers guidance. 13% do not involve parents at all. 35% do not provide staff with specific training on careers guidance. Most have a program of short work experience. 35% do more comprehensive activity to meet the needs of students and employers. 16% do not require students to do work experience. The combination of both an internal and external careers adviser equips schools/colleges to provide the best careers guidance. Providers of education are strongest at careers guidance delivery but have weaker management of careers guidance. Schools which cater for students up to age 16 are the best at providing impartial guidance, working with local authorities and local colleges and universities. Schools which cater for students up to age 18 are stronger at curriculum integration and working with employers. 1

2 Data collection method Between 1st December 2014 and 31st July 2015, schools, colleges and other providers of careers guidance were invited to complete an evaluation of their careers guidance provision using the free tool, Outstanding Directions. Outstanding Directions, is an online self-review tool where those responsible for careers within organisations like schools and colleges can rate their provision against criteria identified as being integral to effective careers guidance delivery. Outstanding Directions was developed by CASCAID, the UKs leading provider of careers resources, in response to demand from schools and colleges for a means of evaluating and evidencing their careers guidance delivery. In particular, schools and colleges needed a means of identifying improvement actions, benchmarking their provision against similar organisations and carrying out impact assessments to support School Improvement planning and Ofsted inspections. Breakdown of participants A total of 316 state funded, mainstream providers of education for 11 to 19 year olds in England completed an evaluation during the period. Schools with a sixth form made up 55% of those who completed the evaluation. A quarter of those who completed an evaluation were from schools, with the remaining 20% from colleges focussed on provision. Half of those who completed an evaluation were representing schools/colleges with a student roll of up to 1,000. A further 37% were from schools/colleges which had student rolls of between 1,001 and 2,000 students. The remaining 13% of evaluations were completed by schools/colleges with a student roll over 2,001. Twelve percent of evaluations were completed by schools/colleges that do not employ a careers adviser. A fifth of evaluations were carried out by schools/colleges which only employ the services of an external careers adviser, with a further quarter stating that they employ both an internal and external adviser. The remaining 43% only employ an internal careers adviser. The location of schools/colleges that completed an evaluation was relatively well spread. There were above average completions from schools/colleges in the South East, South West and Eastern England. Schools/ colleges from the North East were represented by below average completions. 2

3 Evaluation results During the evaluation, school/colleges are presented with 14 careers guidance delivery criteria which represent the elements of good practice. Each criteria has three levels representing minimal/non-existent provision to best practice. The organisation scores themselves by selecting the level that represents their current provision. Curriculum integration Integrating careers provision within the wider curriculum is one of the areas that schools/colleges scored themselves lowest. Integrating careers into the curriculum is important to help students understand the relevance of subjects and engage them with understanding the importance of what they are learning. Almost a third of those who completed the evaluation stated that there was no systematic approach to referencing the world of work in subject delivery. Only 8% of those who completed an evaluation said that the school/college has a systematic approach which includes all teaching staff and covers referencing of world of work relevance in lessons, teaching materials and staff training. Colleges who focussed on provision, scored above average for integration within the curriculum. This is likely to be because of the closer links between vocational subjects and the world of work. Ability to deliver age appropriate guidance Generally schools/colleges rate themselves highly on their ability to provide careers guidance that is appropriate to the age of the student. Age appropriate guidance is important to ensure that activity is at an appropriate level to engage the student, as well as providing them with the right support for the transition phase that they are at. Colleges which focus on provision score higher than average on the age appropriateness of their guidance. This is unsurprising given that their overall provision is focussed on a very specific age group and transition point. Schools/colleges with no careers adviser score below average on their ability to provide age appropriate careers guidance. This is likely to reflect the fact that with no dedicated careers staff, the organisation experiences difficulties with a lack of expertise to deliver age appropriate guidance. Impartiality Every student has the right to receive careers guidance that is unbiased and in their best interest. Impartiality is a key element of DfEs statutory guidance. When responsibility for careers was moved from local authorities to schools/colleges, a key concern was how well equipped schools/colleges would be to tell students about opportunities for learning and training available from other providers. Worryingly 5% of those who completed an evaluation stated that their organisation only promotes pathways available within their institution to the majority of students. The majority of schools/colleges stated that they did promote all pathways equally to students; however only 42% had a programme that included sources of independent and external information. Unsurprisingly schools without a sixth form scored highest for impartiality. Destinations data Destination data enables schools/colleges to track how their students progress once they leave the institution. 3

