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Vocational Guidance

Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent steps the Government have taken to improve career and further education guidance to young people. (213876)

Connexions services were transferred to local authorities in April. This will help to clarify and reinforce shared responsibilities locally for young people's information, advice and guidance (IAG). It will also facilitate the development of better integrated services more attuned to local needs. The Education and Skills Bill will make the delivery of Connexions services a statutory duty of local authorities. It also requires schools to deliver careers education impartially and to have regard to principles of careers education and to good practice guidance linked to the principles.

In March the Secretary of State wrote to all local authorities, setting out his expectations for the Improvement of IAG, emphasising their key role within 14-19 partnerships for improving IAG to young people on learning options. Furthermore strong emphasis on IAG in the Diploma Gateway process has meant that only those consortia with effective IAG provision are able to deliver the new Diplomas.

The aforementioned measures provide a context through which the quality of provision will be raised. Further improvements are being made through

The launch, in April 2008, of the new IAG support programme which will provide online support and resources, including good practice materials, briefing on key learning and careers issues and high quality careers materials for use in the classroom. The programme also includes the development of an online guide for practitioners which will provide up-to-date, impartial information on learning options that can be printed off for young people and their parents and carers.

The commissioning of research in 2008 that will help us to profile the skills gaps of careers coordinators in schools. This will, in due course, lead to the development of new continuing professional development provision for careers staff.

The publication by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) of a new 'Framework for Economic Well-being 11-19: career, work-related learning and enterprise'.

The commissioning of the Training and Development Agency (TDA) to review the support that they provide for the delivery of careers education in schools.

The development of arrangements for the provision of a free consultancy service, which will help 14-19 consortia to map their provision against the IAG quality standards and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Consortia will be able to draw down help from the Diploma support programme to help them to respond to identified weaknesses.