Tackling the DfE’s guidance on careers in schools

In April 2017, the Department for Education released its statutory guidance for careers and university teaching in school.

In April 2017, the Department for Education released its statutory guidance for careers and university teaching in school. At BridgeU, we agree with the DfE that “high quality, independent careers guidance is crucial in helping pupils emerge from school more fully rounded and ready for the world of work. Young people want and need to be well-informed when making subject and career decisions”. BridgeU is delighted to introduce our Career planning tool, which helps schools meet the requirements laid out by the DfE, and provides better guidance and results for students.

OFSTED says careers advice in schools needs improvement

The DfE report points out that OFSTED has previously identified that careers advice in schools is in need of improvement. “Careers guidance in schools has long been criticised as being inadequate and patchy,” the report states. “Ofsted reported in 2013 that ‘only one in five schools were effective in ensuring that all students were receiving the level of information they needed’.” The way our education system is structured gives students a lot of responsibility from a young age for their own futures. What they choose at A-Level directly affects their options for further education and their future career.

Even the most mature and committed 15 and 16 year olds need help when making these life-changing decisions. Our Career planning tool offers independent, impartial guidance for students, but with a difference. Unlike traditional approaches to career advice, BridgeU brings a wealth of data on labour market trends and changes, predicting future demand for skill sets and jobs. To do this, we’ve partnered with Burning Glass Technologies, a leading aggregator of global job market data, to deliver up-to-the minute information on positions, wages and demand trends in worldwide professions.

Exploring a broad range of careers

We believe that students should think about a range of careers from an early age, and the DfE guidance concurs: “Schools should help every pupil develop high aspirations and consider a broad and ambitious range of careers.” BridgeU’s tools allow students to explore hundreds of job roles, broken down into concise and manageable categories. We don’t believe that a student’s answers to a set of binary questions, fixed at a moment in time, allows for breadth and ambition. Rather than using a questionnaire to fit a student into a narrowly-defined bracket for a specific job, we focus on the guided discovery of career options. Students journey through job categories to their associated specialisms in order to learn more about different professions. The career interests that a student selects are linked to our University Course Matching Tool, so students can cross-reference their career interests with potential Higher Education pathways.


Schools are told they should “consciously work to prevent all forms of stereotyping in the advice and guidance they provide, to ensure that… groups consider the widest possible range of careers.” BridgeU’s platform is completely independent and impartial, and our recommendations are driven entirely by data. The BridgeU algorithm is completely neutral, and without bias towards any course or institution. Instead, the focus is on guiding students to the most relevant information, and encouraging discovery and exploration in finding what is right for them.

Providing a clear framework

The DfE believes that “schools should have a strategy for the careers guidance they provide to young people. The strategy should be embedded within a clear framework linked to outcomes for pupils”. Our forthcoming professional scheme of work, and accompanying lesson plans, will ensure that the school can clearly demonstrate how they utilise BridgeU to provide clear learning outcomes for students, with a robust careers and university curriculum. By taking a holistic, data-driven approach to how we teach students about careers and higher education in school, we can ensure the next generation will be well prepared for their futures.

Chris Brown, former teacher at Woodcote High School, BridgeU Education Partnerships

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