4 Eight percent of those who completed evaluations stated that their institution did not collect actual or intended destination data. This is particularly concerning given that destination data is now published as a measure of institution performance. Schools/colleges without a careers adviser scored below average on collection of destination data, highlighting the important role that advisers play in recording and tracking student progression. Those institutions who focussed on provision, scored below average on collection of destinations data. Relationships with local colleges and universities It is important that students have the opportunity to interact with local colleges and universities to help them expand their ideas about the options that are available to them. Many further education institutions engage with schools as part of their recruitment activities and universities are keen to work with schools/colleges as part of their widening participation activities. Just over a third of schools/colleges who completed an evaluation, stated that they had a programme of on and off-site activities with colleges, universities and training providers, as well as regular meetings with relevant staff and these organisation. Schools/colleges with no appointed careers adviser scored below average in this area, perhaps unsurprising as they are unlikely to have the capacity to co-ordinate activities of this type. Schools without a sixth form were more likely to have stronger links with other institutions. It could be perceived that this is as a result of lack of competition with other learning providers for post-16 engagement. Working with employers Involving employers in careers delivery helps students to develop an understanding of what employers want from future recruits and helps to make careers support realistic. A number of government backed initiatives have focussed on employer inspiration in schools. However, 12% of those who completed the evaluation stated that their institution had no contact with local employers. The majority of those who completed the evaluation indicated that they did engage with employers, but that this was largely one-off school visits. Only 30% of evaluations indicated a broader ranging employer engagement programme covering on and off-site activities, with a wide range of workplaces and careers covered. Schools/colleges with no careers adviser or which only employ an external careers adviser, score below average on working with employers. Leadership The statutory guidance highlighted the legal duty on school governors for careers guidance. Half of schools/colleges that completed an evaluation stated that there was no governor involvement in careers guidance. Eleven percent stated that a named governor had responsibility for careers and that careers guidance featured on governor s meeting agendas. Larger schools/colleges had slightly above average governor involvement, as did insitutions. Face-to-face guidance While there is no compulsory requirement for face-to-face careers guidance, it does play a very important role in helping students to make sense of the options that they have by asking specific questions to help them make effective decisions. 4

5 Three percent of those who completed an evaluation stated that they did not offer face-to-face guidance to any student. The most common approach to face-to-face guidance delivery was one-off interviews which take place with a selected sub-set of students carried out by an internal member of staff. This raises questions about whether all students who could benefit from face-to-face guidance have the opportunity to. With the focus on delivery by internal staff schools/colleges also need to ensure that they can demonstrate impartiality. Unsurprisingly schools/colleges which employ the services of both an external and internal careers adviser rate highest on face-to-face provision. Finance Since the removal of ring-fenced funding for careers activity and reallocation of legal responsibility from local authorities to schools, money spent on careers provision has reduced. Ten percent of those who completed an evaluation stated that their institution has no budget for careers guidance activities. A third stated that they have a realistic budget that recognises that careers guidance needs to be a wholeorganisation activity. Post-16 institutions rate below average for financial resources for careers provision. Working with local authorities Although schools and colleges are responsible for careers guidance for their students, they need to work with local authorities, who have a duty to ensure participation and in particular for supporting students, who have additional needs, and are vulnerable or at risk of disengaging. Nine percent of schools/colleges that completed an evaluation stated that they did not maintain contact with local authorities in relation to vulnerable students. Almost half stated that they worked with the local authority to develop an individual action plan for all vulnerable students. Schools/colleges with no careers adviser scored lowest for their ability to work with local authorities, while schools without a sixth form scored above average in this area. Parental involvement Parents/guardians play an important role in informing and influencing student s decisions. Schools/colleges need to support parents with information about learning and career options as well as supporting students. Given that parents are three times as influential as teachers when it comes to career decisions (trendence School Leaver Survey 2014), it is perhaps a little surprising that 13% of schools/colleges that completed an evaluation stated that there was no parental involvement in the careers guidance that they offered. Only 11% stated that they regularly involved parents in careers activities and had a system that allows them to positively engage with their child s careers guidance. The majority stated that they kept parents informed about events and activities but did not proactively engage with them. Schools/colleges with a careers adviser (internal or external) scored highest for parent involvement, suggesting that the allocation of dedicated staff has a direct correlation to engagement with this important stakeholder. The largest schools/colleges scored below average for involving parents/guardians. 5

