Letters, November 16: Careers advice in schools is now a lottery

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From: Jane Murphy (careers adviser), The Willows, Everton, Doncaster.

From: Jane Murphy (careers adviser), The Willows, Everton, Doncaster.

OFSTED head Sir Michael Wilshaw blames “selfish headteachers” for poor careers advice in school during his evidence to House of Lords Select Committee. It is a great shame that the Government was not held to account for the way careers advice in school has been decimated by the dismantling of the Connexions Service.

Careers advice delivered by staff who are employed by schools can never be truly impartial while there is a requirement to fill sixth form seats in order to secure funding.

The Connexions service provided appropriately qualified careers advisers who delivered independent, impartial advice and guidance with the young person’s best interests at 
heart.

In addition, they often spent time out of school visiting employers to gather local labour market information to inform their practice and encourage links between schools and industry and promote apprenticeships where appropriate. Delivery staff were monitored to ensure all young people received a quality assured service.

Since the Government withdrew funding and redirected it to headteachers’ shrinking budgets (The Yorkshire Post, November 12), careers guidance in schools has become a postcode lottery, delivered by a variety of individuals with no base line for skills and qualifications. Some schools have dug deep and employed careers advisers. However, without links to a central service and with vastly increased caseloads, less time to spend with each young person and no access to continuous professional development, the quality and quantity of careers advice has diminished.

Is it any wonder our young people are receiving at best, inadequate advice and in some schools downright unethical and ill considered guidance?

There is a whole army of redundant careers professionals, saddened and frustrated by the situation created by the Government. Action must be taken quickly to reintroduce a properly funded, impartial service delivered by careers professionals and let teachers and headteachers return to the important task of educating our young people.

Steel crisis needs Charles

From: Edward Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe, York.

THE Yorkshire Post’s Editorial columns are the “hallmark” of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper and none more so than your column on ‘the pragmatic and practical prince’ to acknowledge the work of Prince Charles and his Trust (The Yorkshire Post, November 11).

The Prince’s practical and pragmatic example to the nation’s young people is well documented, as is his support for buying British to aid family-run farms facing falling commodity prices.

His support for the countryside, and his practical support for farmers, is also to be applauded. Also, the Prince has been quick to appreciate the real difficulties that rural communities face in terms of animal disease and extensive flooding in towns, villages and large areas of farmland.

On his return from New Zealand, if he is not too busy with all of these practical and pragmatic acts of kindness, could he please focus on the devastating effects of the cuts to steelmaking at Redcar, Scunthorpe and other sites around Britain?

Some 2,700 jobs have gone at Redcar, with the closure of the SSI-owned company, another 800 ancillary workers will go by the end of November and by January 2016 another 500 in the supply chain will be directly or indirectly affected. So far as Scunthorpe is concerned, the job losses are of the order of 900 so far.

This is not just ‘distress’ in these steel towns caused by the dumping of cheap Chinese steel, as some imply. It is causing absolute turmoil.

Distractions of
breast feeding

From: Charles Taylor, Hemingfield Road, Hemingfield, Barnsley.

YOUR Editorial (The Yorkshire Post, November 12) raises the question of what is reasonable, decent, and even necessary about women breast-feeding babies in public. One can’t escape the conclusion that it’s really all part of one of the ‘women’s rights’ arguments, the pros and cons of which could go on forever.

However, when it comes to the House of Commons, I would certainly want my MP, should she be female, to have her attention firmly fixed on the Government business in hand, and not on the possible antics of an infant at her bosom.

Mystery over
police payout

From: Eric Scott, Algarth Rise, Pocklington.

HOW does Humberside Police, recently named as the worst force in Britain, manage to be so incompetent as to pay £39,000 to move police chief Justine Curran from Scotland to Humberside?

We hear they are short of money. What we need is better management and more care of the taxpayers’ money.