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Failing to deliver? Exploring the current status of career education provision in England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalResearch Papers in Education
Early online date16 Jan 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jan 2017


King's Authors


Currently, in England, there is widespread concern that careers education (information, advice and guidance) is relatively poorly resourced in schools and there is much debate about its current effectiveness. In this paper, we investigate students’ views on careers education provision and their satisfaction with this provision. The work draws on data collected via a national survey of over 13,000 Year 11 students aged 15/16 years and in-depth longitudinal interviews conducted with 70 students from this cohort (aged from 10 to 16 years). Our findings show that there is clear student demand for ‘more and better’ careers education and we conclude that some schools may not be meeting the statutory requirement to provide impartial careers support for all students. Moreover, our quantitative analyses indicate that provision of careers education in England is currently patterned in ways that may be working to promote inequalities relating to gender, ethnicity and social class. Findings from our interview data offer insight into possible influencing factors and suggest that the majority of careers support is provided via a ‘self-referral’ system, which disadvantages those who, arguably, might benefit most. We conclude by discussing the implications of these patterns and suggest some potential, more equitable, ways forward for schools and teachers. Specifically, we recommend that targeted resourcing is needed for schools and teachers to engage and support disadvantaged students, and suggest greater monitoring of participation (not just provision).

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