Is Poor Career Guidance Affecting Your Ofsted Rating?

Teacher with students in the classroom Launch Your Career

Did your recent school inspection report prove less than outstanding? Poor career advice and guidance just may be the reason.

In a recent meeting with the Commons Education Select Committee, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, commented that schools that didn’t comply with important career guidance standards, specifically the Baker Clause, would unlikely receive an outstanding inspection rating.

In 2018, the Baker Clause was introduced as a means of promoting non-academic routes to the world of work for young people. The clause requires, by law, schools to allow training providers access to their learners to inform them of technical qualifications and apprenticeship schemes.

Despite this, a study found that two thirds of schools disregard the regulation. In addition, Schools Week discovered the largest multi-academy-trusts (MAT) in England aren’t abiding by the rules. The most common issue for 7 in 10 training providers is access to schools has proven difficult.

Sad news is that until recently, enforcement of the Baker clause has been rather relaxed. It’s taken two years, and a pandemic, for the government to publish its Skills for Jobs white paper, which clearly outlines new minimum requirements and tougher formal action against non-compliance.

Ofsted: Careers Education is ‘Incredibly Important’

The clause updates will see Ofsted more focused on career advice during its routine inspections. Continuing with the Select Committee, Spielman said careers education is ‘incredibly important, and that apprenticeships and technical education aren’t of ‘lesser priority’ to academic study.

The updated clause, revised by Lord Baker himself, could see schools neglecting their duties in hot water. Failure to comply will not only result in schools losing their chance for an outstanding inspection rating, but also risk training providers and parents alike taking the school to court.

Moreover, education secretary Gavin Williamson has stated schools should be delivering on the Baker Clause. He added ‘it’s not an optional extra’ and proposals to strengthen the legislation could see ‘government-funded careers support for schools conditional’ to their ‘compliance’.

High-quality CEIAG (Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance) can change a learners’ life. Good career guidance can increase social mobility.  It also helps promote diversity for future workplaces by creating opportunities for learners of all communities, regions and backgrounds.

Knowing this, exposure to non-academic routes still diminished. In fact, in the first two quarters of 2020/21 academic year there was 161,900 apprenticeship starts - an 18% decline on 2019/20. The real scare is the drop for those aged 17. In 2019/20, there was 26% less starts than the previous year.

The State of Career Guidance in Lockdown

Granted, the pandemic has affected how learners gain exposure to the world of work or access to training providers. Our Careers After Covid report found half (48%) of teachers agreeing that their school’s ability to deliver got worse in lockdown. 22% of learners say they received no advice.

The lack of guidance has led 78% of students to feel anxious about making career choices. Due to uncertainty, 54% are even exploring new paths. As a result of the pandemic, 48% of learners are pursuing non-academic routes. Nearly a third (31%) say an apprenticeship is a good fit for them.

In light of this news, adhering to the Baker clause is a must for schools. After all, academic routes to work aren’t always what’s best for learners. To support this, as many as 42% of young people shun the idea of moving up the educational ladder. A quarter said university wasn’t for them.

Furthermore, young people are focused on becoming skills orientated. Our research found 46% more curious about skills for specific careers, and 41% wanted to know skills employers look for. By listening to learners and granting access to training providers to inform their decisions, schools will meet the clause, bridge gaps to the workforce, and aid recovery for all in this harsh climate.

Meeting the demands of the Baker Clause

In a recent report, UCAS found one third of students aren’t told about apprenticeships. As the revised clause comes to power, schools must consider their approach. It’s not just a case of meeting criteria but actually giving learners access to quality training providers, advice, and apprenticeships.

After all, career exploration can be a daunting prospect if you’re not prepared. Without the right advice, making choices can be terrifying for young people. In addition, lack of advice means schools may see learners slip through the career cracks. No doubt, this will hurt their inspection rating.

At Launch Your Career, we do a good job of helping schools to connect learners to these training providers and apprenticeships. Our platform can be merged with a schools current careers guidance programme to grant its learners instant access to these opportunities, as well as academic routes.

Moreover, in response to the pandemic and the rising career crisis in schools, we are calling for change and stepping up to ignite it. To help schools navigate the landscape, get on track, and meet the Baker clause, we are opening our platform to ALL schools and their Key Stage 4 students.

D2N2 & Beyond: Becoming a digital Baker clause

We will be rolling out career activation in schools nationwide in the next 12 months. Starting in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, working with D2N2 LEP & Growth Hub, we will unite local businesses, cornerstone employers, schools, colleges, and universities to form an ecosystem.

The ecosystem will be a network of opportunity for young people. A place they can access advice, skills-building, and real work experiences. For instance, employers on the platform can inform learners during those early discovery stages about their apprenticeships and trainee schemes. 

These encounters include interactive content to engage learners in relatable ways, such as 360° workplace tours, access to events, workshops, and video insights for roles across the business. In addition, our training provider database can be tailored to a learner’s unique career needs.

As pressure is placed on Ofsted to enforce the rules, schools need to act quickly to avoid being penalised. In line with the Baker clause, our platform provides a digital friendly entry for schools to present the right training opportunities so learners can make better choices for the future.

Gain open access to Launch Your Career

Since starting our activation in the UK, we’ve had 40+ schools sign up for complimentary access to Launch Your Career. These schools are not only meeting the Baker clause but also their GATSBY benchmarks and grabbing vital data to optimise their career guidance programme for learners.

Interested? Sign up your school here: Activate my school

For any information about how we can help your school to meet the Baker clause and Ofsted inspections, you can contact one of our open career-led learning experts here: Ask us anything




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