Baker to take on government over ‘inadequate’ careers guidance laws

The former education secretary is seeking to amend the Skills Bill to 'oblige' schools to stick to the Baker clause

The former education secretary is seeking to amend the Skills Bill to 'oblige' schools to stick to the Baker clause

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Just days after ministers announced they are to “strengthen” Lord Baker’s landmark clause on careers education in schools, the man himself is set to hit back with his own stronger law.

The Department for Education announced on Tuesday that it would use the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, currently working its way through the House of Lords, to “give equality to technical education in career advice in schools, so all pupils understand the wide range of career routes and training available to them, such as apprenticeships, T Levels or traineeships”.

The skills white paper promised a three-point plan to enforce the Baker clause back in January 2021. Point one of the plan was to introduce specific minimum requirements, which it believes it achieved through the announcement made this week.

The government has messed up the Baker clause. It’s not being forcibly administered

Lord Baker

The government’s amendments state that pupils should expect two mandatory visits from providers of technical education and apprenticeships over the course of their secondary education. However, the government has reserved the right to specify further details in secondary legislation.

This, according to Lord Baker, makes the government’s attempt “inadequate”.

Speaking to FE Week, Lord Baker said determining the detail around career advice rules through secondary legislation would weaken its intent because the detail “can’t be debated or amended”.

“The government has messed up the Baker clause,” he adds. “It’s not being forcibly administered.”

Peers can expect to see a new Baker clause next week when they come to debate the Skills Bill. Baker’s new amendment will “oblige” schools to organise three mandatory encounters with technical education and training providers over the course of their secondary education.

“It will be the duty of schools to do it,” he adds, “and that means that if they do not do that activity, they could be legally obliged to do so”.

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