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Education Committee 

Oral evidence: Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG), HC 54

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Ordered by the House of Commons to be published on 6 September 2022.

Watch the meeting

Members present: Robert Halfon (Chair); Anna Firth; Dr Caroline Johnson; Kim Johnson; Ian Mearns; Angela Richardson.

Questions 1 - 65


I: Dr Rebecca Montacute, Senior Research and Policy Manager, The Sutton Trust; Alice Barnard, CEO, Edge Foundation; Chris Percy, independent quantitative researcher and consultant; and Professor Tristram Hooley, University of Derby.

Written evidence from witnesses:

– [Add names of witnesses and hyperlink to submissions]

Examination of witnesses

Witnesses: Dr Rebecca Montacute, Alice Barnard, Chris Percy and Professor Tristram Hooley.

Q1                Chair: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the first Select Committee since the recess. Thank you very much for coming today. This session is the first session on our careers education inquiry. For the benefit of the tape and those watching on parliamentary TV, could you kindly introduce yourselves and your title?

Dr Montacute: I am a senior research and policy manager at The Sutton Trust.

Chris Percy: I am an independent researcher and one of the UK’s appointed members of an EU careers network. I have been advised by the Committee to briefly declare two sets of interests. Is now the right time to do that?

Chair: Sure.

Chris Percy: Thank you. The first set is family links, as my wife is a Labour MP. The second set is professional links. I am here in a personal capacity. I am an independent researcher, but I work with a lot of the sector organisations—just to name a couple in the last year or so, all four of the UK nations’ main career delivery bodies, including the CEC, as well as the Gatsby Foundation, STEM Ambassadors, and a few others. I am happy to elaborate if ever necessary.

Alice Barnard: I am the chief executive of the Edge Foundation.

Professor Hooley: I am professor of career education at the University of Derby.

Q2                Chair: Thank you. Could I start with the current landscape of careers education, information, advice and guidance? Do you think that the Gatsby benchmarks make a difference or is it just motherhood and apple pie, a bit like the 10 commandments—nice to see but does not make any difference?

Professor Hooley: I am very much a supporter of the Gatsby benchmarks. I was involved in the initial research that proposed them. With the Gatsby benchmarks, we set out a clear framework that schools could work with, which highlighted not just the importance of personal guidance but also the wide range of other things that make up a good careers programme: employer engagement, working with apprenticeship providers, universities and so on. The fact that we can then monitor against it gives us an idea of how schools are doing and tells us at the moment that they are not doing well enough.

We also have some evidencesome from research I have done, some from stuff that Chris and others have donewhich tells us that it does make a difference. Young people who have been through the Gatsby-type careers programme feel more confident about their careers. They have better skills. They are more likely to progress successfully into the labour market, less likely to be NEET, and so on.

Q3                Chair: Do the data show this?

Professor Hooley: Yes. We have studies that demonstrate that.

Q4                Chair: In a nutshell, tell me the data that show how the Gatsby benchmarks have actually made a difference to young people doing careers in this country. Give me a great figure on data that shows what you are saying.

Professor Hooley: The first thing is we know that what schools are doing has improved. We know that what schools are delivering has changed through the course of the Gatsby benchmarks and that they are delivering more of them.

Chair: Okay, so give me the data.

Professor Hooley: In terms of what is

Chair: The statistical evidence that shows that it improves career outcomes.

Professor Hooley: Okay. In the study that I have done, we have a measure of career readiness. We asked students, "How ready do you feel for your career?" We can see that students that have been through a programme with career readiness have improved. They are more likely to answer yes, they feel ready for their career in a range of ways.

Q5                Chair: I am asking for statistical outcomes and whether or not the Gatsby benchmarks—no one would disagree with them but they come over a bit like "motherhood and apple pie"—make a difference statistically. What do the statistics show?

Professor Hooley: Chris, you have some figures on this, haven’t you?

Chris Percy: Yes, I am happy to come in. They have never been fully evaluated in a randomised trial setting. That is a choice.

Q6                Chair: A choice by whom?

Chris Percy: I suppose it is a choice by the Government in terms of how to roll out the Gatsby benchmarks. It is an understandable one. Very little in education is evaluated that way, particularly over multiple years.

What we do know is that if you compare schools that have more Gatsby benchmarks compared to those that have fewer, you control for things like what the local unemployment rate is. You control for things like what the academic standard of the pupils is there. Each extra benchmark translates into lower NEET outcomes post 16. To give you an approximate number, and this is off my head, you go up by typically one benchmark or so600 or so students would be less NEET. You would have that many fewer NEETs. That is based on the number of schools that are doing the Gatsby benchmarks today. In other words, if you were to do it across everybody, you would get a larger number.

Q7                Chair: For the benefit of those watching, could one of you explain the Gatsby benchmarks? I think that might be a good idea. Who wants to do that?

Professor Hooley: I am happy to do it. The Gatsby benchmarks are eight things that we think schools should do in order to do career guidance well. It includes things like having a clear programme that is communicated with parents and employers. It includes having access to good labour market information, working with employers, working with further education and higher education providers, and then providing one-to-one career guidance, as well as embedding career learning into the curriculum. It is a very defined list of things that schools should do if that programme is going to look good. It is rooted in international practice and in the evidence base for the field.

Q8                Chair: How much does Ofsted take into account whether schools are doing the Gatsby benchmarks?

Professor Hooley: Ofsted is becoming more interested in careers than it has been. I think that schools listen to Ofsted a lot, so it would be nice if Ofsted raised it more regularly and was more focused on it. Certainly, it does know what the Gatsby benchmarks are. It does pay attention to it and where it raises it, it does make a difference, I think.

Q9                Chair: I do not know if you want to comment, Rebecca, but it seems to me that no proper evaluation is done. Not all schools are doing it. There is no proper evaluation done on whether these benchmarks are working. It seems to me that with careers advice in general there are a lot of inputs, a lot of things going into the system, but very little in terms of evaluating outputs and assessing whether these things are making a difference. Would you like to comment on that, Rebecca?

Dr Montacute: Yes. One of the concerns from that point of view is how that then varies in terms of who is achieving them, and what additional resource perhaps people need to be able to enact them, by the deprivation level of the school. If you don’t measure it, you do not necessarily know whether different schools end up getting quite different outcomes in terms of being able to implement those benchmarks and what the challenges are around it. Being able to look at that more clearly would certainly be helpful.

Q10            Chair: In terms of the postcode lottery, we know that in disadvantaged schools there is much less being done in terms of Gatsby benchmarks. Why is that the case? What would you recommend is changed to ensure that we are addressing the consistency in provision in schools?

Dr Montacute: One of the big challenges that people in schools themselves have told us is funding. Just under a third of teachers in state schools say they do not have enough funding to deliver good quality careers guidance and education. That is in state schools. Only 6% say the same in private schools. That is from polling that we have done of teachers. There is certainly a challenge in terms of the money that schools have available to deliver this education.

Q11            Chair: If I move on to the Baker clause, you obviously know that Lord Baker brought an amendment through the Lords and I pushed his amendment through the Commons to increase the number of encounters that students would have in schools with apprentices, apprenticeship organisations and further education colleges. Is your view that that will make a big difference? What more can be done to improve the provision of technical careers guidance and information in schools? What is your overall picture? To me, it is a very barren landscape and it is still not being done because all teachers are graduates and you do not have a teacher apprenticeship scheme, sadly. As a result, everything is focused on university, university, university. Perhaps you would like to comment, Alice.

Alice Barnard: The Baker clause in itself is definitely something that we would encourage schools to endorse. However, it looks like only two out of five schools are actually complying. At the moment, it is something that, although compulsory and statutory, is not actually happening.

That is not happening for two reasons, I think. First, the financial incentive for schools to keep students within their schools is high because it affects their PAN and the way in which they are funded. It means that they are encouraged to keep their children in the sixth form because of the way they are funded and the way they are encouraged to do that. It does not encourage them to work collegiately with further education colleges and other providers to find the best place for their young people to be.

Secondly, it is because there is no penalty. Up until now, I think that only one school has been brought up by Ofsted for not complying. If you do not have to worry about whether it is being policed and if your financial imperative is to keep the students, then why on earth would you look to apply the Baker clause?

Chair: Does anyone else want to comment on that at all?

Chris Percy: I will add a brief point. In September 2021, Ofsted became obliged to at least comment on the Baker clause in its inspections, which is a step in the right direction but it will take years for that to feed through because of the inspection cycle and, of course, many schools being exempt from it. Without something like a deliberate checka mystery shopper-type approach, if it could be done in a sensitive wayit will be very hard, or it could be about giving providers some recourse, such as a provider knowing, “If a school does not let me in, here is someone I can email or here is a form I can fill in”. I do not believe that exists today, but somewhere to record that information that goes somewhere meaningful would be a small step to take.

Q12            Chair: Can I ask you another question, Chris? In your written evidence to the Committee, you say that careers activities can have higher impacts on economically disadvantaged students. That is clearly obvious, but what impact does quality careers advice, information and guidance have on the life chances of children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds? What would you do to change things to make sure that they had access to that careers advice?

Chris Percy: Are you interested in the evidence on impact or the policy levers?

Chair: Both. The evidence on impact but also what you would do. It is still sparse in the postcode lottery, as we have agreed in the early part of the questioning. What would you do to change it?

Chris Percy: Briefly on the evidence on impact, the best thing here is probably a 2021 collection by the OECD of longitudinal studies across eight countries. It looked across a whole set of career guidance-related things in a broad sense: careers talks, personal guidance, all sorts of things. Not in every country, not in every case, but very rarely is it negative and most of the time it is positive. A typical number from my world is 10 careers talks translated into an 8% wage gain for those in early adulthood, in their mid-20s. Whether the number is exactly eight, obviously it varies from time to time, but it is clearly positive.

The case for it being stronger for disadvantaged pupils is weaker statistically because we have a smaller sample size to work with, but it is there. The reason to believe it is that volume seems to matter so much. If you are more disadvantaged you tend to get a lower volume to start with, so getting you a few extra bits really gets you going. There are other barriers in life. If you are reliant more on the school to provide those encounters and activities because you get less at home and through your family networks, what the school does shows up in the statistics as a bigger effect size.

Q13            Chair: Finally, before I pass to my colleagues, I want to ask for your views on the Careers & Enterprise Company and the National Careers Service. I am still not convinced that particularly the Careers & Enterprise Company makes a big difference. It gets a lot of money and there was a lot of duplication of resources. I still do not see any evidence of improved outcomes from the work that it does. It does get a huge amount of money from the Department for Education. What is your view about the Careers & Enterprise Company as a starter and then the NCS?

