Gill Featherstone, Tamaris McCrone, Clare Gardiner, Clare Southcott
02 September 2010
The Local Government Association (LGA) commissioned NFER to undertake research on the current ‘fitness for purpose’ of the Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) services provided to young people in the 14-19 context and to identify improvement and support needs for Local Authorities (LAs). This report presents key findings from an online questionnaire survey of Heads of Connexions and LA strategic managers with responsibility for IAG. The researchers also conducted advocacy interviews with respondents from areas with evidence of at least one aspect of IAG-related provision considered to be good practice, providing examples of IAG provision that could be replicated.
Commissioned prior to the UK general election of May 2010, NFER carried out the research between April and June this year. At time of publication, policy priorities for the new Coalition Government are still under review, and the implications of this research may need to be re-considered as priorities are finalised. However, the fundamentals of ‘good’ IAG identified by this research are applicable to any future provision arrangements.
- IAG services were widely perceived to contribute to raising learners’ aspirations. Respondents reported lower levels of confidence in terms of school and college IAG provision in contrast to external provision.
- Responses suggested that partnership working, where all partners understand their roles and ‘buy in’ to an overall local strategy is key to effective delivery of IAG.
- Respondents highlighted the need for clear strategic direction filtered down to all stakeholders, but also ownership of that strategy by all stakeholders.
- ‘Good’ IAG was also characterised by fully trained and qualified staff delivering provision. This requires LA managers and staff and Connexions Personal Advisers staff to be fully conversant and knowledgeable about IAG. It also requires training for senior leaders in schools, careers coordinators, form tutors and other staff to be trained in current IAG policy and how it relates, in particular, to the 14-19 pathways.
- Recommendations for improvement are also made in the report.