The Sutton Trust decided to issue their new research report into careers guidance in Secondary schools – Paving The Way – during #NCW2022 on 10th March. As you probably know, The Sutton Trust champions social mobility through evidence-based programmes, agenda setting research and advocacy and this report highlights their findings when analysing what has been happening with careers guidance in 11-18 education in the UK.
Working with a similar mission to me and IE as well as Careers Week to break social-mobility boundaries through targeted action, I wanted to highlight the key findings of the research here and provide a link to the report so you can access the information yourselves and see what you could do to help achieve the best careers outcomes for your students. In addition I want to highlight how my book The Ladder can help you fulfil many of the recommendations in the report and address some of the findings in the research.
Paving The Way key findings:
- 32% of state school teachers said they don’t have enough funding to deliver good quality careers guidance, compared to just 6% of private school teachers;
- Teachers in state schools are over five times more likely than private schools to report that they don’t have enough funding for careers guidance;
- Classroom teachers in English state schools are less likely than senior leaders to say links to possible careers are being made within curriculum lessons, at 59% vs 80%, perhaps reflecting some ambitions for careers guidance not filtering down into classroom practice.
- 38% of state school pupils said that they had not taken part in anycareers activities, considerably more than the 23% of private school pupils who claimed the same;
- 75% of state school teachers said that the pandemic had negatively affected their ability to deliver careers education;
- Less than a third of pupils aged 14 to 16 have completed work experience;
- 36% of secondary school students do not feel confident about their next steps in education and training;
- The majority (94%) of state school senior leaders are aware of the Gatsby Benchmarks, the current framework for careers guidance. However, awareness is much lower among classroom teachers in state schools (40%).
- Students’ self-reporting of career activities is higher for those in later year groups. For example, while only 7% of those in years 8-9 report learning about apprenticeships, this was 26% for year 13s. Similarly, while only 2% of those in years 8-9 had visited a university, 42% of year 13s have done so.
So what are the solutions? The Sutton Trust argues that whilst there has been some decent progress in recent years, there is still a growing gap between careers advice at state and private schools AND that more needs to be done across the board to improve careers provision, activities and aspirations in all schools and in all age groups.
Their headline recommendations are below and I wholeheartedly agree with them and as you know, we support educators at all levels to deliver them…and will continue to do so.
- The government should develop a new national strategy on careers education.
- At the centre of this strategy should be a core ‘careers structure’ outlining a minimum underlying structure for careers provision in all schools.
- Greater time should be earmarked and integrated within the overall curriculum, and within subject curricula, to deliver careers education and guidance, to reflects its centrality to students’ future prospects.
- All pupils should have access to work experience between the age of 14 and 16.
- Better support and guidance should be made available for schools and colleges on apprenticeships, with better enforcement of statutory requirements.
So what now?
Well, my book, The Ladder which is in its second print-run from Crown House and Independent Thinking Press, contains all the tools you will need to address many of the above recommendations:
The Careers Structure (recommendation 2) is included in The Ladder in chapter 4 – Applying the Gatsby Benchmarks.
Integrating Careers into all subjects (recommendation 3) is covered in Chapter 2 – The Continuum for the Acquisition of Skills and Knowledge, Chapter 5 – Teaching Tools, Chapter 6 – Challenging Stereotypes in Careers, Chapter 7 – resources, programmes, support and links and Chapter 8 – supporting students with SEND diagnoses with their career aspirations.
All pupils should have access to work experience (recommendation 4) is included in The Ladder in chapter 7 – resources, programmes, support and links, Chapter 8 – supporting students with SEND diagnoses with their career aspirations, Chapter 9 – the why and how of business involvement in education and Chapter 10 – Careers questions.
Better Support and Guidance (recommendation 5) is covered in Chapter 3 – equalities of careers opportunities: the research, Chapter 6 – Challenging Stereotypes in Careers, Chapter 9 – the why and how of business involvement in education and Chapter 10 – Careers questions.
Finally, if you get the book and apply some of the tools but still feel like you need some support in developing your future-thinking and careers provision and you’re looking for an inspired staff CPD session, then please let me know and I’ll deliver some tailored and enthusiastic CPD to help you to improve the lives of your students now and into the future.
The Book is available here (with 25% off using the ITL25 code at checkout.)
Here’s the Author page with links to articles I’ve written in a number of journals.
Here’s my blog about Inequality of Opportunity.
Here’s Paving The Way.
Here’s how to get in touch with me: