Second academic issues guidance criticism

Further education sector bodies have called for action after another academic criticised careers advice in England.

In a report written for the Sutton Trust, Professor Tristram Hooley of the University of Derby described statutory guidance issued by the government on careers advice as “weak” and called for the role of the National Careers Service (NCS) to be extended and its website reviewed.

The report, entitled Advancing Ambitions, is the second of its kind this year after Sir John Holman, Emeritus Professor at the University of York, said advice had “failed young people for generations” in his report entitled Good Careers Guidance, written for The Gatsby Foundation in April. It comes after the government passed the legal responsibility for careers advice on to schools in 2011, and earlier this year clarified statutory guidance to require schools to specifically promote vocational routes in their advice.

Professor Hooley said: “These changes have resulted in a major reorganisation of the delivery of career guidance in schools.

“Unfortunately this has not been monitored in any systematic way, and only limited attempts been made to measure the impacts of the changes. We need a much stronger NCS to support schools and colleges in delivering for young people.”

But Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This report provides yet more evidence about the need for young people to have access to face-to-face guidance from a qualified careers professional. There is no need for any further reports about this matter. It is time for action.” Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “There is a limit to the amount of research about the weakness of careers advice which the government can ignore.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We know there is much more to do and we are looking closely at how we can further strengthen the system to ensure that every child has access to the support they need to make the right choices at the right time.”