Skills and Post-16 Education Bill: Careers information
Today the government have issued an amendement to the Skills and Post 16 Education Bill in which they have made some important changes to the Baker Clause.
High-quality careers education and guidance in school or college is critical to young people’s futures. It helps to prepare them for the workplace by providing a clear understanding of the world of work, including the routes to jobs and careers that they
might find engaging and rewarding. It supports them to acquire the self-development and career management skills they
need to achieve positive employment destinations. This helps students to choose their pathways, improve their life opportunities and contribute to a productive and successful economy.
What is the government’s policy objective?
The government wants to make sure that there are opportunities for providers of technical education and apprenticeships to visit schools for the purpose of informing year 8-13 pupils about approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships. Schools must allow providers to have a reasonable amount of time to meet the pupils and to provide all pupils with ‘career-focussed’ experiences, which will
• sharing information about both the provider and the approved technical education
qualification and apprenticeships that the provider offers;
• explain what career routes those options could lead to;
• provide insights into what it might be like to learn or train with that provider; and
• answer questions from pupils.
How will this work in practice?
The government proposes to amend the Education Act 1997, via the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, so that all pupils will have two mandatory encounters with providers of approved technical education qualifications or apprenticeships. One encounter in either
year 8 or year 9 (before 28 February if in year 9) and again in either year 10 or year 11 (before 28 February if in year 11).
These provider visits must be made available to, and attended by, all pupils and not preselected groups of pupils. The school must give each provider a reasonable amount of time to meet the cohort of pupils and must timetable their minimum number of provider visits during normal school hours. They may supplement this with provider visits at othermtimes.
Schools will also be required to offer a third encounter with providers of approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships, in either year 12 or year13 (before 28 February if in year 13) which will be optional for pupils to attend.
The Secretary of State for Education will also have the power to set out further detail in secondary legislation of the provider encounter in each key phase. For example, he could specify the number and type of providers that every pupil must meet. This could, for
instance, include a requirement for pupils to meet a representative from an FE college or University Technical College where there is one within reasonable travelling distance of the school.
Key questions and answers
How does this amendment fit with current provider access legislation?
Provider access legislation, commonly known as the ‘Baker Clause’, was introduced in 2018. This law requires all state schools to ensure that there are opportunities for providers of technical education and apprenticeships to visit schools for the purpose of informing year 8-13 pupils about approved technical education qualifications or apprenticeships.
The proposed amendment to the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill will strengthen the existing legislation so that every pupil meets providers to learn about technical options and inform decisions about their next steps. The government will require schools to provide two encounters that are mandatory for all pupils – one in year 8 or 9 and one in
year 10 or 11 – as well as a further encounter in year 12 or 13 that is optional for pupils to attend. The amendment will also ensure that all encounters are meaningful for pupils by establishing new minimum legal requirements about their duration and content. There is
also scope for the government to specify further detail about the number and type of provider encounters in secondary legislation.