New responsibility for schools


The New Duties A Summary

New responsibility for schools

The Education Act 2011 places schools under a duty to secure access to independent careers guidance for pupils in school years 9-11. This applies to secondary schools, special schools and pupil referral units.  Academies and free schools will be subject to the same requirements through their funding agreements. 

Careers guidance secured under the new duty must: be presented in an impartial manner; include information on the full range of post-16 education or training options, including apprenticeships; and promote the best interests of the pupils. Local authorities will retain their duty to encourage, enable or assist young people's participation in education or training. They will be required to assist the most vulnerable young people and those at risk of disengaging with education or work. Local authorities are also expected to have arrangements in place to ensure that 16 and 17 year olds have received an offer of a suitable place in post-16 education or training, and that they are assisted to take up a place.

This will become increasingly important as the participation age is raised. Local authorities continue to have a legal obligation, under section 68 of the Education and Skills Act 2008, to encourage, enable and assist the participation of young people in education or training. This duty also extends to young adults assessed – under section 139a of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 – as having learning difficulties and/or disabilities, up to the age of 25. The DfE has issued statutory guidance to local authorities regarding their continuing duties, with a particular emphasis on the need to maintain local tracking systems and effective partnership working with Jobcentre Plus.

UNISON recommends that schools are encouraged collectively to procure a careers advice service and that this is co-ordinated by local authorities. A collective approach by schools for a careers service is preferable to individual bids. This will lead to cost benefits and ensure consistency and coherence in the quality of the careers advice being given to schools. It will also be of benefit to the careers professionals as it will promote stability and consistency within the profession.

Consultation on careers guidance for schools, sixth form colleges and further education institutions

From this September, the Education Act 2011 will place schools under a duty to secure access to independent and impartial careers guidance for pupils in years 9-11. The new duty is informed by clear international evidence that teachers should be trusted to make decisions in the interests of their pupils, in order to raise standards. The purpose of this consultation is to gather views on whether the new duty should be extended down to pupils in year 8 and upwards to young people up to the age of 18 studying in schools, sixth form colleges and further education institutions. Subject to this consultation and to the parliamentary process, the DfE are aiming to amend the age range by regulations from September 2013.  The closing date of the consultation is 1 August 2012.  UNISON will be submitting a national response to this and this will be discussed at the national careers Forum meeting due to take place on 9 July 2012.  If you have any comments you would like us to raise please email these to by 2 July 2012.

The consultation details can be downloaded here.

Campaign - Why the Careers Service Matters

 We will be launching new campaign materials to highlight why the careers service is an essential public service, but branches and activists are reminded that a number of materials are on the UNISON website

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National Careers Council members announced

See  BIS press release on the membership of the National Careers Council.

As you will be aware, John Hayes supported the National Careers Task Force Forum recommendation that the Forum serves as a communication link between the Council and the careers sector.  UNISON has a seat on this Forum. Work will be taking place with colleagues to discuss this further with the NCC and put in place the relevant protocols to implement this outcome from our meeting with the Minister. Also see attached the latest CPA update, with news about the CPA register of career development professionals going live. UNISON will be attending a meeting of the National Careers Forum on 22 May where this and the landscape/crisis arising from government actions will be discussed.

News Item

Young People Call For Action on Careers Guidance

Young people in Kent have moved to secure a parliamentary debate on the quality of careers advice by launching a government e-petition, labelling current standards as “below satisfactory”. Further details can be found in the here

Best wishes

Denise Bertuchi

Assistant National Officer


Education and Children's Services

0207 121 5323


UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY


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