Q3. How does your school address the career guidance needs of each pupil?

Why is this important?

Career development is an individualised process and requires an individualised approach. Pupils have different career guidance needs at different stages. Opportunities for advice and support therefore need to be tailored to the needs of each pupil.

Schools have a role to play in addressing the issues of unconscious bias which pupils might be subject to. Unconscious bias refers to the way that we instinctively categorise other people and ourselves into groups, or for example associate certain traits or jobs with different genders. This can have a significant impact on the way we behave towards different groups or perceive ourselves, and it can affect the types of messages that we convey around such issues as the roles people take in life and work. Careers work should challenge unconscious bias amongst staff and students through programmes of continuing professional development.

Good career guidance has the potential to tackle issues around aspiration and stereotyped choices and to improve social mobility, particularly when introduced early. It should encourage uniquely personal aspirations. A school’s career programme should embed equality and diversity considerations throughout. It should also take in to consideration the range of support processes which already exist for young people with different abilities such as the Education Health and Care planning processes for those with special educational needs and disabilities.

What strategic questions should you ask the senior leadership team about how to identify and meet individual pupils’ career guidance needs?

  • How are individual pupils’ career guidance needs determined, met, monitored and evaluated?
  • How does the school currently challenge stereotypical thinking and the effects of unconscious bias on careers and career paths?
  • How are Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans integrated into the programme of career guidance and support for those children who have them?
  • How does the school ensure that careers advice meets the needs of the pupil (and is not affected by what might benefit the school)?

Case study of good practice

Churchill Community College makes full use of the local authority Connexions service, which provides targeted support to those pupils identified as vulnerable. The school also uses the traded service which provides universal career guidance. The school works with two advisers to identify pupils with additional needs, or who are at risk of becoming NEET, and ensures that all such pupils are given appropriate support. The school has recently purchased the Grofar1 careers management system and this enables key members of staff to monitor the support that all pupils are receiving and to target interventions where needed, thereby enabling the school to better ensure that the careers programme provides relevant careers support to each pupil

Essential resources to support your school to achieve this Benchmark

Resources for school leaders and teachers:

Additional resources to support your school to achieve this Benchmark

Resources for school leaders and teachers:
  • Ofsted has produced two reports which help schools think about the need to address stereotypical career aspirations: one evaluates the extent to which careers education raises aspirations and informs the careers choices of young women; the second is a good practice example of how a school encourages girls to pursue non-stereotypical careers.
  • The Institute of Physics have produced guidance and practical examples of ways in which schools can challenge gender stereotyping by engaging students, teachers and parents as they challenge the barriers which girls and boys face when making their subject choices.
1 Grofar is a commercial careers management system

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