Impartial careers guidance
The government is keen to impress on schools the importance of impartiality when delivering careers information, advice and guidance.
The Education Act and the statutory guidance recently issued by the Department for Education (DfE) clearly stress the importance of ensuring that advice and guidance provided to students is unbiased and does not favour a particular education, training or work option.
Concerns about impartiality
There has long been concern that some young people are not given the opportunity to find out about a full range of options because their school does not make information and advice on all of those options available.
There is particular concern regarding post-16 options, with some in the guidance and further education communities believing that schools with sixth forms are not providing information, advice and guidance on post-16 options other than for their own course provision.
The Association of Colleges (AOC) has recently carried out research which backs this concern.
Its survey found that half of schools with a sixth form were offering ‘poor, limited or no access’ to information about courses available in their local further education or sixth form college.
The research shows that some schools were refusing to display college information, preventing students from attending open days at colleges and presenting barriers to college staff speaking to students.
You can read more on the AOC research by clicking here.
In the student’s ‘best interest’
Guidance issued by the government states that:
“Careers guidance must be presented in an impartial manner and promote the best interests of the pupils to whom it is given. Careers guidance must also include information on all options available in respect of 16-18 education or training, including apprenticeships and other work-based education and training options.”
Statutory guidance issued by DfE March 2012
Some would argue that it is not in the student’s ‘best interest’ to spend time looking at options which their school feels are not suitable for them. However, this is often based on the student’s academic ability and the perception of teachers. For example, anecdotal reports from advisers suggest that some schools may only promote apprenticeships to lower academic achievers because they feel that they are an ‘easier’ option. However, an apprenticeship may well be the best route to help students of any ability achieve their long-term career aspirations and without being given the opportunity to explore that option they will not get the chance to achieve their aspirations via that route.
Equally, the careers that young people aspire to may have been encouraged (or constrained) based on their perceived abilities.
Practicalities of impartiality
One of the biggest challenges to providing impartiality is the need to have knowledge of and access to information on the full range of opportunities available to a young person. As far as post-16 education and training options are concerned, local providers are usually able to provide schools with information. However, providing a complete, impartial picture of the full range of career options can be more challenging, with the cost of purchasing and updating information resources being a particular issue.
And this is one of the ways that investing in high-quality, online careers resources can help. Our programs contain information on over 1,900 career titles which is updated automatically three times each year. This saves valuable time by removing the need for staff to check the validity of resources while ensuring that your students have access to the most up-to-date information. Updates are provided as part of the product subscription, so rather than having to constantly reinvest in the latest edition, schools know that they are up to date without additional investment.
Making impartial choices
Our programs also allow young people to explore which career options might be best suited to them. Based on their own interests, aspirations and skills, young people can start to explore the occupations which may be best suited to them. This helps to ensure that the ideas that they are presented with are in their best interest.
You can find out more about how we can help your school deliver impartial careers advice by clicking here.