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MPs back law to guarantee careers advice to pupils from age of 11

professional advice

Hundreds of thousands of students will get career counseling from the age of 11 under a proposed new law backed by MPs.

The Education (Vocational Guidance in Schools) Bill requires all state-funded schools in England to provide such support to children from the seventh grade until they leave secondary school.

Career guidance is currently offered from Year 8 and the service is not provided by some academic trusts.

But Conservative MP Mark Jenkinson said his bill would ensure 650,000 seven-year pupils in England have the right to career guidance and bring 2,700 academics to scale.

The bill passed the House of Commons for a third reading without opposition and will come under further scrutiny in the House of Lords as it strives to become law.

The changes, which have the government’s support, are due to come into effect from September this year.

Mr Jenkinson, MP for Workington, Cumbria said: “This heralds a fundamental change in how we prepare the next generation for the professional challenges that lie ahead.

It will also embed career advice throughout secondary education, by providing regular and ongoing support to students every step of the way.

“It is designed, in short, to give our youth the best start and to maximize their opportunities.”

The father of four explained how the current statutory duty of career counseling applies to subsidized schools, private schools, and student referral units.

But it does not apply to academies, although funding agreements require many to provide such advice

Mr Jenkinson said: “This bill seeks to address this anomaly by placing the same requirement on all types of state-funded high schools, helping to create a level playing field.

“I hope this encourages a culture in which young people, regardless of their social background, are able to advance through merit and hard work.”

The deputy said the advice given to pupils should also be “consistent, of high quality and accessible to all”.

Mr. Jenkinson continued: “The standard of career guidance should not be a zip-code lottery, and we cannot leave the education of our next generation to chance – it should be based on a set of clear principles that clearly focus on the best interests of children.”

Shadow Education Secretary Toby Perkins gave Labor support for the bill, saying: “It is important that all students are aware of the full range of options available to them and that is why we believe there is a real advantage to ensuring that a range of organizations and institutions get the opportunity to attend school and get involved. With the students throughout their school trip.

Education Minister Alex Burgart said the government has more reforms planned to offer vocational advice and skills.

He told MPs: “We want to make sure that young people in all walks of life, regardless of their background, get a high-quality vocational education and that’s what our reforms will do because we want to raise the level of opportunity.

“The reforms outlined in the Skills for Jobs white paper will provide a real choice between high-quality technical and academic pathways, and it is critical that everyone has access to high-quality career guidance of the highest standards, so they are well informed about what happens next.”

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