CAREERS GUIDANCE: The Poor Relation in the Education Sector

Earlier this month the Chairs of the Education, Skills and Economy Committee slammed the Government’s failure to address inadequacies in careers guidance as “unacceptable”, demanding that Ministers act to improve provision as a matter of urgency to ensure young people are equipped with the right skills to succeed in the modern economy.

The Committee published a report in July which highlighted that careers guidance is poor in many schools and, with no sign of the long-promised strategy for careers education, the Co-Chairs of the Committee Neil Carmichael and Iain Wright, accused Ministers of “burying their heads in the sand” in a way that “smacks of complacency”.

The concerns raised by the Committee are shared by careers guidance experts too: James Robertson, Managing Director of the popular careers guidance management solution Grofar, says the Government’s lackluster response is damaging the future prospects for many students:

“We work with schools across the country and the sense of frustration we encounter is often palpable: careers leaders want clear, consistent guidelines and communications from the Government to enable them to be absolutely clear about their responsibilities, strategies and options. But there’s often just a vacuum. If schools cannot provide their students with the best possible careers service, then inevitably that will have an impact on their prospects and we see first hand the effect this has, as careers staff struggle to meet student needs with little or no support from Westminster”.

The Government has responded to the Committee in the last week, stating on 15 November: “we are determined to tackle the patchy state of careers provision and raise its importance and profile in schools. Just as every pupil deserves access to a good school place, every young person must have access to high quality careers education, information, advice and guidance”.

Robertson is not impressed, but says all is not lost: “The Government has already conceded that careers guidance is ‘patchy’ and needs tackling. Many schools have now lost patience and rather than waiting for the strategic vacuum to be filled by the Government, they’re implementing advice from organisations such as Gatsby and adopting Grofar to improve their schools provision whilst at the same time, reducing their costs. Students need quality careers education, information, advice and guidance right now, they don’t have the luxury of waiting. The future of today’s students is more uncertain than ever, equipping them with the key skills they need to survive in Britain’s changing climate is now more important than ever.”.

And Robertson’s views are shared at the coal face. Hayley Galpin, Careers Co-ordinator at The Orchard School in Bristol, says: “As a Careers Co-ordinator, I soon found myself swamped with paperwork: stacks of documents and folders made information difficult to manage. I now use Grofar, which means student records and notes are always on hand when students walk into my office. My main objective is to focus my attention better and spend less time on administration. It’s great for the students too: they take ownership over aspects of their careers development with action plans, goals and a great tool to help them with writing personal statements and application forms.

“I can easily identify students with low activity, highlighting those at risk and who may need extra support. Students have direct access to their careers service and can message me for advice at any time.

“I am happy we will always be ‘OFSTED’ ready and can easily demonstrate the service and careers guidance we are providing to our students”.

As the Government seems to be distracted by crisis after crisis, from Brexit to Trump, it seems inevitable that the careers guidance function within the sector is being nudged into finding alternative solutions. But when the solution is so affordable, does the Government need to lose sleep over its inaction? Careers guidance may feel like the poor relation within the education sector but there’s a strong core developing which is helping itself and finding its own way, rather than wait for the long-promised but, so far, non-existent Government strategy.

‘Careers advice should be a core part of a young person’s schooling’

This week the Government’s Commons Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy concluded that the lack of good careers provision in schools in England was harming young people’s job choices and having a detrimental effect on the economy.

In a report, MPs said: “We recommend that Ofsted introduce a specific judgement on careers information advice and guidance for secondary schools, and set clear criteria for making these judgements.”

“The Common Inspection Framework should be amended to make clear that a secondary school whose careers provision is judged as ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ cannot be judged as ‘outstanding’ overall.”

“Likewise a secondary school should be unable to receive an overall judgement of ‘good’ if its careers provision is judged to be ‘inadequate’.”

This is a crucial time for schools in England to ensure that their careers advice service is fit for purpose. At Grofar we understand the importance of this and the impact that good careers advice has on student’s futures. Running an effective careers service is time consuming and labour intensive – this is where we can help!

Grofar is a complete careers administration solution, available to schools from just £495 per annum. Grofar manages careers service processes and provides a central location for all careers information. Grofar is the solution for schools who want to improve the careers service they offer to students and maximise their staff potential.

Speak to a member of our friendly team for further information by emailing info@grofar.com. To sign up to a no obligation 30-day free trial please visit www.grofar.com.

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Adrian Lyons from Ofsted says school’s provision for enterprise and employability “is less effective than it could be”

We recently came across a video on Ofsted’s YouTube channel where Adrian Lyons, Her Majesty’s Inspector for Ofsted, talked about schools not monitoring the quality of provision in this area.

In the video, Adrian talks about how school’s monitoring of the quality of the provision is currently lacking, and that the training of teacher’s within this area is not as effective as it could be. He also mentions that many schools do not currently record the activities that students are involved with, making it hard to keep track of what they are actually learning – suggesting there is still work to be done in this area.

At Grofar, we understand the importance of engaging students with businesses in order to raise their careers aspirations, but that currently the process for Careers Leaders can be very time consuming – which is where we can help.

Grofar offers a complete careers administration system for schools who want to improve the careers service they offer to their students and relieve their staff of much of the admin burden. Two features of Grofar Careers Solution include Business Database and Business Comms, which allows Careers Leaders to easily manage the school’s relationship with local enterprises.

For further information about Grofar, including the features of the Grofar Careers Plan and the Grofar Careers Solution, please email info@grofar.com  to speak to a member of our friendly team or visit www.grofar.com to sign up for a no obligation free trial.

Press Release: Software company launch new solution for schools in response to increasing demands on Careers Leaders

Grofar have launched a new software solution for schools, an integrated set of tools that enables Careers Leaders to improve the service offered to students, save time and meet statutory guidance more easily as well as helping them to achieve the recommendations set out in the Gatsby report.

The company has created the platform in response to the Government’s drive to increase students’ aspirations and ensure that students leave school “prepared for life in modern Britain”. In April 2014, the Gatsby charitable foundation produced the “Good Careers Guidance” report by Sir John Holman, who identified eight benchmarks for what good career guidance should look like.

Speaking of the launch of the software, James Robertson, Managing Director of Grofar, said:

In 2013, OFSTED commented that only one in five schools were effective in ensuring that students were receiving the level of careers information that they needed. We carried out our own research and it’s clear that Careers Leaders are under considerable time pressure and lack the tools that are required to do their job well and that a software package could reduce administration and make the careers programme for schools much easier to manage.

Grofar offers a great cost-effective solution to schools. Using the information from their existing MIS system, it will help them to meet the key requirements of the Government’s statutory guidance, as well as develop the career aspirations of students from a young age.

The cost of Grofar’s complete software solution starts from £495. For further information about Grofar, including the features of the Grofar Careers Plan and the Grofar Careers Solution, please visit www.grofar.com or email info@grofar.com.