Careers: a clear brief for schools and colleges

10 April 2014

Four leading education bodies have come together to support schools and colleges with a good practice brief to help young people to take charge of their careers and their futures.

Published today in partnership between the Association for School and College Leaders (ASCL), Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and the 157 Group, it follows the publication earlier today of the Department of Education’s new careers guidance and inspiration for young people in schools.

The new good practice brief on careers engagement highlights the principles of effective careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) as evidenced and agreed by the four organisations, and provides practical advice on putting CEIAG plans into action. It offers guidance to schools and colleges in assessing their careers provision in an easy-to-use format and provides a workable approach for this important area.

This unique collaboration brings together experts from schools and colleges in response to widespread concern about the quality of careers guidance available to many young people following the introduction last year of the statutory duty on schools and colleges to secure independent provision for their students in Years 8–13. It builds on research that provides the evidence on how young people are navigating their way through these potentially complex choices of qualifications and locations of study and the importance to them of receiving high-quality, impartial and independent CEIAG.

ASCL, ATL, NFER and The 157 Group believe that schools and colleges themselves have a vital role to play in supporting young people to navigate their way through the increasing complexity of choices available to them.

Key points from the brief include that, in order to achieve positive CEIAG outcomes, there should be:

  • Widespread agreement on the principles of effective careers education

  • A culture change, led by senior leaders in schools and colleges, that accepts CEIAG is more challenging and more important for future economic prosperity than previously

  • Extensive collaboration that always puts the interests of the young person first.

Karleen Dowden, Apprenticeship, Employability and IAG Specialist at ASCL, commented: “This collaboratively produced resource not only highlights the key principles and intermediate and long term outcomes of effective CEIAG, it is also an excellent practical tool. It will be of great value to assist leaders in auditing and prioritising further developments in relation to CEIAG in their organisations”.

Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: “We believe that the government’s changes to careers education have left teenagers without the level of support they need, and we urge government to invest in much needed face-to-face advice for all young people. Until then, schools have to do their best to advise young people on the range of educational and career options in front of them, whilst developing essential skills such as decision-making and the ability to persevere. This publication will contribute to this difficult job and help teachers and leaders in schools do the best for every pupil.”

Tami McCrone, a Research Director (Impact) at NFER said: “This careers brief has been informed by research evidence and designed to provide practical help to support senior leaders within schools and colleges to meet their careers guidance duty. We all want the best for our young people and effective careers education and guidance are critical to ensuring that young people are able to make a successful transition through education to work.”

Andy Gannon, Director of Policy, PR and Research at The 157 Group, commented: “Equipping learners with the skill and knowledge to select the pathway through the education system which will bring them the most success is of vital importance. The All Party Group on Social Mobility recently called for a focus on character and resilience in education, and the confidence to pick your way through the many options available is a key element of character. We hope that, in some way, this brief will give schools and colleges a steer in assessing the extent to which they are delivering in this critical area.”

Download Careers engagement: a good practice brief for leaders of schools and colleges or visit The good practice brief can be accessed on the websites of all four organisations.

DfE’s new careers guidance and inspiration for young people in schools.