Quality Assurance of Career Education and IAG in Schools and Colleges

Career education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) for young people in schools and colleges throughout the UK is delivered through a partnership between, the school or college and an external provider of career guidance.   The statutory basis for this arrangement is different in each of the four nations and, partly as a consequence of careers policy being the responsibility of the devolved administrations, the arrangements for assuring the quality of the provision for young people also differ.

The information below provides a brief summary of the arrangements in the four UK nations, with links to other websites and pages that give more detailed information.

The three-pronged approach

There are three components to assuring the quality of CEIAG for young people in schools and colleges:

  • firstly, quality standards for the school’s or college’s programme of CEIAG
  • secondly, a UK-wide quality standard for the providers of career guidance services
  • thirdly, professional qualifications for career advisers providing career guidance.

Quality standards for CEIAG in schools and colleges

In England there are a number of quality awards for CEIAG, provided by career guidance companies and local authorities. Each of the awards provides a framework of standards that schools and colleges can use for self-review and evaluation of their provision, and they each offer the option of external accreditation leading to an award. Some of the awards are specific to their local areas, others are available more widely.

In 2012 the Quality in Careers Standard (QiCS) was established, to provide national validation of the various awards and to ensure that they were each of sufficient rigour. The CDI is a member of the Consortium that oversees the QiCS. Most, but not yet all, of the quality awards have achieved the national criteria. Further details of all the available quality awards, and the Quality in Careers Standard, can be found at http://www.qualityincareers.org.uk/

The quality awards are voluntary but the Statutory Guidance to schools, published by the Department for Education in March 2015, recommends that all schools should work towards a quality award national validated by the QiCS. Ofsted has placed increased emphasis on the inspection of CEIAG in schools and colleges in its common inspection framework https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/common-inspection-framework-education-skills-and-early-years-from-september-2015

On behalf of the Quality in Careers Consortium Board, David Andrews and Paul Chubb have recently written the Quality Awards for CEIAG in England - a Brief History, which explains the development of Quality Awards for careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) in England.

The Guide to The QiCs (June 2016), the overarching guide against which awards are assessed, has recently been updated and includes new information for independent schools.

In Wales there is a single, national award provided by Careers Wales. The Careers Wales Mark recognises a commitment to continuous improvement in the delivery of the Careers and World of Work curriculum.

In addition to this, the Welsh Government provides a national framework, The Careers and World of Work framework, which details the breadth of provision that schools and colleges must provide through their curriculum. The framework specifies what should be covered but does not dictate how schools and colleges should go about it. Careers Wales actively tries to build the capacity of the wider careers family in schools and colleges, enabling them to adopt a plan, do, review approach to the Careers and World of Work curriculum as a continuum of learning from year 7 to year 13. Further details of The Careers Wales Mark can be found at http://www.careerswales.com/prof/server.php?show=nav.5906 Estyn includes questions on both career education and career guidance in its inspection framework for schools.

Currently in Scotland there are no quality awards for CEIAG in schools and colleges but, under the Scottish Government’s strategy, Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, Education Scotland, and working with Skills Development Scotland, a Standard for Career Education (3-18) and a Standard for Work Experience, has been established. A third standard, for Education-Employer Partnerships, is due to be developed in September 2015.

It is anticipated that Education Scotland will inspect primary and secondary schools against these Standards. Currently, Education Scotland carries out geographical and thematic reviews of careers work undertaken by Skills Development Scotland: these can be found at http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/inspectionandreview/reports/othersectors/careersservices/index.asp

Similarly in Northern Ireland there are no separate quality awards for CEIAG but schools and colleges could choose to seek accreditation for one of the quality awards available from England.

In the Channel Islands both Guernsey and Jersey have recently decided to promote one of the quality awards from England to their schools.

Matrix: the UK quality standard for career guidance

The matrix Standard is the UK-wide quality standard for organisations, including sole traders, providing career information, advice and guidance. Colleges also seek matrix accreditation, for their provision of career guidance to students. Further details of the matrix Standard can be found at http://matrixstandard.com/

Professional qualifications for career advisers

We believe that career development professionals should be competent and reflective practitioners, professionally qualified to at least QCF Level 6 (in Scotland, SCQF Level 11), abide by the CDI Code of Ethics and undertake and records up a minimum of 25 hours of CPD each year. To promote professional standards and high quality career development support for individuals the CDI has established the UK Register of Career Development Professionals, details of which can be found at http://www.thecdi.net/Professional-Register-