CEIAG: The Law, Statutory Duty and Statutory Guidance

Following the Education Act, 2011 the statutory duty to ensure that young people (under 19) in England have access to careers guidance support was changed.

Prior to the 2011 Act the duty was placed upon the Secretary of State to ensure that a 'careers service' was provided for young people. That careers service was provided from 1974-1994 by Local Education Authorities; from 1994-2001 by contracted careers companies/providers under contract to the Secretary of State; and from 2001-2012 by Connexions Partnerships/Local Authority Connexions Services as part of their wider youth support service functions.

The Education Act, 2011 placed the duty to 'secure access to independent careers guidance' for their pupils and students upon schools (from September 2012 for pupils aged 14 to age 16), and then from September 2013 upon schools for pupils aged 13-18 and upon FE Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges for students aged 16-18.

The 2011 Act defines 'independent' in this way:

"Careers guidance provided to pupils at a school is independent for the purposes of this section if it is provided other than by:

  • (A) A Teacher Employed Or Engaged At The School
  • (B) Any Other Person Employed At The School

The Act therefore requires Schools to be commissioners of careers guidance not providers of it (that's not to say they will not provide some of it, but the new statutory duty is to secure external careers guidance in addition to whatever a school provides internally). It is worth reminding ourselves what the OECD definition of 'careers guidance' covers, as this is referred to by the Department for Education in its guidance on what the statutory duty includes:

"Career guidance refers to services and activities intended to assist individuals, of any age and at any point throughout their lives, to make educational, training and occupational choices and to manage their careers.

The activities may take place on an individual or group basis, and may be face-to-face or at a distance (including help lines and web-based services)."
(OECD, 2004)

The latest Statutory Guidance (January 2018) from the DfE to schools on fulfilling their statutory duty builds heavily upon the 8 Gatsby Benchmarks for “Good Careers Guidance”, and “strongly recommends” all secondary schools to work towards and achieve the national Quality in Careers Standard

Paragraph 20 in the Statutory Guidance states:

20. Schools can gain formal accreditation of their careers programme through the Quality in Careers Standard - the national quality award for careers education, information, advice and guidance. The Standard offers an opportunity for schools to undergo an external evaluation of their careers programme and so is distinct from the Compass self-assessment. Work is continuing to align the Standard more fully to the Benchmarks and to incorporate Compass into its processes, so those schools achieving the Standard meet all eight Benchmarks. We strongly recommend that all schools work towards the updated Quality in Careers Standard, incorporating Compass, to support the development of their careers programme.

We have fully revised our national assessment criteria to incorporate the Gatsby Benchmarks and the Compass self-assessment tool. You can read more about this via the Guide to the Standard.

The Department has also issued revised guidance to FE Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges

With over 1100 schools and colleges voluntarily working towards or holding the Quality in Careers Standard already, we commend, to every Head Teacher/College Principal and school/college governing body, our belief that the statutory duty on schools and colleges to secure independent careers guidance for pupils and students will be most effective when these three elements coexist in a school or college:

  • Its overall CEIAG programme is quality assured against the Quality in Careers Standard
  • The school/college builds upon its internal programme by securing specialist careers advice and guidance services from an external provider, close to the labour market and therefore able to assist young people to make informed choices; such a provider should meet the accepted 'industry standard' for advice and guidance on learning and work, the 'matrix Standard'.
  • The externally secured provider of careers guidance should employ professional careers advisers who are occupationally competent to professional standards as determined by the Career Development Institute".

We’ve consistently advocated this three-pronged approach to assure the quality of CEIAG for every young person in England incorporating seeking accreditation under England's national CEIAG quality award - the Quality in Careers Standard

To help schools and colleges we’ve also provided a section hosting a series of Case Studies here which schools and colleges have agreed we should make accessible as a means of showing how some of the good schools and colleges in the country are responding to their duty to 'secure access to independent careers guidance' for their pupils and students.

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