Dr Montacute: With both the Careers & Enterprise Company and the National Careers Service, the central problem is that they are not part of an overarching strategy as to what we are trying to do with careers. To the extent there are bits of duplication or not quite getting to the right places, it is because we do not have an overall plan. The Government’s 2017 strategy has been allowed to lapse and not be replaced. It is about having a clear, overarching national strategy, probably sitting within the Department for Education but with feed-in from other core Government Departments with a clear interest here, and then making sure we are thinking from that point of view about how we are delivering that and the best way to deliver that, and how we can use the existing infrastructure and the best way to do that. That is the core challenge, rather than focusing too much on whether the CEC is doing exactly the best it could do in the situation. The overall situation is not that good and there is not that overarching plan.

Q14            Chair: If the CEC was closed down tomorrow, would it make any difference? Would anyone even notice?

Dr Montacute: I think so. For instance, we know from the polling that we did that almost all state schools now have a careers leader, so 95% of senior leaders said that their school has one; 73% of state school head teachers say that their school works with the Careers & Enterprise Company. It certainly is getting to schools, but those careers leaders quite often do not have the time to be able to do their role properly.

Chair: I have asked schools in my area. Many people have never even heard of them.

Dr Montacute: Yes, I think part of the question is who needs to hear about them. The careers leader then has a role within their school to be able to deliver—

Chair: Whenever I go around, most people have had no interaction with them or have barely heard of them. They are concentrated in certain places. Are there any other views about it?

Alice Barnard: My feeling is that since Oli de Botton took over there has been a marked improvement in the way in which the organisation is run and the strategy behind it. I think that there is a lot more that could be done. The trouble is that in school quite often your careers lead is not just focused on careers; they are also teaching geography or PE or whatever else. It is the funding within the school that does not allow the freedom of that individual to be able to focus effectively on careers advice and guidance.

I think that the volunteer network that CEC is running is starting to look really good. There are some excellent volunteers in there. It could improve its employer engagement and that is necessary and should be done as quickly as possible, but it is important that we do not throw the baby out with the bath water. We do have something in place now. Careers advice and guidance is still weak, and there is still lots that needs to be done, but it feels like we do have at least a framework we can work within.

I have less to comment on the National Careers Service because it is not an organisation I work as closely with.

Professor Hooley: I volunteer with Careers & Enterprise Company as an enterprise adviser, and I work with the local school. I find it to be a useful part.

There are two things we need. One is some kind of national co-ordination of all this stuff. Careers & Enterprise Company provides that to some extent within the school area. The other thing is that we need local communities of practice, which is where I think the careers hubs that have been set up by the Careers & Enterprise Company are very useful. We need schools to be able to come together and share ideas and so on.

What is definitely true is that at the moment none of the money that is being spent is being spent on delivery, which is a big problem. Schools do not get any money to deliver this stuff. The problem is that Careers & Enterprise Company’s budget is so puny in comparison to what we used to spend on this area that I do not think the best place to borrow it from is from its activities. If we want, for example, to provide better brokerage for work experience across the country, which I think we need to do, or to provide personal guidance for all pupils across the country, that needs to be additional money. The kind of scale that Careers & Enterprise Company gets is not sufficient for that.

Chair: I think that they get plenty of money and we still do not know, again, the outcomes of whether it is making a difference to employment.

Chris Percy: I would like to comment briefly on the resource point, not just CEC. It is hard to piece together all the different bits of money that central Government are putting into this, even if you ignore local government and what resource goes in from schools and employers. As best I can tell, you add up CEC and the youth part of the National Careers Service. There is ASK. There is the apprenticeship thing. There are the Jobcentre Plus schools advisersthe support for schools that DWP is doing. That is not the—

Chair: You have the private agencies that do a lot of work with young people.

Chris Percy: Yes, you have that, and some of that is grant funded by Government.

Q15            Chair: Like Reed employment, for example, which I have seen in my own constituency of Harlow. Then you have the BEIS Department that funds schemes to go into schools. You also have the local authorities separately funding organisations to go into schools. Then you have schools paying completely different organisations that they may like locally or whatever it may be. You have an army, a “Ben-Hur” moviea cast of thousands of all these different organisationsyet we still do not know the difference they are having on the outcome. There is a huge amount of money being spent, being replicated and duplicated, yet our skills are still bad and there is very little evidence to say whether any of these organisations are actually delivering.

Chris Percy: We do not even have transparency on the inputs. We do for the CEC, but for most of these other bits, adding these things together, from central Government direct—school level is a different case—it is hard. It could easily be as low as £50 million a year, it could be as much as £100 million a year.

These numbers sound big, but you always have to say, “What does that number really mean?” My comparisons would say it is less than 0.5% of what we would spend on secondary school education per pupil generally. If you think that deciding your future career can be done in 0.5%, then it is enough. It is less than 20% of what England has spent at its peak in recent decades. I think that some of that money could have been better spent, but it just gives you an idea of what these numbers mean. It is per capita, secondary education, half of what Wales spends and a fifth of what Scotland spends, as best I can estimate. These are very difficult numbers. If the Committee was able to generate some transparency around this area, that would do the sector a great justice. As best I can tell, having worked with many of these organisations, that is where you land. That does not seem like a large amount, given our aspirations for it.

Q16            Chair: I think that there is a lot of money going in and I think that the Careers & Enterprise Company gets a huge amountmany millions of pounds. There is, as I say, lots of money being spent by lots of different organisations replicating the work, yet there is very little data on whether any of it is making any difference. We are not producing young people who go out with skills. We have 9 million adults who have poor numeracy and literacy skills, so I am not convinced that this is about resources. I am convinced that it is about the lack of overall direction, and I agree with what you have said on the spaghetti of different organisations duplicating and doing the same thing. If we did not have that, perhaps we would put all the money in one organisation. Perhaps you could have the DWP focusing on jobs, which is what its job is to do, and the Department for Education focusing on skills-based careers, which is its job. It is not there as a job agency; it is there to promote skills and education. I think that we would have a much better system.

Professor Hooley: I think that an overarching strategy is needed. We have all said that. I agree that bringing some of these quite diverse contracts into a single organisation would also be a good idea. Whether that is the quickest and most effective thing to do, I think that in the long run if we had a strategy that guided public policy in this area and brought these different pots of funding together, that would be a very helpful thing to do.

Alice Barnard: The trouble is as well that skills are not a priority in school. We are asking schools to deliver something that they are, first, not trained to be able to do. We are doing some work with the CEC at the moment on teacher training in a pilot in Manchester. You are asking schools to do something that they are not that well qualified to do. You are asking them to do it with not an awful lot of money, and they are not always sure which provider they should be working for. On your description of the spaghetti, they are not always sure which one to pick. They do not know which one is the best value for money, and they are doing this within a squeeze on all their pressures.

Going back to the point around disadvantage, if you are in a school in an area of social and economic deprivation, then you are focusing on your school refusers, attendance, SEND and all the other priorities that you are trying to deliver. Careers advice and guidance become the poor relationthe thing that gets dropped because all the other priorities start to stack up. It is important that we look at that as a whole and focus on how we can support schools to make good decisions and decide where best to place their money, particularly when money is incredibly tight.

Q17            Dr Caroline Johnson: I want to pick up on essentially the point you have just made, which is about how best to direct money. Often we talk about inputs“Put more money in, put more money in, put more money in”on the assumption that that will solve everyone’s problems, but if you are going to spend more money on something, you want to spend money on something that you know actually works.

I have two questions. Chris Percy, you said that we spent a lot more money in Wales. I do not know how accurate that is, but in terms of the comments that the Chair has made, does Wales have massively better outcomes? Are its outcomes 50% better as a result of spending 50% more money?

The other question is that we have eight markers on the Gatsby benchmarks and some are more adhered to than others. Some are probably easier to achieve than others. Is there any evidence that one or more of those benchmarks are most useful to students and, therefore, where we should direct our money in making sure that all schools achieve that one first, perhaps?

Chris Percy: Thank you, they are both very good questions. I do not think there is a single-word answer to either.

Are the outcomes 50% better in Wales versus England? No, I think that it would be very hard to find a metric by which that were true. We are talking about less than 0.5% of what is spent per pupil anyway, so it is never going to drive such a large outcome. Careers guidance in its various forms does improve outcomes. We have good evidence on that. We do have RCT evidencerandomised control trialsfrom other countries. The effect sizes are small because the activity is small. There has not been, that I am aware of, a thorough England versus Wales detailed study. I am talking with Careers Wales about one at the moment, which might give us some historical insights. That is all I can do, I fear, on that one.

Your second question was, “Is one of the benchmarks more compelling?” I will speak from the research evidence. I don’t think so. There is a good case that is made in the original Gatsby report that it is putting all these things together; they scaffold each other. You never know which one is going to be a silver bullet for which person, but if you put enough of them together, you do enough of this, you throw enough of it at the wall, some of it will stick. This is backed up by some of the OECD research as well, which suggests that if you do the speaking to a careers adviser, an experience of a workplace and a careers fairif you do three of those thingsyou then get more benefit than doing any one of them individually. I think that the answer is a diversity of activities and a reasonably high volume of them. I do not think that there is a silver bullet from out of the Gatsby benchmarks.

Dr Montacute: On the impact and how you would expect it to scale, I imagine that it would be quite difficult to predict that. If you look at something like the fact we have this network now of careers leaders in schools but one of the challenges is around the time they have to fulfil that role, if you have already done the starter work to be able to have them in place, they have the interactions with the CEC, they know the start of what they are doing, and then you deliver them time, recognition and resources so they can fulfil their role properly, you could potentially get quite a big impact out of those people you already have in place, who might not be able to do very much at the moment. It is not essentially linear, perhaps. It will depend on exactly where the money is going and what is happening with that for how you end up seeing that impact.

Q18            Dr Caroline Johnson: One of the Gatsby benchmarks is about work experience, spending time with an employer. I have work experience students regularly come and join me. In fact, one is joining me this morning, or may or may not have joined the Committee already because I have not met her yet. One of the things I have found is the administrative tasks related to taking a work experience student have become harder and harder. As a person of 14 who wanted to be a doctor, I went into a maternity ward. I fed babies on the neonatal unit. I watched twins being delivered. The opportunities for work experience have become narrower and narrower and narrower.

