Schools failing to meet Lord Baker’s career guidance rules

Schools are failing to comply with new careers guidance rules, a Schools Week investigation has found.

None of the 10 biggest multi-academy trusts in England have conformed to a new requirement that all schools must publish detailed careers information online.

And in a survey of FE providers commissioned by the Department for Education, only five per cent of respondents said all schools were compliant in their area in allowing providers to enter schools to speak to learners.

It has to be asked whether the schools failing on careers guidance are really serving the interests of their students

From September 1 schools now have to publish details about the careers programme they deliver to pupils from Year 8 until Year 13, contact details for their careers leader, how the success of careers programmes is measured, and when the published information will be reviewed.

The DfE said it plans to begin auditing schools and will directly intervene where necessary to ensure that all schools are complying with the Baker clause, a law requiring them to allow technical education providers in to speak to their students.

Skills minister Anne Milton has encouraged providers to report non-compliant schools to her directly.

However, none of the 10 biggest trusts in England have 100 per cent compliance from all their secondary schools. Schools Week’s investigation unearthed empty careers webpages, expectations that the “vast majority” of pupils will simply attend university and some websites which do not mention careers at all.

A spokesperson for the DfE said if a school does not provide this information, the department “will write to the school and ask for evidence of compliance” and would “take appropriate action” if it was not followed.

Oasis Academy Don Valley, run by Oasis Community Learning, has a blank careers page, while Oasis Academy Enfield and Oasis Academy Hadley have only published careers information in a section for post-16 learners, which states: “We expect that the vast majority of our Year 13 students will go on to university when they leave.”

An Oasis spokesperson said its academies will publish new information “in the coming weeks”.

Fewer than half the 31 secondary schools run by Ormiston Academies Trust have followed the requirements for publishing careers guidance, while just two of the 11 secondaries run by the David Ross Education Trust have complied.

A spokesperson for Ormiston said the trust would ensure it was completely compliant by the end of September, adding that its careers guidance “has not been driven by a need to meet website regulation, which is not an indication of quality, but by a firm belief that best-practice careers guidance transforms life chances”.

Kemnal and Greenwood academies trusts said their schools were working towards being fully compliant, and Delta Academies Trust said new websites for all its academies will go live this month.

A spokesperson for Academies Enterprise Trust said the trust expected all its academies to be compliant and was supporting them to make sure they were.

Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said it had to be asked “whether the schools failing on careers guidance are really serving the interests of their students.”