Yesterday I was fortunate enough to visit a school with a colleague as part of my job (it certainly beat being stuck in the office 9-5). Having left school almost 10 years ago it was a very nostalgic experience for me. To walk down the schools corridors, the smell, the library. What struck me most was how much duty of care the school placed towards their students. They are a school that encourages healthy eating, a school that encourages students to have a voice. My colleague interviewed small groups from years 7 through to 13 to ask them what provisions their school puts in place regarding careers advice and guidance. All groups were enthusiastic, confident, spoke well of the school and of the teachers. I had a feeling that this was nothing to do with the fact they were being interviewed; these were their own genuine views.
My own experience at secondary school was much different. I never knew what I wanted to do at school and in my adult life I still don’t. Even though we had PSHE classes in retrospect these weren’t delivered very well. I think schools really need to make more of an effort in guiding students and preparing them for academia or the working world beyond school. We are made to make big decisions at such a young age whether it be choosing what subjects to choose for GCSE at Year 9 or choosing what to do after leaving school. With so little guidance it is no wonder that the system is failing young people today. Whilst it’s a great idea that the government demands that students stay in education or choose an apprenticeship, this has little impact if students have not had the guidance to know what vocation is best suited to them.
At least Nick Clegg recognises that something needs to be done to reduce NEET figures amongst 16-24 year olds and that schools need to do more to offer students career provisions. Let’s hope actions speak louder than words.