When I took some work experience students towards the end of last term, the school wanted to send around a risk assessment adviser to do an individual risk assessment for presumably every student who was doing it. That is a huge amount of work. I had to say, unfortunately, "No, you can't risk-assess Parliament because you are not security cleared to find out the risk and you are not security cleared to find out the mitigating things that we have done with it. They either have to come or they don’t, but I cannot deliver what you want”. How much evidence do you have on those barriers and blocks that we are putting between students and their work experience, and what effect that is having on students’ ability to take up meaningful work experience placements?

Chris Percy: We know from the schools filling out the Gatsby benchmark survey, effectively the Compass tool, that experience of a workplace is one of the ones they do least well on. One of the ones that is equally bad—very relevant to the Baker clause discussion—is HE and FE providers getting in, and I am sure that it is not HE that is struggling to get in. Simply asking schools, “Which bits of this are you doing?”, they seem to be doing it a bit less.

In the past, research published by IEBE pointed to a fairly chilling effect of these requirements. There are also a lot of myths around it. As best as I understand it, you do not need to do a risk assessment.

Dr Caroline Johnson: No, you don’t.

Chris Percy: But there is a deep-felt conservatism that you must do it from a sense of prudence. There are myths where people put additional barriers in place, and I think that they do have a fairly chilling effect.

Q19            Dr Caroline Johnson: Yes, my understanding of the law is that the risk assessment responsibility lies with the employer, not the school. I have had one school say that it will not send their children unless everyone in the employer statement who will be in contact with the child has a DBS check. Again, that is not deliverable.

Alice Barnard: Schools are super-sensitive around safeguarding because that is a major area that Ofsted does monitor. It is something where they feel very insecure and they worry about, if there was an incident, how they would be able to prove that they had tried everything to mitigate that and to manage risk. I do think that that makes them over-cautious. You see that with school trips and school outings. There is this real fear of going out and beyond if they feel that they cannot risk assess every element of that. That is probably something that needs to be tackled separately.

The other benchmark that I would like to see much more done around is benchmark 4, which is about the career-connected element of the curriculum, trying to make the curriculum much more relevant to the real world and the world of work. Again, it is a trickier benchmark to achieve, the same as work experience. Going back to the Chair’s point earlier about whether it is apple pie, there is that element that those schools that can achieve some of the tick boxes quite easily are going to opt for those benchmarks that they can tick off and adequately say, “We have done that”, whereas schools that have the time, space and funding are going to be able to delve much deeper into those more complex ones that are more likely to have an impact on that young person’s outcomes. That is what we are really after, isn’t it? We want to make sure that all these interactions are meaningful. I would say quality over quantity every single time.

Q20            Dr Caroline Johnson: You said there that some of the Gatsby benchmarks are more useful. Which ones?

Alice Barnard: For me, work experience and the one that makes the curriculum much more relevant are the two that are the most relevant.

Q21            Dr Caroline Johnson: Is there evidence for that or is that your view?

Alice Barnard: That is my personal view. The reason I say that is that these are much harder to delve into. Going back to Chris's point, they are the ones that you see schools less able to tick off, less able to show that they have been able to complete. You can partially complete a benchmark, but these are benchmarks that are much harder for schools to achieve. They do tend to perhaps avoid them. I don't think that I have any statistical evidence for that, but it looks like there is some avoidance of those to achieve the ones that are easier to be able to say, "Yes, we have ticked those off". I think that is partly because it requires additional resource and time, both from the teachers and the senior leadership team, to commit to those areas. If we want young people to have a meaningful experience, then those are the ones that probably ought to be concentrated on, in my view.

Professor Hooley: To add something more on work experience, I think that work experience is very important if it is done well. It also, as we all know, can be done badly and so on. There is a very big question about whether schools should have sole and exclusive responsibility for the delivery of work experience.

First, the practicalities of every school chasing every business in its area can be a nightmare for both the schools and local businesses. There is a strong case to be made for some kind of brokerage between those two.

The second thing is that it can be very worrying if schools ask students to just source their own work experience. Then it misses one of its main purposes, which is to give students experiences of things that they otherwise would not experience.

Ideally, we would have a situation where, yes, students should organise one of their work experience placements, but they also should probably have an opportunity to do something that they are not used to that perhaps comes from a network outside of their own family and that is organised by the school or some kind of broker. We want work experience. There are lots of studies that tell us that it is an important part of people discovering their careers, but we probably could organise it better.

Q22            Ian Mearns: I have been listening very carefully for the last half an hour or so and I am afraid to say what I am listening to does not really paint a happy picture about what is happening with CEIAG in schools. The bottom line is that this has to be about trying to attain positive outcomes for young people. It seems to me that we have a wishy-washy set of arrangements at the moment that do not really do that. We have Gatsby being done by some but not by many others. We have three out of five not complying with the Baker clause. We still have many situations where perverse incentives in the system caused by bums on seats funding regimes mean that youngsters are being directed in the wrong way, and by implication from what Chris was saying, we need a regulator other than Ofsted. We have lead professionals in schools that are busy doing other things and we already have evidence from outside of here that employers, FE colleges, trainers and apprenticeship providers cannot get access to students in schools in many places.

Outcomes for less well-off studentsthe youngsters who probably need careers information, advice and guidance the mostare not good at all. None of us has until this point mentioned the need for impartiality and independence of the careers information, education, advice and guidance that is being delivered in schools. If you do not have impartiality and independence, quite often the advice that is imparted is to the benefit of the institution rather than of the individual student because of the perverse incentive of bums on seats funding regimes. I think that it is interesting that the Baker clause is meant to offset that problem. The bums on seats funding regimes were brought in under the 1988 Act, which was taken through Parliament by Kenneth Baker. Well, that is an irony of history but there we go. Am I wrong in any of that?

Chris Percy: Could I share a point effectively in support? Chair, you mentioned outcomes as well and we have spoken a bit about resources, a bit about inputs and a bit about activities. A minimum ambition for careers education if you are in full-time education should be when you get to the next stage of education or life you do not quickly regret it, because that suggests that your expectations were wrong, which is a careers education thing, or you made the wrong choiceit did not line up with your skills or somethingwhich is a careers education issue.

Conservatively, 25% of young people in this country when they go to the next stage before they have even finished it, regret their past choices. In UCAS data from last year—this was asking university students—a third of them said they would choose different post-16 courses if they had had better advice and if they knew more about what was going on. I am sure that the Committee is well aware of the near 50% non-completion rate of apprenticeships. A good study came out from the DfE a few months ago on this: a knotty problem, there are lots of things in it, but a good 10% are changing jobs, a good 10% are not happy there.

A chunk of this you can ascribe to the careers guidance. That is the minimum ambition for careers guidance. A more generous ambition would be to set people up for lifelong, fulfilling careers that they feel empowered in and feel some control and agency over. If we cannot get that far, you should be able to make a decision at age 16 for what you are going to do at age 17 that you do not regret at age 18. We are not there yet for maybe not the majority but a sizeable minority of students. That is an outcome that we could start to measure.

Professor Hooley: On professional career guidance, it seems clear that there should be an aspiration that everybody at some point in their school career or their education career has a chance to talk to somebody whose interest is impartial, is not bound up with the school and is not following that bums on seats logic. Gatsby says twice; it says once before you are 16 and once between 16 and 18. I think that is good. That is an area that schools find difficult to meet and to meet for all students. It is an area where there are not enough resources and there is no obvious place that you can get access to that, so schools have to either buy in the service or appoint somebody.

We could say more about professionalism. We could guarantee that everybody who was doing that job was qualified, which I think is the bare minimum, but we also need to make it that it is just a straightforward situation that everyone gets that. That is either about ramping up expectations on schools or it is about providing additional funding to bring people in from outside.

Alice Barnard: I was just going to pick up a point you made about apprenticeships and the concern around the lack of completion; 50% is incredibly high. While we can look at careers advice and guidance not supporting young people effectively and understanding the choices they are makingI understand thatI also think that there is an issue there around mentoring support of apprentices, particularly young apprentices between the ages of 16 and 21, to ensure that they have that much-needed peer-to-peer mentoring or a mentor within the business. That often does not happen.

The other worry is the EPA. I think that some of those lack of completions are down to endpoint assessments, which is a concern and something certainly that Edge is interested in looking into.

Q23            Ian Mearns: How much of that dropout rate, though, is due to the nature of the apprenticeship itself? A lot of things have been badged as apprenticeships that we know are not.

Alice Barnard: Yes.

Ian Mearns: That dropout rate, is it heavier in those semi-bogus apprenticeships? There are some employers, I am afraid to say, who badge something as an apprenticeship because it then means that they can pay the apprenticeship rate of the minimum wage.

Alice Barnard: Yes. I do not have the statistics so this is anecdotal, but it does seem that those young people who do not have quality all-round supportthat pastoral caredo sometimes struggle. That is much easier if you are in a much bigger business that has the staff and the capacity to be able to support that, but if you are a fairly small SME and you are struggling as it is to be able to fulfil orders and do all the other demands on your time, then sometimes that lack of additional pastoral care really can affect the outcome.

I think that the relabelling of apprenticeships to be able to claim back your levy is poor practice, and as an organisation we feel that apprenticeships should be very much focused on young people, not the retraining of adults. Retraining is important, but we think that should come out of a completely separate budget.

On the EPA, my slight concern is—and I do not have any statistical analysis on that—that some employers may not want their apprentice to complete their EPA because that might change the salary they are on once they have completed their apprenticeship. We also know that there is a backlog and a lack of assessors to be able to complete the EPA. There are quite a lot of issues around that.

Obviously, the more students know in advance of entering an apprenticeship, the more they learn in school about what they should be demanding as a customer—and that is not just for FE and apprenticeships, that is also for HE. What are they entitled to? What does this mean? What does this pathway mean for me? Where should it take me? What should my expectations be? Some of that should be embedded in the careers advice and guidance they get in school. Again, we are asking schools to do something that at the moment they are not that well qualified to do.

Professor Hooley: We do have a study from Futuretrack that shows that young people who have had more careers advice are less likely to drop out of higher education than those who have had less careers advice. Of course, it is not the main factor. Many people still drop out, but having careers advice does make a statistically significant difference. I think that would apply equally to VET as well as to higher education.

Ian Mearns: Rebecca has been champing at the bit.

Dr Montacute: I just wanted to come back to this question about careers advisers themselves and access to them.

