1m pupils miss out on careers guidance

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A TORY MP has attacked his own Government over the failure to provide the right-quality careers guidance for more than 1.3m secondary pupils.

Chairman of the education select committee and Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart said the latest figures, extrapolated from data from Ofsted and the House of Commons Library, “should shame the Department for Education into action”.

Mr Stuart, who described the figures as the “elephant in Michael Gove’s red box”, said the department was spending just 0.008 per cent of its total budget on funding the new National Careers Service.

In a speech in London today he will say: “At the moment, the potential of the National Careers Service to help our young people is largely going to waste.

“The stakes are high – both for young people and for the Government itself, whose reforms are undermined if there is no decent signposting within education and between education and the world of employment.”

Mr Stuart believes an extra £50m, out of a budget just shy of £57bn, “could make a huge difference and deliver a more sophisticated and responsive service” and that schools should be held to account over the advice they give.

Currently schools are not explicitly tested for careers advice by Ofsted.

A recent report by the Pearson think-tank showed more than a quarter of schools polled said there had been less career provision in 2012/13 than the year earlier, with particularly sharp falls in areas such as the availability of work experience, which was down 14 per cent.

Since last September secondary schools have had a legal duty to provide careers advice to pupils.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Ofsted’s recent review of careers guidance confirms there is more to do, and the Government has published plans to better equip schools to take on their responsibilities by improving resources and strengthening statutory guidance.”