The organisation behind the International Baccalaureate (IB) is now targeting vocational qualifications, as it attempts to attract more state schools.
An alternative to the IB – the IB career-related certificate (IBCC) is being offered in 13 schools following a successful pilot scheme. Supporters of the new certificate, which combines traditional vocational courses with core IB subjects, say it is cheaper to provide and offers an option for pupils who want to combine vocational and academic studies. Headteachers involved in the pilot say the certificate could go some way towards filling the void left by the Diploma programme, developed at considerable expense under the previous government, but largely scrapped by the Coalition.
The launch comes at a time when qualifications are in the spotlight and facing increasing levels of scrutiny, both for their content and credibility.
There are 149 UK state schools offering the IB and another 11 applying to offer it. Of the 83 schools that have registered a formal interest in the past three years, 70 are from the state sector.
Leading Humber school is aiming to be one of the first to gain important quality standard.
Newland School for Girls in Hull wants to be one of the first schools in the country to become accredited as Business Ready™ – IEBE’s employability quality award, that recognises a school’s contribution to developing young people’s employability.
Head Teacher Angela Martinson explains that the decision for the school to apply for the standard was a logical one:
“Hull is ranked 5th in the list of UK cities most affected by the recession, so given these challenging local economic conditions, it is vitally important that our students develop employability skills to enable them to secure sustainable employment. Over the past few years, we have developed some outstanding relationships with over 100 local employers. Achieving this standard will mean we will be able to get even more from these critical connections.”
Vivian Carass, Careers Coordinator at the school, who is leading the application added:
“At Newland we view our links with local businesses as a key element of our curriculum offer. We believe preparation for the world of work is part of a good education, and we would be letting out students down if we did not give them all them skills and experience they need to progress beyond school. I am looking forward to working through the new quality standard by auditing our current work and looking at how it can enhance our programmes and practice.”
Business Ready™ is the quality standard to assess and recognise schools’ contribution to developing young people’s employability. It is part of IEBE’s Platform for Excellence™, which comprises quality standards for all individuals and organisations, and sits alongside its sister award for businesses – Education Ready™.
Schools who meet the standard are able to work more effectively with businesses to embed employability in the curriculum, maximise their the potential of their business relationships, and help young people prepare for productive and fulfilling working lives.
The Department for Education has published its statutory guidance for schools for the provision of careers guidance to young people in England.
- Be presented in an impartial manner
- Include information on the full range of post-16 education or training options, including Apprenticeships
- Promote the best interests of the pupils to whom it is given
Impartial is defined as: “showing no bias or favouritism towards a particular education or work option”, and independent as: “external to the school”. Careers guidance refers to:
“Services and activities, intended to assist individuals of any age and at any point throughout their lives, to make education, training and occupational choices and to manage their careers. The activities may take place on an individual or group basis and may be face-to-face or at a distance (including help lines and web based services). They include careers information provision, assessment and self-assessment tools, counselling interviews, careers education programmes, taster programmes, work search programmes and transition services.”
“The publication of this new statutory guidance marks an important step as schools prepare for the introduction of the new legal duty to secure independent careers guidance from September. Schools will be expected to work in partnership with external and expert careers guidance providers, as appropriate, to ensure pupils get good advice on the full range of post-16 options. The statutory guidance makes it clear that face-to-face careers guidance can benefit pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to make informed choices and successful transitions.”
The Education Act 2011 places schools under a duty to secure access to independent and impartial careers guidance for their pupils from September 2012. While complying with the requirement to secure careers guidance from an external source, schools will be free to make arrangements for careers guidance that fit the needs and circumstances of their pupils, and will be expected to work, as appropriate, in partnership with external and expert providers.
- Schools have a role to play in supporting their pupils to make well informed and realistic decisions by providing access to impartial and independent information and guidance about the range of education and training options that are most likely to help young people achieve their ambitions. This information will become increasingly important as young people will be required to participate in education or training until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17 from 2013, and to their 18th birthday from 2015.
- It is for schools to decide the careers guidance provision to be made available based on the needs of pupils and the opportunities available. Schools should meet the costs of provision from their overall budgets, including the pupil premium.
- The guidance will be reviewed by March 2013 following a consultation on extending the age range to which the new legislation relating to young people’s careers guidance will apply.
- Once the duty on schools has been commenced, there will be no expectation that local authorities will provide a universal careers service.
- The National Careers Service will be fully operational from April 2012. It will comprise a single website (from April) and telephone helpline number (0800 100 900) to which schools may wish to direct pupils.
- Careers guidance must be presented in an impartial manner and promote the best interests of the pupils to whom it is given. Careers guidance must also include information on all options available in respect of 16-18 education or training, including Apprenticeships and other work-based education and training options.