When you look at things like whether or not a young person has had advice just within general lessons from a teacher, the proportion who report that between state and private schools is quite similarabout a thirdbut when you look at who has had sessions with a careers adviser, those from state schools are much less likely to report that: 22% say that they have had that versus 32% in private schools. Even within state schools, 21% of teachers in the most deprived areas in state schools say non-specialists are delivering personal guidance compared to 14% in more affluent areas. You are less likely to have somebody who is trained specifically in doing that. There is a question as to whether you have a person employed by the school or the local authority or some other body to ensure independence, but certainly there is a big difference in the access people are getting to that personalised advice.

I also wanted to come back a tiny bit on the work experience question to say that you definitely need some capacity in the system somewhere to make sure you are getting people who can find experience opportunities for young people because those from disadvantaged backgrounds do not have the networks and communities to be able to find those placements themselves. Again, there is a question of where exactly that best sits, but there certainly is a question in terms of making sure that that capacity is available to help them to find those placements.

Q24            Ian Mearns: Has anybody done any assessment of how much is being spent on careers education, information, advice and guidance in England by comparison to what was done under Connexions and then, prior to that, by the careers companies?

Chris Percy: I spoke briefly about this before and I can certainly expand on it. If we include all the activities, there is the STEM Inspiration work; there are a number of grants that get given out there. It is hard to add them all up but there is probably £10 million or £15 million there. If we talk about the personal guidance bit, which was one of the things you were saying there is sometimes delivered by unqualified people, very little central Government funding goes on thata little bit by DWP. The schools advisers—some might be level 6 trained careers advisers, but typically not—will give some advice. They also do employability skills workshops. They help co-ordinate work experience. It is a demand-led service. They do whatever they are asked to do by schools.

Then the National Careers Service does something for young people but, as best schools tell me, very little. The National Careers Service is primarily for adults. The web tools are there for everybody and there is some value there, but very little actual money you would say is allocated to young people. The Careers & Enterprise Company is not about delivering personal guidance. Some of its funds deliver some of that via other providers.

If you add it all up, you get somewhere between £50 million and £100 million across the spaghetti list of organisations, but that is probably well below 20% of what we spent at our peak in the last couple of decades. It is certainly less than is spent in other UK nations and it is not a lot relative to the education budget as a whole.

Q25            Ian Mearns: After the “Bridging the Gap” report, Connexions was established using the Careers Service budget, which was at that stage about £110 million, and then 10% was added to that. That was roughly about £120 million-odd then, which is probably over 20 years ago now. That is how Connexions was established.

Professor Hooley: Connexions got up to about a £300 million budget, but of that, you would say probably only £200 million or so was careers. You also had services at the same time like Aimhigher that were funded pretty substantially. There has been a lot more money in this area in the past than there is. We are talking about an order of magnitude difference. We are spending very little on this now.

Q26            Ian Mearns: I think that the crucial question, therefore, is: in terms of overall outcomes has any assessment been done recently about what outcomes are like for youngsters compared to what it was like at the height of the Connexions service?

Chris Percy: That is a great question. Because the scale of careers guidance, even if you do loads of it, is small relative to all the other things that influence young people, you cannot really tell unless you design a study carefully to do it. You virtually need to design it from the outset to test these things. It can be done. Other countries have done it and they tend to be quite favourable about career guidance activities. It is not possible to look at, say, youth—let’s take the post-16 unemployment rate. In the time since Connexions was at its absolute peak—and there were lots of problems with it then; I am not here to hold the torch for that—versus today, we have had the raising the participation age Act so, of course, those unemployment rates have dropped. Essentially, young people are obliged to stay in education or training. There is too much other stuff changing, let alone before you talk about recessions and trends in education and higher education going up. I would love there to be more research of that type.

Q27            Ian Mearns: Given all we have identified as gaps in the system and dots not being joined, what should Government do? We have a chance. We have a new Secretary of State who is probably going to start later this week, and there will be a new ministerial team. What would be the Minister's opening gambit for careers education, advice and guidance?

Dr Montacute: Putting in place a new national strategy to replace the one that lapsed because at the moment there is no national strategy on careers. I think that everything else would flow out of that. There are lots of individual things you could then do; for instance, making sure schools have funding for careers leaders to have time to go out and interact with employers and bring them into the schoolall of thatbut the central thing is having a strategy.

Q28            Ian Mearns: The crucial question behind that, though, Rebecca, is that the last strategy lapsed in 2020. Did it make a difference? If that strategy did not make a difference, having a strategy that is not effective is not good enough. What would you put in that strategy? What is the big thing that you would put in that strategy?

Dr Montacute: Yes, absolutely. The main thing that we are asking for in any strategy is having a guarantee as to what the provision is for students. At the moment, there is nothing written down anywhere, “This is what that young person should definitely be getting from careers in their education” as the whole system. Having that careers leader with time in their school, having access to a careers adviser, which is one of the things that we have already talked about, having access to work experience and the funding available somewhere for people to organise that work experience, that should be there for all those young people. The general scaffolding should be there to make that possible.

Alice Barnard: I think that strategy is right, but the strategy has to be a national strategy that has to also feed into a schools strategy. If this is not a priority in school, which it is notit tends to be an afterthoughtthen those two things do not link up. There is no point in having a strategy if there is no funding behind it. You can have the greatest strategy but if you have no idea how you are going to fund that or which person is going to deliver it, it is completely pointless. The other thing is that if it is not measured, schools do not do it.

Q29            Kim Johnson: Good morning, panel. My question is to Chris Percy. The Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022 requires schools to provide at least encounters with FE and independent training providers over three key phases. You mentioned earlier that Ofsted has been assessing this since 2021. However, schools that are not compliant can lose funding, but that does not come into effect until 2023. My question to you is: what impact will this have? Given your experience, is this enough?

Chris Percy: I think that the lack of infrastructural support, the lack of funding meaning schools struggling to do this, as well as the lack of incentives we have spoken aboutand I would certainly endorse what my fellow witnesses have said on thatmeans we will tend to have less access by FE, by apprenticeships and by independent training providers into schools than they would like and would be in the young people’s best interests.

If they got those three, and one in each key stage would spread across a wide range of different education provider types, let alone qualification types, it is better than doing nothing. There is good evidence that each extra one you do will translate on average into extra money and less chance of being unemployed. Every little bit we do is worth it, but I would say that it is falling a long way short of what I described earlier on as the minimum ambition for career guidance, which is not regretting the next step.

If you have 600-odd apprenticeships, thousands of qualifications, and 800 job profiles on the National Careers Service, you are never going to do a talk on every single one. I would not ask for that and that would be a daft suggestion, but my one big ask or my one big suggestion would be to consider again—it has been done before in some schools, a very small number of schools—having weekly or fortnightly talks during term time. It is not impossible. They can be done in assemblies and in tutor time. If you do that, you can do 20 to 30-odd a year. Spread that over four or five years, you can cover every major sector, every qualification pathway, all the major local ITPs, all the major sectors as well as occupations, on a two to three-year rolling basis.

Q30            Chair: What are ITPs?

Chris Percy: Independent training providers. These are some of the folk who are struggling to get into schools. At least the FE colleges have stronger links; they are bigger organisations.

If you could do that much, I think that this would be the cheapest and highest return on investment thing you could do, because per person these things do not cost a lot of money to do. You need a bit of infrastructure around it. If you had that much going on, I would not just do it for qualification pathways, I would bring employers into that as well, but the two are linked together. You should be asking the employer, “What qualification pathways get you there?”

Q31            Kim Johnson: That was going to be my follow-up question. What more can schools do to provide information to pupils about technical routes as well? I think that is a useful route for schools to be able to provide information to pupils from independent training providers. It is something maybe that needs to take on board.

Chris Percy: The employers are crucial because if they do not hear it from the employer they will know the independent training provider is on a recruitment mission, and fair enough, they should be, but the employers could bring that authentic voice. If for every one training provider you hear from you have heard from five employers who between them tell a story that there are lots of pathways, they will find something that works for them.

Q32            Kim Johnson: We have heard throughout our sessions with stakeholders, from young people and different stakeholders, some of the issues, the barriers that they face in getting into schools. Linked to that, the whole bums on seats scenario needs to change, particularly for young people. We are in the midst of this cost of living crisis and more young people need access to that information to enable them to improve the quality of their lives going forward.

Dr Montacute: I want to also bring in something that we have not talked about enough to this point: the training of the teachers themselves and making sure that they are equipped to deliver information on careers within the curriculum because they obviously spend the most time with their students. We found from our polling that 88% of teachers do not feel like their current training has adequately prepared them to do that. There is certainly a space as well for making sure that those teachers are day-to-day trained. As was previously mentioned, a lot of those teachers themselves have gone through that HE route. That is what they know about and understand, so making sure that they are fully aware of all these different routes and can have those day-to-day conversations in the classroom is also something that is important.

Alice Barnard: To build on Rebecca's point, I think that the responsibility needs to be among all teachers. Lots of other areas within schools, including things like safeguarding, are the responsibility of all, although you have a safeguarding lead. It feels to me like the best way of utilising teacher expertise is to ask all teachers to have some responsibility for this in their curriculum area in tutor time and assemblies to try to build up that capacity for giving young people the most access they possibly can.

I agree with Rebecca that teacher training probably needs to integrate this learning early on in a teacher’s career so that they know what they should be saying to young people and they also know where to find that information. Sometimes they are not sure where to access that information that they can then pass on to their pupils, particularly if they have gone through a route of school, university and back into school. Their experience of industry and of the wider world can be quite narrow.

This is certainly something that the Edge Foundation has been looking at and piloting in a small way around teacher externships, so taking teachers out into the real world, placing them in businesses, allowing them to see how those organisations operateeverything from business development to manufacturingso that when they think about their young people and their local labour markets and local economy, they can do that from a place of real expertise.

Q33            Kim Johnson: Again, that is a great example. However, we are suffering a crisis at the moment in terms of recruitment, retaining and promoting teachers, and adding this extra level on teachers is a great burden, isn’t it, while they are being under-resourced at the moment? Clearly, there needs to be a strategy and funding directed in the right areas.

Alice Barnard: I think that your point is important. Careers advice and guidance is a huge issue and something that we should be discussing and we should be giving oxygen to, but it is not standalone. It matters that we have a broad and balanced curriculum. It matters that young people are able to study a variety of subjects. It matters that they are not forced into learning just the EBacc subjects and Progress 8. It matters that they can get to study things like art, drama, music and sport, which we are seeing massive decline in now. You only have to look at the GCSE statistics to see that design and technology is on a nosedive, yet those are the subjects that teach resilience, teamwork and problem solvingall the things that employers want and young people need to be successful in their careers. We are squeezing those out. Careers advice and guidance is critical, but it cannot be seen in isolation from what else is happening in schools at the moment.

