Careers

Mandatory college visits in pipeline for pupils’ careers education

The measure will feature as government amendments in the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill

The measure will feature as government amendments in the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill

Ministers are set to introduce new laws requiring schools to ensure all pupils have two “mandatory encounters” with colleges or training providers during their careers education.

The measure will feature as government amendments in the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill which is currently making its way through the House of Lords.

The specific requirement will mean schools must set pupils up with further education providers in either year 8 or 9 and then again in year 10 or 11. They must take place before February 28.

The Technical and Further Education Act 2017, known as the Baker Clause, already states schools must ensure “an opportunity for a range of education and training providers to access pupils” to inform them “about approved technical education qualifications or apprenticeships”.

But Lord Baker, a former education secretary and architect of the Baker clause, said: “The government has messed up the Baker clause. It’s not being forcibly administered”.

Speaking to sister paper FE Week, Baker also branded the government’s new amendment as “inadequate”.

Baker clause architect plans new amendment

Baker intends to file a new amendment that will “oblige” schools to organise three encounters technical education and training providers across 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.”

The government said its changes would “give equality to technical education in career advice in schools”.

It would mean “all pupils understand the wide range of career routes and training available to them, such as apprenticeships, T Levels or traineeships”.

A further amendment will allow religious sixth form colleges to finally academise.

Nearly all sixth form colleges have been able to convert to academy status, and in doing so enjoy the luxury of not paying VAT, since former chancellor George Osborne changed the rules in November 2015.

But a group of 14 sixth form colleges which are Catholic-run have been prevented from doing so due to their religious character, which would not be maintained under current government rules.

The DfE said this week the new measures will now allow “sixth form colleges with a religious faith designation to become a 16 to 19 academy, boosting diversity in 16 to 19 academies and allowing more faith school providers to open 16 to 19 academies with a religious character”.

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