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 is now a single national quality award for CEIAG, this is the Quality in Careers Standard. Full details on Quality in Careers can be found on the dedicated website www.qualityincareers.org.uk

The Standard is owned by the Quality in Careers Consortium, which has appointed a Consortium Board to oversee its implementation including setting the national criteria for assessment and accreditation of schools, colleges and work-based learning providers. These are set out in the Guide to the Standard available on the website.

The CDI is a member of the Consortium and is represented on the Consortium Board.

Whilst seeking accreditation through Quality in Careers is voluntary, schools in England are recommended to secure accreditation by the Department for Education in its Statutory Guidance as set out in the JJuly 2021 edition 

Ofsted has placed increased emphasis on the inspection of CEIAG in schools and colleges in its common inspection framework 

On behalf of the Quality in Careers Consortium Board, David Andrews and Paul Chubb have written a brief history of the quality awards in England which explains the development of Quality Awards for CEIAG in England culminating in the establishment of the single national award, the Quality in Careers Standard, in March 2017.

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 https://careerswales.gov.wales/getting-started-careers-and-the-world-of-work 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. 

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 https://education.gov.scot/inspection-and-review

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 Licensed Awarding Bodies for Quality in Careers from England (a number are already doing so).

In the Channel Islands both Guernsey and Jersey have recently decided to promote Quality in Careers through two of the Licensed Awarding Bodies in England to their schools.

Matrix: the UK quality standard for information, advice and guidance

The matrix Standard is the UK-wide quality standard for organisations, including sole traders, providing information, advice and guidance on learning and work. Colleges also seek matrix accreditation, for their provision of information, advice and 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-