Student Information

Ofsted: Careers

The current framework applies to learning and skills providers including maintained schools, academies, PRUs, FE and Sixth Form Colleges.

Within the current framework, under what inspectors will consider when making judgements about the effectiveness of leadership and management, there is specific reference to careers. It states:

“Inspectors will make a judgement about the effectiveness of leadership and management by evaluating the extent to which leaders, managers and governors successfully plan and manage learning programmes, the curriculum and careers advice so that all children and learners get a good start and are well prepared for the next stage in their education, training or employment.”

“Inspectors will make a judgement on the personal development, behaviour and welfare of children and learners by evaluating the extent to which the provision is successfully promoting and supporting children’s and other learners’ choices about the next stage of their education, employment, self-employment or training, where relevant, from impartial careers advice and guidance.”

To accompany the framework, Ofsted has issued new inspection handbooks for schools and further education providers.

The school inspection handbook describes the main activities undertaken during inspections of schools in England and applies to academies, community, foundation and voluntary schools, PRUs, special schools and CTCs. The handbook makes references to careers in its descriptors for grading.

For example, when making judgements on personal development, behaviour and welfare:

  • Outstanding grade descriptor: High quality, impartial careers guidance helps pupils to make informed choices about which courses suit their academic needs and aspirations. They are prepared for the next stage of their education, employment, self-employment or training.
  • Good grade descriptor: Pupils use careers guidance to make choices about the next stage of their education, employment, self-employment or training.

When making judgements on outcomes for pupils:

  • Outstanding grade descriptor: Pupils are exceptionally well prepared for the next stage of their education, training or employment and have attained relevant qualifications. Compared with the national average for all pupils, higher proportions of pupils and of disadvantaged pupils, progress on to a range of higher and further education establishments, apprenticeships, employment or training. These destinations strongly support their career plans.
  • Good grade descriptor: Pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their education, training or employment and have attained relevant qualifications. The proportion of pupils progressing to higher and further education establishments, apprenticeships, employment or training is close to or above average. These pupils do so at a level suitable to meet appropriate career plans.

The handbook also states that when inspecting the effectiveness of 16-19 study programmes, inspectors will consider how well:

“Learners receive high quality impartial careers guidance that prepares them for their chosen next steps and enables them to make well-informed decisions about their future plans.”

“Learners, and groups of learners, progress to the planned next stages in their careers, such as a higher level of education or training, or to employment or an apprenticeship.”

The FE and Skills inspection handbook identifies that inspectors should consider careers guidance provision when judging effectiveness of the following areas:

  • Leadership and management
  • Personal development, behaviour and welfare of learners
  • 16 to 19 Study Programmes
  • Adult learning programmes
  • Apprenticeship programmes
  • Traineeships
  • Provision for learners with high needs
  • Provision for 14 to 16 year olds

In addition, support for helping students achieve their career goals is referenced in making judgements about outcomes for learners and quality of teaching learning and assessment.

You can access the current documents from Ofsted here:

Common Inspection Framework

Handbooks and other documents