Labour set out its plan to raise standards and increase opportunities for all young people – ensuring they get the dedicated advice they need for a successful transition from school and college to career.
Central to this is the reform and revitalisation of careers advice, which according to the Labour party is currently said by the Confederation of British Industry to be on ‘life support’ after years of neglect and reductions in support under the coalition government.
Under Labour’s pathway to work plan:
· All secondary school and college pupils will get guaranteed face-to-face advice from trained careers advisers, beginning at the age of 11.
· Integrated advice will ensure teenagers learn about high quality apprenticeships and technical degrees as well as traditional academic routes into universities. Schools will be held to account for the programmes they offer.
· Labour will reverse the Tory-led government’s decision to scrap compulsory work experience for 14 to 16-year-olds.
The new proposals, to cost approximately £50 million and to be funded and supported through a partnership between universities, schools, colleges, and employers, form a key plank of Labour’s education manifesto.
Labour’s plan will also:
· restore the role of Sure Start as family hubs in communities
· deliver smaller class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds, paid for by ending the Free Schools programme.
· tackle underachievement with new Directors of School Standards to support local schools.
· ensure all teachers become qualified and introduce new Master Teachers who are subject experts and specialists in classroom discipline
· build a gold-standard vocational route through education and into the workplace with a Technical Baccalaureate, compulsory English and maths to 18
· guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades.
Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party, said: “The biggest challenge Britain faces is preparing our young people today for the economy of tomorrow.
“Labour believes a world-class education is not a luxury, but a necessity.Young people must be equipped with the right skills, the right knowledge and the right advice they need to succeed.Failure to do this will not only cheat our young people of a decent future, it will cheat our country too.’
Tristram Hunt, Shadow Education Secretary, added: ‘Britain succeeds when all of our young people are supported to reach their potential. Too many young people are having opportunities closed off to them – whether that be accessing our leading universities or high quality apprenticeships.
Commenting on the announcements, Paul Bridle, CEO at emqc Limited (the assessment centre for the Governments matrix Standard for careers) said: “The statement today is a positive statement but only takes what is currently guidance to schools and makes some of it mandatory. Guidance for schools is that they provide careers education and independent careers advice for students. Today’s comments make the part about independent one-to-one advice mandatory.
‘Careers is more than one individual telling you about various pathways available. Careers is about providing Information, Advice and Guidance to students that enables them to think through the alternatives and what will lead to real jobs. Schools as a whole need to embrace how they are giving Information, Advice and Guidance relating to the students employability for real jobs. Schools can’t delegate careers to one person giving one-to-one careers counselling.
‘There is a need for a whole school strategy for careers education Information, advice and guidance which potentially links to PHSE and prepares students for life outside education.’