- In fulfilling their new duty, schools should secure access to independent face-to-face careers guidance where it is the most suitable support for young people to make successful transitions, particularly children from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who have special educational needs, learning difficulties or disabilities
- Schools may work individually or in consortia/partnerships to secure careers guidance services. Schools can commission independent careers guidance from providers engaged in delivering the National Careers Service or from other providers or individual careers guidance practitioners, as they see fit. Where schools deem face-to-face careers guidance to be appropriate for their pupils, it can be provided by qualified careers professionals.
- The Skills Funding Agency will require providers of the National Careers Service to be accredited to the revised version of the Matrix Standard by April 2013.
- Schools should consider a range of wider careers activities such as engagement with local employers and work-based education and training providers to offer all young people insights into the world of work, and with local colleges and universities for first-hand experience of further and higher education. Schools are free to determine the most appropriate forms of engagement but might consider mentoring, workplace visits, work experience, work shadowing, enterprise clubs, employer talks and links with local Higher Education institutions.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Budget 2012 was only about the 50p tax rate, the ‘granny tax’ and pasties. Well, pre-19 education did get a look in, but only just.
During his Budget speech, Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that the Government is exploring the idea of enterprise loans for young people to set up their own businesses. Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson had mooted the concept at the recent Global Entrepreneurship Congress. He suggested Government provide upfront finance, offering the same low interest rates and long payback terms that British undergraduates enjoy under the student loan system. Candidates who had a viable business plan could receive loans of £3,000-£5,000. The Chancellor did not outline any detailed plans, choosing instead to say a pilot will be conducted later this year.
Published alongside the Budget was an update to the Growth Review - a rolling programme (designed to last the whole of this Parliament) – calling on business to challenge the Government to remove barriers to growth. It provided updates to the 12 measures designed to:“make the education and skills system more responsive to employer needs”. These included:
Measure: The Government will invest £4.5 million over the next two years to support work experience as part of post-16 learning; work with the Federation of Small Businesses and other employer groups to review regulation impacting on work experience by the end of December 2011; and publish a guide to address common misconceptions about work experience.
Progress: 25 participating colleges in areas with the highest concentration of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) received additional Government funding to begin work experience trials in February 2012. Approximately 4,000 students will benefit. The Government also published a short myth-busting guide on work experience in December 2011, and is working with employer groups.
Measure: The Government will create an improved careers information portal as part of the National Careers Service from April 2012. As part of the Youth Contract, an additional £4.2 million over three years will be provided so that the service can provide careers interviews for 18–24 year olds within the first three months of being on Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Measure: The Government will publish destination information at ages 16 and 18 from Spring 2013 to encourage schools’ focus on young people’s future beyond school as well as attainment.
Progress: The Government will publish two destination measures: one at Key Stage 4 showing the destination of the young person the year after leaving compulsory education, to be published as experimental statistics in May 2012; and a 16-18 measure showing the destination after leaving by post-16 providers, to be published in 2013.
Measure: A group of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) – focused Sector Skills Councils will lead an industry group to kite-mark courses, helping students understand better which courses are valued by employers.
Progress: The measure will affect STEM courses in the 2013 Key Information Sets. However students will be able to access initial information on employer endorsement as part of the 2012 Key Information Sets, to be published in September 2012.
Measure: The Government will offer undergraduates access to mentoring support drawn from the existing network of STEM Ambassadors to give undergraduates insight into STEM occupations and raise the profile of the STEM sector.
Progress: Piloting will start in September 2012.
Rachel Riley from Channel 4′s Countdown visited 30 gifted and talented Year 10 and 11 mathematicians at Cornelius Vermuyden School, Canvey Island in Essex last month.
She was there to talk about the importance of maths for future employment prospects, and her own story of “grabbing opportunities with both hands.”
The special event was organised by IEBE Affiliate Stephen Cook, an independent education consultant and former teacher, who said:
“I have always tried to bring inspiring speakers into schools or take students out into real workplaces for them to realise they are in control of their destiny, and that with hard work and a positive attitude, success is possible whatever background they are from. Famous guests can have an immediate impact, but it’s important that they have a relevant message and know their audience before they arrive.
“With Rachel we wanted to inspire the students to realise their potential and for them to understand there are a range of excellent career opportunities utilising maths. She told them her story of taking opportunities and applying for both Oxford University and the job on Countdown because she had ‘nothing to lose’. Rachel grew up locally, so her story had a real impact on the students – they were absolutely blown away by her visit.”
Alongside teaching and leadership experience in secondary schools, Stephen Cook also has a background in media sales. He is passionate about getting young people ready for life and work , and delivers a range of workshops all over the country. For any more information visit www.engaging-effectively.com
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