Dr Montacute: I have a tiny bit to add on funding. In our polling, 72% of teachers think the pandemic has negatively impacted their school's ability to deliver careers education and guidance. This, importantly, needs to be thought of as part of wider catch-up efforts because kids have missed a lot over the last few years. That has included careers education and guidance. Obviously, there has been a lot of criticism of the amount that the Government have put into catch-up efforts so far. We would like to see more, as would many others. This should be a part, alongside other bits, of how you make sure that they can catch up on what they have missed in terms of careers.

Q34            Angela Richardson: We covered funding quite a lot at the top of the session and in several questions and there have been some quite strong views, including from the Chair, as to how we fund properly. We are looking at the inconsistency of provision now. Tristram, you have stated that the current state of practice is as good as it can get, given the current inadequate level of funding. What level of investment would you like to see and what difference do you think that this will make? It goes back to what Chris Percy said earlier about the fact that for children who have deprivation, the guidance that they get from schools is going to make the biggest impact in their lives, so funding is clearly very important.

Professor Hooley: Of course, you can always spend money better, but my point is that there are a number of features of the current policy that I think are working reasonably well. The Gatsby benchmarks are a clear statement of what schools should be doing if they have access to some support and so on. As I said earlier, there is no money in the system for delivery. That includes things like paying for careers leaders in schools, supporting brokerage with work experience and with employers, and the provision of personal guidance. There are all these elements where if you were thinking, “What would make a difference? we could put a bit more money into that.

Each of those policies would come with a price tag and we would have to work it out as to what it was and how we wanted to organise it and so on. My point is that we are spending a lot too little on this so it is very difficult to say, "If we rearrange the pieces, merge some bits, slightly change the incentive structure, we will get a very different result". If we want a very different result, we have to put more money in.

Q35            Angela Richardson: Do you have any idea percentage-wise what you are looking at?

Professor Hooley: Careers & Enterprise Company is probably something like £30 million. If you wanted to do this well, I have done a few calculations. I would not live or die on this, but I think that definitely over £100 million is what you would want to be spending. There probably are some savings to be made in the long run through bringing programmes together and making them more coherent, but I don’t think there are massive savings to be made. There definitely is the space for things to work better than they do by not having so much fragmentation, but you need some more capacity in there as well.

Angela Richardson: Does anyone else want to comment on that?

Dr Montacute: I have a small point on the deprivation question as well. If you do have to make decisions and limit the amount of funding you can put in, there are definitely things you could do to target that money, say, at the most disadvantaged schools and the most disadvantaged areas where we know they are more likely to have a non-specialist delivering that personal guidance. If you targeted money at those schools to allow them to, say, hire careers advisers, that is something you could do relatively quickly to get greater support to where there is the most need for it. If you do need to make those decisions, that is a way you could target it.

Q36            Angela Richardson: At the moment schools have a budget and they have to determine how they are going to resource things. My question would be: could we ringfence for careers advice?

Dr Montacute: Yes. I think that you could provide specific funding that is to employ between a group of schools locally a careers adviser, say.

Professor Hooley: If you do not want to put it through a national programme like Careers & Enterprise Company, the provision of money directly to schools would be a good option, but you would have to do it first in such a way that it was hypothecated for that purpose and, secondly, that you gave schools big enough chunks of money that they could do something with itthat it did not end up being very tiny amounts that were difficult for them to spend effectively.

Alice Barnard: Schools also have to be incredibly careful about who they use. There are lots of people in the market that are offering all sorts of amazing solutions to this, which ultimately are quite costly and probably deliver not a lot. As a school, you are under pressure delivering on every other element, and when you add this to the pile they tend to opt for the closest and easiest solution rather than the one that might be offering them the best value for money. There are a lot of sharks in the market, so I would just caution that it is not that I am against the schools having the option of being able to make those choices, but they have to have enough money to be able to make a meaningful choice and probably some guidance about how they make those choices and who they work with.

Thinking about the money available when Connexions was around, that worked out around £100,000 per secondary school and we have evidence of some schools receiving as little as £5,000. There is a real disparity and £100,000 would go a long way to having a dedicated school lead who could work specifically on careers advice and guidance and be able to formulate the entire strategy of the school but then tie into the strategy of the big organisations like Careers & Enterprise Company and really sweat those assets. At the moment they do not have the ability to be able to do that.

Chris Percy: I wonder if we could link it to outcomes rather than to what the number is. If I took the minimum ambition for career guidance that I mentioned before, and we do not know the exact number but let’s say it is 25%-odd young people who regret their choices when they are in the next stage, we could survey that at a reasonable price every year and keep spending more, keep doing more things, trying different things. Let’s carve the country up. We can do experimental policies so we get real evidence out of this. Let’s keep going until that number is nearer 5% or 10%. I imagine there will always be reasons why you cannot solve this, but that number should be lower and careers education has a role to play in bringing it lower.

How much does it cost to do that? I would not be surprised if it is more than what Scotland spends. We could start by trying to get up to that level, which would be a very large increase, but let’s do it until it is delivering the outcomes we want. If it fails to do so, let’s say we tried one thing in one part of the country and one thing in the other, if it is not working in one area, stop doing that and try something different. Then we would have satisfying answers to the Chair's very reasonable challenges about where the evidence and impact are. We have pockets of evidence to draw on but not at the scale that I think the Committee would be fully satisfied with.

Q37            Angela Richardson: What timeframe, though, would you need to be seeing for those outcomes to know whether it was working or not?

Chris Percy: You could certainly do the survey annually, and every couple of years of a new type of delivery being tried I think that it would be reasonable to see some of it feeding through. The full answer, of course, is probably five years because that is like the full stage of education decision making and key stages, but I think that two years would get you quite a long way. We need a bit of patience, but even in one parliamentary term, you have a few bites of the cherry to see how that progresses.

Alice Barnard: I appreciate what Chris is saying and from a research point of view that makes a lot of sense, but we have to remember that we are dealing with young people. If we trial something in an area that is a complete car crash, we have affected the career progression and the life chances of those individuals. We just have to be super careful that whatever we do, the baseline is that they are getting at least what they are getting now and anything that enhances that comes above it. Otherwise, we are experimenting with what is next for young people and we have to be very careful that we do that with great care.

Q38            Chair: The £100 million figureare you saying that the Government should spend £100 million on careers advice? Is that what you were saying?

Professor Hooley: I am saying that is getting you closer to the kind of figure that you would need, yes.

Chair: We already spend £70 million on the National Careers Service. We spend £30 million on the Careers & Enterprise Company. That is £100 million. That is not including all the other money that is spent on work, the work organisations and the DWP, and the money that local authorities spend on careers.

Professor Hooley: I was talking about the schools or the compulsory education part of this. The National Careers Service is pretty much entirely an adult service. We have not really covered that.

Chair: It still does some young people, and the Careers & Enterprise Company, and then we have the local authority spending. As I say, some young people of 16 get support from the DWP and private sector organisations that the DWP funds.

Professor Hooley: To be clear, the—

Chair: The Careers & Enterprise Company gets £30 million.

Professor Hooley: The National Careers Service is working with adults pretty much entirely. Whether that is rightwhether if you wanted to deliver careers advice into schools you could expand the remit of the National Careers Service and give it that remit, that might be a sensible thing to do, but at the moment it is not doing that at all.

Q39            Chair: It is doing some work with young people, is it not?

Professor Hooley: The only thing it really has is the online service.

Chair: But then you have £30 million on the Careers & Enterprise Company.

Professor Hooley: Yes.

Chair: Okay. Did you have a question before I go on to Anna?

Q40            Dr Caroline Johnson: Yes, I wanted to ask about what you said about the online service. Everyone has talked today about people going into schoolsindividuals providing; this is all being delivered by a person rather than a computer. Children, even very young children, are incredibly computer literate. Many of the young people who have arranged work experience with me is because they have sent me an email saying, "Please can I have some work experience". I said, "Yes, of course, please arrange a date and come along". Since they have internet access at school, that is essentially a cost-free option.

It seems that children will ask two questions. One is, "I want to be one of these; how do I do it?" and, "I don't know what I want to be but I quite enjoy this. What are my options?" Presumably, the internet and something like the NCS expanded perhaps offer quite an opportunity for that. You have talked about getting people in to do a talk once a fortnight, which is quite a labour-intensive thing to do. Equally, you could have an online resource that says, "If you want to be one of these, this is how you do it". The NCS does provide that for some careers already. Otherwise, you have to get it from professional bodies, but it is available. You could have talks from different people. So, "I like physics. What can I do with physics?" "Here is a list of careers. Here is a list of videos you can watch of people who do those jobs telling you what they are like." It does not have to be hugely complicated and it would be available to children whatever their level of disadvantage throughout the UK because they all have access to the internet in schools.

Alice Barnard: There is a lot to be said for that and there are certainly ways in which technology and the internet could be used more. During covid we did. A lot of the teacher externships were taken online and worked really well.

The one thing I would say that we need to be cautious about is aspiration. Those young people who have aspiration and have a feel of what they enjoy and what they might want to do are quite proactive. Those who are not sure and are not doing so well in school, who do not necessarily see school as being something that they are engaged with or enjoy, who are not really sure which subjects they like, those are the ones who might not engage at all with that system. It is how we think about building social capital for those young people who do not have it. How do we ensure that if they are going to use technology we give them the pride in themselves, the confidence to chase and go after things that they at the moment might not think are within their reach? It is how we empower those young people to engage in it as well as those who might think, “Yes, I love physics, what can I do with that?” and then proactively go online and search that out. It is those young people who perhaps do not like physics or do not like school; how do we engage those and make sure that those hard to reach ones also capitalise out of that system?

Q41            Dr Caroline Johnson: I completely accept that, but the question is: is engaging children and improving their self-esteem and engaging with the curriculum the role of the National Careers Service or a careers service, or is that a much broader set of work of the school?

Alice Barnard: Exactly, it is much broader. That is why, although careers advice and guidance is an important stream, we do not disconnect it. We do not silo it away from all the other things that are going on in school that we need to fix to make careers education, advice and guidance also work. On its own, it is just in its own little orbit and unless we engage it with the rest of what is going on, we are not going to see the results we want to see. Unless we see every teacher believe that careers advice and guidance is part of their remit and part of their briefuntil the whole school thinks that part of their job is to make young people career-readycareers advice and guidance will do lots of little, nice things but it will not have the impact we want it to have.

