Careers co-ordinators in schools

Client: DCSF | NFER Contact: Marian Morris

The centrality of good quality and impartial information, advice and guidance for young people in schools has been emphasised from the 1997 Education Act (GB. Statutes, 1997) through to the 2005 Education and Skills White Paper (GB. Parliament. HoC, 2005) and the forthcoming Education and Skills Act. Recent changes to the range of options and courses open to young people aged 14 and above, including the advent of Diplomas, have highlighted the need for a professionally trained and qualified specialist workforce to teach and support careers education in schools.

The concept of a professional qualification in careers education and guidance (CEG) is not new, but attempts to ‘professionalise’ the skills and expertise of careers coordinators have not all been successful. The National Occupational Standards (1999), the National Standards for Subject Leaders (1999) and the national framework for professional qualifications (2004) for CEG, for example, were all based on the premise that the coordinator was a qualified teacher. This premise no longer holds true and a growing number of schools have appointed individuals from professional backgrounds other than teaching. The government-funded pilot NVQ Level 4 for careers co-ordinators was underpinned by the National Occupational Standards, but its failure to recruit the target numbers of 100 coordinators (or to retain those it did recruit), meant that the pilot was never ‘rolled out’ nationally.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) now wish to develop a national professional qualification for careers coordinators that is fully informed by personnel in such posts. It is hoped that the qualification would be able to take account of the different professional backgrounds and training of careers coordinators, to develop and accredit appropriate skills and overcome some of the current issues of inequitable practice across the whole of England. The NFER, in partnership with the National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling (NICEC)/Career Development Association (CRAC) have been commissioned to undertake this research.

Time scale: August 2008 - May 2009

NFER Project Code: CCB

Research report/findings

Further information on this project


Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons (2005). 14-19 Education and Skills (Cm. 6476). London: The Stationery Office [online]. Available: [7 October, 2008].

Great Britain. Statutes (1997). Education Act 1997. Chapter 44. London: The Stationery Office.