Every school should be given an additional £30,000 in a bid to turnaround career guidance services, a new report has said.
It states that careers services should be funded by the government and the money ring-fenced or monitored to ensure it is spent appropriately.
The study, which is part of the Careers 2020 project being undertaken by the Pearson Think Tank, criticises the loss of £200 million in careers funding, which was cut after the coalition government came to power. It said: “The DfE should strongly consider investing explicitly in careers again, both directly to schools and through the National Careers Service (NCS).
“Some initial costings for such a proposal have already been prepared by Careers England which recommends an additional spend of £30,000 per school.
“Funding could also be better targeted, either by ring-fencing or through a monitoring arrangement similar to the Pupil Premium.
“This could involve schools publishing on their websites what they spend on careers and the resulting outcomes, as well as central support services to help spot, reward and spread good practice.”
The report, A Cloudy Horizon: Careers Services in England, was launched by Graham Stuart MP, chairman of the Education Select Committee, and the Confederation for British Industry (CBI) last week.
It follows two highly critical reports on the current state of careers services in schools. Earlier this year, the all-party Education Select Committee concluded that the decision by ministers to hand responsibility for careers advice to schools in 2012 was “regrettable” as new arrangements are inadequate.
And earlier this month, Ofsted reported that three-quarters of the schools are not implementing their duty to provide impartial careers advice effectively.
Headteachers say they have been left stranded because of the decision not to hand to schools any of the £200 million that funded the old Connexions services.
The Pearson study found a 14 per cent decline in opportunities for young people to do work experience and a 12 per cent decline in the number of Careers Libraries. Individual careers advice and “counselling” has also gone down by nine per cent.
Among teachers, almost a third had no idea that schools had a statutory duty to provide careers advice, while 56 per cent said they knew little about it.
This was despite 90 per cent of teachers believing that high-quality independent careers guidance was important.
Overall, the study made eight recommendations to improve careers advice and guidance, including that the NCS should be responsible for providing careers advice to all age groups, as well as co-ordinating local and national provision. It also called for schools to have a designated careers leader, and for Ofsted to monitor careers advice as part of inspections.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “The old system of careers advice was patchy, costly and poor-quality – that is why we gave schools the statutory duty to provide it. Heads and teachers know their pupils best.
“Ofsted’s report this month showed some schools are providing excellent careers support, inspiring their students, providing work experience and putting them in touch with the right employers.
“We want all schools to take this approach and will be issuing updated guidance to ensure this happens.”
Elsewhere, London Councils has this week launched a 10-point plan to help the city’s 500 schools and colleges to improve their careers guidance provision.
The body, which represents London’s local authorities, has produced a report, entitled Pioneering Careers Work in London, in a bid to help tackle youth unemployment.
London has the highest young unemployment rate in the country, but despite this London Councils says that a fifth of unfilled vacancies are left empty because of a skills shortage – especially in marketing, sales and the creative and cultural industries.
The report and guidance documents can be downloaded at www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/policylobbying/children/education14to19/icyp/pioneeringcareers.htm
For more about the Careers 2020 project and to download the Pearson Think Tank report, visit http://thepearsonthinktank.com/research/careers-2020/