Professor Hooley: On the online stuff, I would make a distinction between information, which could include qualitative information, such as videos and so on, which is very important and young people can get a lot out of it, but as Alice says, often it is not inspirational and not put in a position where you—if you have to seek it out yourself then it has some limitations.

Dr Caroline Johnson: Mostly unavailable at the moment.

Professor Hooley: There is some good information. We could definitely improve the amount of information, particularly videos and those kinds of things, that is available to young people.

Where it starts to be more comparable with the employer talks and things that we have been talking about is where there is some interaction. You do not have to be in the same room, but you do have to as a young person be able to ask a question to an employer. The same probably goes for careers guidance as well. There are probably efficiencies to be made by not having every single careers guidance interview in the same room, by having every employer talk in the same room and doing some of them over some kind of technology, but there has to be that interaction between the young person and the person they are talking to as well as being able to provide some more static forms of information for them.

Chair: Just to confirm, the NCS is not just online. It does offer a telephone service for 13 to 18-year-olds. Again, I go back to the resource issue. There are a lot of organisations doing a lot of things with the existing resources. As I say, £100 million is being spent on just those two organisations alone, yet we do not even know the data and the outcomes. What we do know is that the outcomesif I just quote the National Careers Servicedid not provide good value for money and that there is very low awareness of the service among adults. It was not seen as attractive or well used by young people. All this money is being spent and the surveys show that it is not working.

Professor Hooley: You will have the National Careers Service in front of you and I would ask them how many young people are using that phone service. I think that the National Careers Service serves well some clients that it works with. It is much too narrowly focused. It is focused almost entirely only on people who are unemployed. If you are in work and you want to get ahead in work, you probably are not going to find it very easy to use. There are problems with the way the National Careers Service is targeted, but in terms of its use with young people I suspect that it is very small.

Q42            Chair: I went to Reed employment in my constituency recently. It is doing a brilliant job, in my view, and it is getting everyone from young adults to older adults into workunemployed people. What is the National Careers Service doing that is different from organisations like Reed employment and others?

Professor Hooley: There is lots of good work in the private sector, but the—

Chair: This is paid for by the Government.

Professor Hooley: Yes, but the purpose of having a National Careers Service is to allow people to discuss what they want to do with their lives beyond simply getting the next job, and that would also include things like access to training and thinking about longer-term career aspirations.

Q43            Chair: The work agencies do that as well. Do you see my point about all this duplication? You are saying not enough money is being spent. I am saying, well, we are spending 100 million quid just on two organisations, not including all the other work organisations and a lot of work is being replicated. The National Careers Service does do telephone services with young people. Young people are not satisfied according to the surveys, so I don’t think it is just a question of funding.

Alice Barnard: On the funding point, there is a lot of money out there. Is it being deployed in the right places? Everything tells us that at the moment it is not working but it does need to be seen in the whole and I think the delivery element is the key bit. If we want to succeed on the benchmarks that deal with workers’ moves and making the curricula live and employer-led, we need to be able to invest in that and, for me, the money that already exists does not go towards those key areas.

Q44            Anna Firth: There are clearly many strands to this and we have heard a lot about funding, but I want to follow up, Alice, on what I think is your point because, rather than focusing all the time on money and the lack of, would you agree we need to be smarter about this? The idea of embedding careers advice and guidance into every aspect of the curriculum would not actually cost a penny but would focus schools far more that they are there for a purpose. It is a very important purpose. In every single lessonsuppose it is a lesson about geneticswell, at the end of the lesson the teacher could highlight, “You could do a degree in genetics at Cambridge. You could then work at the genetics institute in Cambridge, which is one of the world’s leading. You could be part of a genome project”. That is one tiny example, but surely that could go across the whole curriculum. I would like your thoughts on that, please.

Alice Barnard: I think you are absolutely right. It is a whole school responsibility. We do see some very interesting classes of brilliant practice where you see, say, English teachers are teaching dynamically. They use, for example, previous court papers to allow young people to debate and to feel what that is like. Then young people at the end of it are like, “Wow, maybe I could be a lawyer”. In maths, they try to make it much more applied, so much more like physics is perhaps.

For example, there was a school that worked with the theatre and they looked at how they set up the lighting, the angles of the lighting and how to make sure that the key characters were lit at the right point and the angles required. It was all still about maths but it was also about being able to see in real life how that would be applied. Then of course from that, you can start to describe what careers might lead from it.

To get that you have to have all teachers passionate about it and you have to be able to support them and give them the time they need to be able to make the curriculum happen and be alive. This can happen in our current system, but everything in our system makes it harder to do that. Everything in the system works against that. If we want to encourage teachers and whole schools to do exactly as you say, we need to give them so much more freedom and stop hitting them over the head with English and maths, and English and maths retakes and this narrow curriculum, and empower them to teach like teachers really want to instead of force-feeding them PowerPoint presentations.

Surely, talk-and-chalk is over. We have a curriculum now that was designed, in essence, for the Victorians and here we are in this global digital economy, expecting young people to be able to transport from sector to sector seamlessly and we are not giving them the ability to do that. Yes, we could do that. All it would require is additional support for teachers, the time within the curriculum and buy-in from the senior leadership team, and ultimately the Government to give them the breathing space to do all of that.

Q45            Anna Firth: Would we need Ofsted to be bought in?

Alice Barnard: Yes.

Q46            Anna Firth: You mentioned earlier that if it is not measured, the teachers don’t do it, so it would have to be one of the Ofsted measures.

Alice Barnard: Yes. As a separate thing, I would say that Ofsted needed a whole rethink and revamp. I do not think that Ofsted encourages creativity. I do not think it encourages schools to come and think about how it can give young people a dynamic experience. I think schools are petrified of Ofsted. They look at the list of things they need to do. They start at the top and work their way down, and that is not a healthy way to create a culture in schools that allows for dynamism.

Q47            Anna Firth: I agree with you entirely about buy-in from the senior leadership team. I am not completely convinced that teachers would need more time, because I think some lessons lend themselves and the knowledge can be applied without actually more time. However, I would like to put the question to everybody else. Rebecca.

Dr Montacute: Yes. I wanted to come in on exactly that point, which is the question of whether you could say that to teachers and not provide additional funding and think that it would then happen everywhere and in the best way possible. I think the answer to that is probably no because we know that so many teachers do not think their existing training has prepared them to deliver careers in the curriculum. Yes, you might very well get a biology teacher who can think, “Yes, it would be great to point out in this genomics lesson the jobs that you can do in that area", but a lot of teachers just simply do not know about the jobs that could be done in their subject.

I go back to the initial comment of teachers tending to go through very specific routes to get there. For instance, a teacher may not know that you could do an apprenticeship to become a laboratory technician and that that is the way that a young person could get into genomics.

Going again to this question about space and time, you need space and time as a teacher to think, “How can I link this?” Sometimes it may seem obvious but having that space and time means you can go throughout your lessons and think, “Where are the bits that I can add this in?”

Even if that would be great—and I can think of certain areas where this could be happening more than it is at the moment—you do also need all those other things like interactions with employers, the space and time for schools to be able to plan them, the space and time to organise work experience and for students to be able to go out and do those placements, I would argue, as well as linking it to the curriculum.

Q48            Anna Firth: What you said there about space and timeisn’t this about a mindset? Isn’t this about leadership from the senior leadership team and in-school training to tell the teachers, “You may not have that knowledge, but you just have to google that or expand your network and you will find that knowledge and we will support you, but that has to be an integral part of every lesson you teach”?

Dr Montacute: Absolutely. I guess again, though, I would link back that to have senior leaders have that push I think you need to do two things. You need some reason for them to do it, so whether or not they are getting measured on it by bodies, whether it is being checked that they are doing this, whether it is a core part of the curriculumyes, absolutely. On top of that, you also need them to have the time and space and to be able to have someone who, say, has the off-table time equivalent to something like a head of year to spend on careers, so they are the ones bringing the strategy to the senior leadership team, saying, "This is what we need to do across the school. This is where teachers are not upskilled at the moment".

Yes of course some teachers, if we gave them just a little bit more time, could google it but there will be things that are quite tricky to know to be able to say "This is a route that you could take”. Again, those vocational and technical routes are sometimes the less obvious ones, especially to teachers. Therefore, making sure that they are properly trained to know what those opportunities are I think is also important.

Chris Percy: I would speak in support of it as well. There are three things that I think you need for it to work. It very much resonates here. You need some accountability. It could be Ofsted of course. It could be in the exams. It is curriculum contentwhy not find the right way of doing it?

You do need curriculum space because the lessons alter that, so if we are going to put in 10 minutes on a career, something little has to come out but that is okaysomething goes out, something comes in. That is okay. That is doable. You do need some money. That is my third thing. You don’t change mindsets for free. You probably need some CPD, peer networks, shared lesson plans. This is not an enormous sum of money compared to, say, the cost of delivering one-to-one expert guidance to every single person in the country. It is a different amount but you do need some money.

What I love about it is it gives one channel to exceed what I was describing as a learn about a different job or qualification pathway once a week in term time. Maybe you are hearing from one employer once a week or a training provider, but if also in that week you have heard about another two or three through your classes then maybe by the end of five years you have actually covered most of those 800 jobs profiles in the National Careers Service, or maybe you have covered some decent proportion of the 600 apprenticeships that exist. Maybe this is the way to do it.

The other way of doing itjust to tie it very briefly back to your pointis, yes, these things can be blended and become a mixture of face-to-face and online. I have done a few evaluations of live interactive career talks that a lot of the charities in the sector have moved towards over the last couple of years. They don't give exactly the same benefits as face to face. The answer is probably to offer blended rather than either/or but, yes, let’s blend it to bring in employers that we would never otherwise travel to. Bring in a fisherman to speak to someone in an inner city, or someone in oil and gas in Aberdeen talk to someone in Norfolk. Let’s do that but, also, to bring the costs down.

I would speak in support of live interactive rather than just videos, because there is something about a young person asking a question. Unless they already know what they want and you did give that good example of people who already know what they want. Some 50% of young people will not be in the job they want to be in as teenagers, simply because those jobs do not exist. Too many of them want to be sports people for a start, and good luck to them. Some of them will make it. I love sport as much as anyone, but they cannot all do it.

If you just start with a young person who already knows what they want to do, or knows that it is something to do with physics, that is not enough. We need to proactively spread lots of different jobs, a job in every lesson, a job every week, so that they have a backup plan for when they don’t make it as a footballer.

