A new report which puts an annual cost on a “benchmarked” careers guidance provision in schools has been welcomed by the Association of Colleges (AoC) as showing “how little” the service would hit taxpayers.
In the report, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP presents the findings of a costing exercise, and reveals providing a careers service which reaches eight benchmarks set out by report commissioners the Gatsby Foundation could be as low as £38,472 a-year for some schools.
The findings have been welcomed by the AoC, which has long campaigned for effective careers advice and guidance.
The report said: “We estimate that the total cost of delivery will range from £45,209 to £92,466 in year one and £38,472 to £77,445 from year two onwards in small schools in the rest of England and large, Inner London schools respectively.
“We then use DfE data on school size and location and the total number of pupils to estimate the overall school delivery costs across England as a whole. We estimate the total cost of achieving all the benchmarks across England will be £172m from year two onwards.
“This is equivalent to approximately 1.8 per cent of gross expenditure and £54 per pupil. Considering these costs over the course of a pupil’s journey from year seven to year 13, we estimate the total cost per pupil will be £196.”
Joy Mercer (pictured), director of policy at the AoC, told FE Week: “Good careers advice and guidance is important at all stages in a student’s education and it is crucial for schools and colleges to work together to make sure all students have information about all their options post-16.
“The benchmarks set by the report would certainly make sure this was available.
“For the first time a report on careers education has attempted to cost how much, and in fact how little, schools would need to spend to meet a definition that AoC shares of good careers advice.
“We hope that this calculation and what this investment would realise to the economy, the individuals who ‘drop out of the system never to return, will be persuasive to policy makers.
“It seems that the tide of enthusiasm for ‘fixing’ careers advice is coming from all quarters. A fundamental change is needed.”
Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief executive Stewart Segal said: “We agree that schools must have the responsibility for delivering effective careers advice but accept that schools have a vested interest. That is why it is important that guidance for schools establishes a minimum requirement to providing employers and other training organisations access to their students and parents.”
Eight IAG benchmark costs:
Every school and college should have an embedded programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers and employers. Cost: £18,525 (year one), £9,564 (thereafter)
Every pupil, and their parents, should have access to good-quality information about future study options and labour-market opportunities. They will need the support of an informed adviser to make best use of available information. Cost: £2,864
Pupils have different career guidance needs at different stages. Opportunities for advice and support need to be tailored to the needs of each pupil. A school’s careers programme should embed equality and diversity considerations throughout. Cost: £3,652
All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide
range of future career paths.
Every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work and employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of activities such as visiting speakers, mentoring, enterprise schemes and a range of other enrichment activities. Cost: £1,363
Every pupil should have first-hand experiences of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities, and expand their networks. Cost: £8,074
All pupils should understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them. This includes both academic and vocational routes and learning in schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace. Cost: £1,633
Every pupil should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a careers adviser, who could be internal (a member of school staff) or external, provided they are trained to an appropriate level. These should be available whenever significant study or career choices are being made and should be expected for all pupils, but should be timed to meet their individual needs. Cost: £2,091
Projections by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP based on employment costs and expenses associated with implementation in a typical school (i.e. a medium sized school outside London and the Fringe Area). Source: The Gatsby Foundation