Sue Whittaker is a Careers Education Consultant and an assessor for INVESTOR IN CAREERS. Here she explains how the Big Futures Show links to Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted recommendations and requirements
The Big Futures Show can help schools to address a number of recent recommendations made by the Department for Education (DfE), Ofsted and the Career Development Institute (CDI), as well as helping them to achieve aspects of the statutory guidance for careers work.
Careers guidance and inspiration in schools (DfE revised March 2015)
This is statutory guidance, so schools ‘must have regard to it when carrying out duties relating to careers guidance’. There are many references in the document to the importance of learning about the full range of opportunities open to students after school and also to ‘building strong connections with employers’. E.g.
27. ‘More contact with real employers, enthusiastic and passionate about their own careers, not only inspires pupils but also challenges pre-conceived ideas about jobs. Having the opportunity to talk to people in these jobs and visit workplaces helps to build knowledge and understanding of the full range of careers available in a particular sector. This can help to broaden horizons, challenging stereotypical thinking about the kind of careers to which individuals might aspire.’
Framework for careers, employability and enterprise education (CDI November 2015)
This document builds on the previous national framework for careers and work-related education (ACEG 2012) and schools are asked to work towards the 17 learning outcomes for each Key Stage, within their careers education programmes. Learning outcome 14 (Key Stage 4) specifically links to BFS and states that ‘students should be able to research their education, training, apprenticeship, employment and volunteering options including information about the best progression pathways through to specific goals.’ A suggested activity to achieve this is given as: Students ‘draw up a list of questions to ask stallholders that they want to meet at a forthcoming careers fair/skills show’.
Ofsted Common Inspection Framework (September 2015)
Ofsted has been giving careers guidance a higher priority in school inspections since September 2013, taking into account how well the school delivers advice and guidance in judging its leadership and management. The most recent Inspection Framework seeks to ensure that:
28. ‘… all children and learners get a good start and are well prepared for the next stage in their education, training or employment’
‘Going in the Right Direction’ – Ofsted Thematic Review (2013)
Since September 2012, schools have been legally responsible for securing access to independent and impartial careers guidance for all their students in Years 9 to 11. For this survey, inspectors visited 60 secondary schools and academies to evaluate how well this new duty was being carried out. Links with employers were found to be particularly weak and most schools were poor at promoting apprenticeships and labour market information. BFS provides a good opportunity for students to have direct contact with employers and to find out about the labour market.
Good Career Guidance (The Gatsby Charitable Foundation 2014)
In 2014 the Gatsby Charitable Foundation published a report on Good Career Guidance, based on international research. The report identifies eight benchmarks of good practice for careers education, information, advice and guidance in secondary schools. The benchmarks that are specifically supported by BFS are:
2. ‘Learning about career and labour market information – every pupil and their parents, should have access to good quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities’.
4. ‘Linking curriculum to careers – all teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of future career paths’. Teachers who attend the Big Futures Show will be provided with an opportunity for their own professional development and will be able to see how their curriculum subject has a practical application in the workplace. They will also be able to learn about career paths in their subject, which will help to motivate their students.
5. ‘Encounters with employers and employees – every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace.