Ofsted sharpens focus on careers

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(Gatsby 1-8)

Ofsted is continuing to sharpen its focus on careers.

Its Education inspection framework 2019: inspecting the substance of education (16 January) it talks of “introducing a new inspection framework with a focus on the quality of education and the curriculum”. One of the proposed areas it will be piloting is: “Are careers education and guidance of a good quality?”

Alongside this consultation Ofsted has published its proposed inspection handbooks. You can read the full version for maintained schools and academies here, but to help you we’ve pulled out all the areas relating to careers below. It’s useful to see how the future inspection of careers education (and curriculum enrichment in general) is shaping up.

Draft Ofsted School Inspection Handbook for maintained schools and academies (proposed publication September 2019)

Here is a summary of the key references to careers education.

Page 42 – Cultural capital

163 As part of making the judgement about the quality of education, inspectors will consider the extent to which schools are equipping pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Ofsted’s understanding of this knowledge and cultural capital matches that found in the aims of the national curriculum. It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement. 

Page 43 – Sources of evidence specific to curriculum intent

164 … how carefully leaders have thought about what end points the curriculum is building towards, what pupils will be able to know and do at those end points, and how they have planned the curriculum accordingly. This includes consideration of how the intended curriculum will address social disadvantage by addressing gaps in pupils’ knowledge and skills.

Page 46 – Impact

177 … learning must build towards a goal. At each stage of pupils’ education, they are being prepared for the next stage of education, training or employment.  Inspectors will consider whether pupils are ready for the next stage by the point they leave the school or provision that they attend.  Inspectors will also consider whether pupils at ages 16 and 18 are ready for the next stage and are going to appropriate, high-quality destinations.

Page 47 – Sources of evidence specific to curriculum impact

180 … nationally published information about the destinations to which its pupils progress when they leave the school (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/destinations-of-ks4-and-ks5-pupils-2017)

Grade descriptors for the quality of education – Good (2)

Page 49 – Intent

Leaders adopt or construct a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils and including pupils with SEND, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. This is either the national curriculum or a curriculum of comparable breadth and ambition. [If this is not yet fully the case, it is clear from leaders’ actions that they are in the process of bringing this about.*]

The school’s curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.

[If this is not yet fully the case, it is clear from leaders’ actions that they are in the process of bringing this about.*]

Page 50 – Impact

Pupils are ready for the next stage of education, employment or training. They have the knowledge and skills they need and, where relevant, they gain qualifications that allow them to go on to destinations that meet their interests and aspirations and the intention of their course of study. Pupils with SEND achieve the best possible outcomes.

Page 57 – Personal Development

  • providing an effective careers programme that offers advice, experience and contact with employers to encourage pupils to aspire, make good choices and understand what they need to do to reach and succeed in the career to which they aspire
  • supporting readiness for the next phase of education, training or employment so that pupils are equipped to make the transition to the next stage successfully. 

Page 61/2 – Grade descriptors for the quality of education – Good (2)

The curriculum and the school’s wider work support pupils to develop resilience, confidence and independence and lead a healthy and active lifestyle, helping them to know how to keep physically and mentally healthy. 

Secondary schools prepare pupils for future success in education, employment or training by providing: unbiased information to all about potential next steps and high-quality careers guidance and opportunities for encounters with the world of work. 

Page 62 – Leadership and Management

  • the extent to which leaders’ and managers’ high ambitions are for all pupils, including those who are harder to reach. This includes ensuring that practices such as ‘off-rolling’ do not take place and that the way the school uses the pupil premium is founded on good evidence
  • whether leaders and those responsible for governance all understand their respective roles and perform these in a way that enhances the effectiveness of the school. 

Page 79 – Evaluating sixth-form provision

  • how high-quality impartial careers guidance enables all young people to make progress and move on to a higher level of qualification, employment or further training when they are ready to do so.
  • students’ conduct and attitudes, including in non-qualification or enrichment activities and/or work experience, prepare them for employment or progress to higher levels of study.

Page 80/2 – Grade descriptors for the quality of education – Good (2)

Leaders adopt or construct a curriculum that is ambitious, appropriately relevant to local and regional employment and training priorities, and designed to give students, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life. 

The curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.

Students are ready for the next stage of education, employment or training. They have gained qualifications or met the standards that allow them to go on to destinations that meet their interests and aspirations and the intention of their course of study. Students with SEND/high needs have greater independence in making decisions about their lives.

The school prepares students for future success in education, employment or training by providing: unbiased information to all about potential next steps; high-quality, up-to-date and locally relevant careers guidance; and opportunities for encounters with the world of work.