Professor Hooley: I think we are all agreed that it is important to put career education into the curriculum. One of the challenges is that it requires quite a big change. We have to rethink how the curriculum works. As Chris was saying, there are some good ideas. You could change some of the exams. You could specify the curriculum. You could change accountability through Ofsted. They are all relatively big changes, but they are important ones and ones that I think we should make.

What some of the international evidence shows is that where countries have tried to do all of their careers work entirely through the curriculum, it is very difficult to make sure it happens and to quality assure it. They have had ideas on things like what they call guidance schools that they had in Norway and Denmark and so on. In those schools, there is the danger that it is everyone's responsibility and so it is no one's responsibility. As well as spreading it through the school, we also do need there to be a leader for careers—which is what we have been working on with the careers leader idea—and probably some dedicated curriculum time for the things in careers that don’t easily sit in one of the subjects as well.

Q49            Anna Firth: Thank you. I am very tempted to quit while I am ahead, Chair, but with your permission, I will ask one more question. Moving on now to disadvantaged pupils, to a certain degree the problems we are about to talk about might be ameliorated if we could embed careers throughout the curriculum and have career leads in the way we have been discussing. None the less, we are not there yet. This is research from the Sutton Trust. Your research has found significant disparities in provision between state and private schools, with 38% of state school pupils reporting that they have not taken part in any careers-related activities compared with 23% of private school pupils. Can I ask each of the panel: what do you see as the main reasons for this and what should be done to close the gap? Perhaps we could start with Rebecca.

Dr Montacute: Yes. This is from our recent report "Paving the Way" which looked in detail at what is happening in schools at the moment. What do teachers report? What do young people report? What we found when we asked the teachers themselves what they wanted, in terms of being able to improve the situation, was that the main thing was additional funding. Almost half—47%—of state school teachers wanted to see additional funding for careers guidance, and that was four times as many as said the same in private schools in terms of what would improve the situation.

Sadly, it does seem that state school teachers think that not having enough funding is a barrier for them in terms of being able to deliver the kind of things that they would like to see. We did also see that they wanted more visits from employers, so 43% of state school teachers said that versus 30% of private school teachers. They wanted more visits from apprenticeship providers. That was 40%. They wanted better resources to help inform their students and they wanted more visits from universities. Again, this was quite a lot higher for state schools than private, 30% versus 16%.

Therefore, there are lots of things teachers would like to see. For all of those things, state schools are saying that they need more help. They want to see those changes more than what we are seeing in private schools.

Q50            Chair: Instead of giving money to these huge organisations, where we do not know what the outcomes are and with questionable records, would it not be better just to have a careers premium where you gave the money directly to the schools and then Ofsted would assess them to see whether or not they were spending that money properly? It would be ringfenced to be spent—so, instead of us giving the Careers & Enterprise Company £30 million and the proportion of the NCS that goes on young people, you would give that money directly to schools and have a careers premium.

Dr Montacute: I think we are in some ways talking about two slightly different things. Yes, it would be great to see money going directly to schools that they could spend on things like having a careers adviser, having time for teachers to plan this, for the careers leader to be able to have time to integrate it across the school and meet with employers, say, but that does not fix, in and of itself, making sure that you have a careers leader who knows where to find resources, how to access training, and that is the job at the moment that the Careers & Enterprise Company is doing.

Chair: In many schools, it is very patchy and, as I said, most schools I have come across have not even heard of it or a lot of them have not even heard of it. I cannot see why, if you did have a careers premium you gave directly to the school, the school would not have the knowledge to appoint a good careers adviser to do all this stuff.

Dr Montacute: I can see a role for both bits. I think also what the Careers & Enterprise Company does in terms of career hubs and helping to link up with local businesses over an area between lots of different schoolsI can see a role for someone to do that.

Chair: Local authorities do that as well.

Dr Montacute: Yes, I think you could put that on local authorities as well.

Q51            Chair: We don’t need another quango to do it. My county council is doing it, so why do you need a Careers & Enterprise Company when you could just give that money to schools? They could work with local authorities and with local chambers of commerce, with FE collegesyou name itand do it themselves. A good careers adviser in that school would know how to do all those things, and you would have Ofsted assessing it to make sure they were doing it properly.

Dr Montacute: Even in the situation of having local authorities do it, I think you would need to provide money to the local authorities. Some can do it at the moment within existing budgets, but that depends a lot on things like the deprivation level of the local authorities and how much they have had to put funding into other things at the moment and where they have had to make cuts. I would not be surprised if it varies. I do not have data on this on if it varies a lot by local authorities as to what they are doing in this space at the moment.

However, I think somewhere there should be money for some sort of overall role, a “looking at the local area, co-ordinating things togetherrole, whether that is the CEC or local authorities. I can see an argument for each of them. I think that somewhere there is a role to look at how to upskill careers leaders to make sure they know where to go for information and link those bits together. I think it is an open question as to where that exists but I think you will need funding for that somewhere.

Chris Percy: This is the disparity between disadvantaged and advantaged outcomes. I would link this back to one of Alice’s points, that it is unwise to separate careers education from the education offer more generally. A number from the Childrens Commissioner a couple of years back that worries me is that one in three students on free school meals leave school at 18 without a level 2 qualification. That is twice the rate of non-FSM, which is also still quite high, but it is an extremely high proportion. I don't know if it has improved since 2019. I doubt it.

That makes me think that careers education has a role to play here. It is about helping someone to find the right qualification that is level 2 that they believe would lead to a good future that they also want to do and are good at. Therefore, careers education has a role to play there, but that level 2 qualification also has to exist somewhere in the picture.

Careers education probably needs to start a bit earlier. If you are trying to find someone at age 17 a level 2 qualification they are willing to do, when they feel fairly mistreated by the education system since late primary school, I would be worried. I think that careers education should start in key stage 2, not as guidance but as a world of work inspiration. There are qualification pathways of all types to suit all people and you don’t have to leave school with no qualifications and start right at the bottom. That is extremely hard to do these days compared to 50 to 100 years ago. Starting that before they are too cynical and key stage 2 is a lot easier than 16 to 18.

Anna Firth: “World of work inspiration”I rather like that phrase. Alice?

Alice Barnard: Building on Chris’s point around the age to start careers and guidance—obviously it will be led differently for younger people—we already know by the age of 10 lots of young people are starting to think about what they cannot do and will never be able to do, particularly the girls. By the age of 10, girls have already decided they will not be a doctor or an astronaut or a fireman; they will be a nurse or a caregiver or a teacher, so we know that it starts early on. If we want to start to take down some of those barriers we need to be working in primary school. There it can be much more about a lively inspiration because it doesn’t need to have a huge framework behind it. That is just introducing different types of people to these kids at that age.

We have seen some really lovely interactions where you bring in two women firefighters. They are blown away by the idea that these firefighters are women and then suddenly the girls are thinking, "Well, I could do that". It is all about seeing the art of the possible, and to see the art of the possible you have to have that interaction. It needs to start as early as possible. I think we have all slightly tiptoed around it but for all of this to work we need to seriously rethink assessment and we need to rethink the inspection regime.

Going back to Chris's point about qualifications, a third of young people do not get meaningful GCSEs. That is one-third of the population taking GCSEs that do not have something that we consider meaningful so something has gone very wrong by that point. I know I am repeating myself but we need to see careers advice and guidance taken in as part of the whole education that we are inspiring people to have.

Q52            Anna Firth: Given what you have just said, isn’t the Chair’s point about a careers premium apposite for that age group, rather than having an external body? You need a teacher to have a bit of extra time and space and training to reach out to the local fire service or whatever it might be. Isn't that perfect for a careers premium?

Alice Barnard: I like to talk in reality, so I think, as someone who is deeply interested in policy and likes to see policy created in a pragmatic environment, Government need to be brave, politic, put the money in and see if it works. We can talk the talk, but surely it is about finding an area, putting meaningful money in and seeing if it works. Evaluate it properly, decide how you are going to do that from the very beginning, bring in experts and then be honest: which bits are working? We might find that some of it works well. Great, let’s grab those bits. Then, let’s not be English and pretend that the other bits are absolutely fine and just sweep them under the carpet. Let’s highlight the bits that do not work as well. Then we can learn and create a policy memory of what is happening.

Q53            Ian Mearns: You are not suggesting evidence-based policy, for goodness’ sake?

Alice Barnard: Ian, I am. Yes, I am and I think for that we will see everything we need to see, but we need to be brave and politicians need to be brave, and we need to see some action because at the moment it is costing businesses £6 billion.

Anna Firth: Last contribution.

Chair: In a nutshell, please, I want to get onto Caroline.

Professor Hooley: Yes, sure. I agree with what the Sutton Trust says. If it is valuable you know it is valuable because rich people want it and they give it to their children. If we want to make a difference and if we cannot afford to pay for the optimum system then what the Sutton Trust suggests in its report is very helpful. Let’s target good quality careers advice, good quality work experience and so on at the 10%, and if we are going to put some money in somewhere that is good. Let’s put it in for the poorest, most disadvantaged kids. That is a good start.

I would like to see a universal provision. I think everybody would get value from this, right up to the people at Eton and so on, but I think if we are saying we have problems with the amount of money that is available, absolutely, let’s target it.

Q54            Dr Caroline Johnson: This is a question based on what you just said. You said that if it is good, people would buy it for their kids if they have the money to do so. I am sure that is right. Of the online and available services that we have at the moment and that have been delivering to the state sector schools, how many of them are also accessed and paid for by the independent sector? Or does the independent sector choose to do something different?

Professor Hooley: There is a broadly common market between the two types of schools and the sorts of products they buy. Some things are more popular in independent schools. We have stronger histories there and so on. One of the things that in a way depresses me a bit is that there seems to be no reason why people should not want to buy careers guidance as individuals, and some people do. Some people buy career coaching as adults. Many people buy career advice for young people if they are struggling to figure out what this young person is going to do and, “How am I going to get them out from under the duvet?” kind of questions.

The people who spend the money tend to be the richer people and, as far as I can see no country in the world has established a strong private market in this. It is always delivered through organisations, so, even in the example of the independent schools, it is not that for the most part parents are buying it individually, saying, "Let me have an hour of careers advice". They are buying it as part of a package that is delivered by the independent school.

Q55            Dr Caroline Johnson: That did not really answer the question, which was whether there is a particular provider that is popular with them which implies that it is providing a better service and that is what people are prepared to pay for.

Professor Hooley: Yes, there was a dedicated provider for independent schools that went bust effectively. Most independent schools have brought this in-house, so they are now employing a careers adviser as part of—

Dr Caroline Johnson: They are doing exactly what the Chair is suggesting. They are having their own internal career premium.