6 Staff training Keeping up-to-date is vital for staff involved in delivering careers support. Information about careers, qualifications, progression paths and labour market information regularly change and this, coupled with the need to continually develop skills to engage with different types of young people, means that those providing careers support need regular training. However, 35% of schools/colleges that completed an evaluation, stated that they did not provide specific staff training on careers guidance. The majority stated that relevant staff have annual refresher training as part of Inset days. Colleges focussing on provision scored above average for staff training in careers guidance. This is likely to be because their students are seen as being closer to their career so greater training investment is provided. Schools/colleges without a careers adviser scored below average, suggesting that in organisations where dedicated careers staff are in place, they support knowledge sharing. Co-ordination of careers activity The majority of schools/colleges who completed an evaluation had a designated careers co-ordinator, either full-time or part-time (including those with other responsibilities). Schools/colleges with an internal careers adviser were more likely to have someone in a careers co-ordination role, perhaps with the adviser working in a dual advice/co-ordination role. The largest institutions and those responsible for provision were less likely to have a designated careers co-ordinator. Career activity records It is important that schools/colleges record the careers activity that students undertake. This can be used to monitor impact and effectiveness, pinpoint specific support needs, and improve the services offered by identifying common issues. Careers activity records also provide valuable evidence for school inspections, so with Ofsted pledging a higher profile for careers during school inspections, it s surprising to see that 28% of schools/colleges that completed an evaluation stated that they did not collect data on careers activities. The availability of a careers adviser had a direct correlation to the collection of evidence in this area, with those organisations which do not employ an adviser scoring lowest in this area. Work experience The statutory requirement for work related learning (work experience) was removed from the Key Stage 4 curriculum in However, it remains a valuable activity for helping students to develop their knowledge and skills and make informed decisions. Encouragingly, the majority of schools/colleges that completed an evaluation stated that they do offer work experience in some form. Most offer a short program of work experience; however 35% have a more comprehensive program that meets the needs of both employers and students. Only 16% of schools/colleges that completed an evaluation stated that they do not require students to undertake work experience. Schools/colleges that employ an internal careers adviser scored higher than average on work experience provision, suggesting that they have a role in the organisation of work experience. Those organisations that do not employ either an internal or external adviser are less likely to have a work experience program. Larger organisations are less likely to offer a work experience program, perhaps due to the issues of organising opportunities for large volumes of students. 6

7 Organisations focussed on provision for year olds, score slightly higher than average on work experience provision. This reflects the fact that work experience is a key component of the Study Programme. Overall comparisons Organisations with a student roll between 1,001 and 2,000, that employ the services of both an internal and external careers adviser, score highest across all of the evaluation criteria. Across all criteria, schools/colleges that have no careers adviser score significantly below average. The largest organisations (2,001+ students) score slightly below average across all criteria. Organisations focussed on provision score above average on most criteria relating to delivery, but score below or average on criteria relating to management. Both categories of school (up to age 16 and up to age 18) on average, across all criteria, score very similarly, with the exception being the criteria relating to impartiality, working with local authorities and local colleges and universities, where schools delivering provision up to age 16 score higher. Schools delivering provision up to the age of 18 score higher on criteria including curriculum integration, co-ordination and working with employers. 7

8 About CASCAID CASCAID is the leading producer of careers information and guidance solutions with over 40 years experience of inspiring young people with their career options. Our products are used extensively in guidance and educational organisations throughout the UK and internationally. We have supported millions of people worldwide with their career decisions. Owned by Loughborough University, we are committed to providing innovative tools which raise aspirations and inspire choices. We produce impartial and independent high quality careers guidance tools which provide accurate and up-to-date information plus an open and transparent matching system that creates personalised results. Our mission at CASCAID is to provide the best possible careers planning and guidance services. Our products are used in the majority of schools and colleges and by careers professionals throughout the UK. Our products provide interactive online support to 7-19 year olds to help them make decisions about their future. Founded in 1969, CASCAID has history. But the future is where we re at, starting now with groundbreaking resources for careers guidance. Our constantly evolving technologies inform and inspire young people and adults all over the world. Our purpose? Your purpose. 8

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