Professor Hooley: They will probably also buy products like psychometric products and various web information products. They will spend money externally with various kinds of providers but probably not so much on having a particular company come in and deliver careers advice.

Q56            Dr Caroline Johnson: Thank you. I want to ask about those children who are not in mainstream education. We know that a lot of children have been moved into the home education sector. We have children in pupil referral units. There are some children, including in my constituency, in secure accommodation. How do we ensure that all children, regardless of where they are being educated, have access to good quality careers advice? That is particularly a question for Tristram, because you said that children outside of mainstream education are one of the biggest casualties. How would you target those children?

Professor Hooley: That is one area where when the Connexions service existed, which was often delivered through local authorities, there was a very strong join-up between the local authorities' responsibility to minimise need and then the delivery of services and support to those young people. That has gone. It is not very solidly within the Careers & Enterprise Company’s remit. It is not in the National Careers Service remit, because you are normally dealing with young people. Also, it gets very complicated once you start to deal with very small institutions, so there is definitely a need for more attention on how all of these kinds of alternative provisions are delivering it, but also young people who are not in education, who our policy would say should be in education but, for whatever reason, are not in education. They are not getting very much.

Q57            Dr Caroline Johnson: What is the answer, particularly for those in PRUs and secure accommodation? One would imagine that they are a particularly difficult group to target for the reasons that Alice raised earlier on. How do we do it?

Professor Hooley: I think what I suggested in the evidence that I submitted was that it was tasked as a responsibility of the National Careers Service in partnership with local authorities. The local authorities have a lot of information about who we are talking about and where they are. The National Careers Service has advisers who have the professional capability to deal with them. That seems like the most expedient route but, at the moment, it is not fully within either of their purviews.

Q58            Dr Caroline Johnson: One of the challenges that we found in the previous inquiry with home education is that local authorities do not know who these children are. They don’t know who they are. They don’t know where they are. They don’t know what their names are. Does anyone else have any ideas on how we can ensure that children that are home-educated get—

Chris Percy: It is a bigger issue than careers education. They are being failed in that respect, but they are being failed in so many other respects. You probably would not start by necessarily solving careers education. You would try to solve lots of other things and bring that in on board.

I suspect that area-wide is the only way you can do it because otherwise people fall in the gaps between organisations that are typically quite small. At least most schools and colleges are typically quite large. You have a list of them. PRUs and secure accommodation are much smaller units in terms of funding and number of staff involved. I think it is very easy to fall between the cracks, which is why the local authority route is probably one that gives you the best chance of capturing. I can only share some of the sadness and maybe despair of this. I do not think there is an easy solution. It would just be a careers education-led solution.

Q59            Dr Caroline Johnson: My final question is about children with special educational needs. How can we best deliver a programme that delivers for those young people?

Alice Barnard: I will start. This isn’t Edge’s area of specialism at all, but from our perspective, if we get careers guidance correct, if we get the curriculum right, if we get the assessment system right and if we get the inspection system right, it benefits all. In that case, those young people with SEND will benefit greatly from a system that stops working against them and works with them.

For me, especially, it seems that sometimes in school—and it is partly because of the barrage of other commitments and asks that are on the school—from an early age we start to limit the opportunities of those young people going into diverse careers, because there is some element of deciding early on that there is a lack of ability to enter certain professions.

Again, it goes back to how we help and support teachers to be able to understand the best routes, both in terms of pathways for qualifications but, also, the careers that are potentially available and open to them later on.

Professor Hooley: My experience is that a lot of special schools that I have been to do this pretty well. They take it quite seriously because the issue of transition is quite a critical issue for young people with special needs. That is sort of reinforced by the education and health and care planning process, which, when that works well and when you involve a careers adviser in it, I think can be a very effective way to manage that. I think the problems come for those young people with special needs who are outside the education and health and care planning process, where schools are not always in the process of developing a particular transition plan.

Again, as with many of these issues, it is probably a bigger issue than just career guidance, but one of the things that I would say is that any transition plan for any young person needs to have a careers component to it and, ideally, would benefit from a careers adviser being involved in that transition process.

Dr Montacute: This is not our area of expertise at all, but I think there is a piece of advice we have given on ensuring careers leaders work together with the pupil premium leads within a school and pupil premium governance as such that could also be applicable here, in that careers leaders in schools shouldn't work in isolation, so whoever in a school has responsibility for SENDif there is a governor with specific SEND responsibilitythose people should be speaking to one another and running plans past each other to make sure that they are getting feed in from someone who has that expertise and is spending their day to day thinking about that, to make sure all of those plans across a school go together well.

Q60            Dr Caroline Johnson: Yes, I think it is also about ensuring that children with special educational needs don’t have their ambitions restricted. One of the projects I have been doing from a political party point of view over the past 12 months is looking at how we encourage access to different political careers for people who have disabilities. It seems to me we have had some very successful senior Ministers from both sides of the House with different disabilities. It is about highlighting those, as Alice said earlier, as that kind of inspiration: “If that person can do it, I can do it.

Today we are getting our third female Prime Minister. You talked about female firefighters, “If they can do it, maybe I could do it. If they could be Prime Minister, maybe I can do anything”. For young girls watching that is a great thing. I think that is something we could harness quite a lot more.

Chris Percy: Some researchers have done some good work on SEND and careers education. The Gatsby benchmarks have been adapted. There has been guidance around that. The CEC has done some work on it. There are some good researchers at the University of Derby. It might be worth calling them into a future oral session or perhaps outside of that framework. I would be happy to share some names afterwards if that would be helpful.

Q61            Chair: Thank you. Finally, I know we have talked about embedding careers in the curriculum. That is something that I strongly believe in. My colleague Anna was questioning you in detail about this. I believe in it but I am still not clear how it can happen definitively. If you had a magic wand and we could embed careers guidance in the curriculum, all the way through from primary school to the end of secondary school and colleges, what would you do to definitively embed it? I am not talking about just having a careers guidance person in the school or whatever it may be. I will start with you, Alice, if I may. If you could be brief in your responses.

Alice Barnard: Okay. I am going to go big and I am going to say controversially that if you change the way that schools are assessed on careers advice and guidance, along with everything else in school, it would look radically different and would improve life chances across the board.

Dr Montacute: I would look at making sure that it is embedded really well into initial teacher training, so that all teachers know exactly how to do it, what is expected of them, and again, yes, in terms of assessment, making sure that what schools are assessed on includes this kind of guidance and advice, so that they have an incentive to do that work and to integrate it throughout the school.

Q62            Chair: If that was, say, teaching maths, would you at the same time say to them, “This might lead to you becoming an engineer or an accountant” or whatever it may be?

Dr Montacute: Yes, absolutely. There should be two strands of this. If there are going to be things happening outside of lessons, which I think are important—and, as has been discussed, there may be things where they don’t come under a specific lesson, or it doesn’t naturally fit in that way, and there are wider experiences. I think that is important as well. But the core part definitely is within day-to-day lessons, where there is the opportunity to do so. That should be coming up within what teachers are teaching day to day, but they need to be incentivised to do it and they need to be trained to do it.

Q63            Chair: Would you have to rewrite the curriculum or expand the curriculum in order to make this happen in practice?

Dr Montacute: Yes, I think so. It should be embedded in the curriculum that within each subject how it relates to careers is a really important part of that.

Q64            Chair: Do you have examples of countries that are successfully doing this?

Dr Montacute: I am not sure of that, sorry.

Alice Barnard: It is already happening in England. You are seeing schools delivering really exciting and dynamic curricula. I am thinking of schools like XP in Doncaster. They teach their subjects in two split elements. They have STEM and then they have humanities. The curriculum is delivered but the curriculum wiring is completely hidden. What young people do is learn through a guiding question, so something really bigperhaps something with real social impactand that is what they work on. But underneath they are ticking every single box in the curriculum and what that is doing is developing the way in which they construct arguments, the way they work with other young people, and it focuses on the subjects as a whole in this much bigger thinking way, which then allows them to explore careers but, also, how they think about their subjects and how they apply them.

Chair: I think we have the XP School coming, possibly in the next few weeks. It has done a very good video and it has very good outcomes.

Alice Barnard: It does. We would be very happy to organise a Committee visit there.

Chair: I would love to go. I see there is a very good video that it has done online, which I have watched. It explains it all. Chris?

Chris Percy: Thank you. Yes, I agree with this and I think there are already great teachers doing this today, but relatively few I suspect. I would have four things in my magic wand toolkit. I would want to find and support those great teachers to make their lesson plans and then share them all publicly on this. They will need some support but that is No. 1.

No. 2—while that process is going on, be open to tweaking the curriculum. I don’t think we are talking big overhauls, but be open to moving things around a little bitchopping a bit out, putting a bit in. It may not be needed but it does take creativity to make the links. It can be done and great teachers do it, but it might be easier if we are open to tweaking the curriculum.

Thirdly, I have a database of employer volunteers so that we can bring them in to talk in a relevant way. When we have got that bit on genomics, let’s bring someone from Cambridge in to talk about it. They won’t go to every single classroom, but they can do a few and we can video the rest and put those online. There are great databases out there already, so we don’t need to start from scratch but push that.

Then my fourth one would be—it is a very boring answer, I am afraid—to review how to make it accountable. It could be for a mark. It could be for a standard. It could be through encouraging it to be in the assessed part of the curriculum. It could be via Ofsted and probably other ways as well. You have to think quite hard about that, and I think that would deserve its own review to figure that out.

Professor Hooley: The first thing would be some dedicated curriculum space. That is very common in other countries. Canada, Norway and Denmark all have a subject that is called something like educational choice or career choice that engages them in that. It often includes a bridging programme where they might go out and visit an apprenticeship and that sort of thing. We need some dedicated curriculum time and resources for teachers and subjects. Teachers love resources. We could take the existing curriculum and show how you could deliver it through more career-relevant activities. As Chris says, bringing in employers is an important part of that. I have seen that done very effectively lots of timesbringing, for example, the publishing industry to work on English literature and that sort of thing.

I think if we are going to get a bit more radical, the exam boards could try to include something so that schools have to account for this in the preparation they are doing for the exams. Finally, of course, we have to do some training. That has probably got to be both in initial teacher education and in some kind of CPD offer for teachers.

Q65            Chair: Thank you. For the viewers outside, what does CPD mean?

Professor Hooley: Continuing professional development.

Chair: Thank you very much, all of you, for a very helpful session on careers. We have learnt a lot and I wish you all well in your respective areas, and it is very much appreciated. Thank you.