Agenda item

11:05 Connexions


Vivian Stafford introduced the update item on developments in Careers, Education and Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG).


There is a national changing policy landscape, responsibility for the delivery of CEIAG in schools has changed with the passage of the Education Act, 2011. Schools have become responsible for provision of CEIAG for their young people from Sept 2012. Schools are expected to deliver CEIAG through ‘career directed learning’ or ‘cross curricular careers learning’ and to include young people from year 9 to 11. Schools are expected to work with the Council and providers of IAG to support young people without the need for legislation.


For Local Authorities (LAs):

·  They will retain their statutory duty to encourage, enable or assist young people’s participation in education or training.

·  Early Intervention Grant to be used to support the engagement of vulnerable young people and those at risk of disengagement.

·  Expected to have regard to the following guidance when organising services:

·  Tracking and supporting young people.

·  Work with JobCentre Plus to ensure NEET receive a complimentary package of support.

·  No expectation that LA’s will provide a Universal service from September 2012.

·  LA’s IAG support to target vulnerable young people aged 16 to 18 only.

·  There is an expectation that LA’s will work with schools to ensure vulnerable young people receive the support that they need.

·  LA’s will expect to receive data from schools relating to their young people.


A National Careers Service will be established from April 2012.The service will include online and telephone support plus some face-to-face guidance support for people aged 19+. It builds on the Next Step adult IAG service and the national Connexions Direct service. The recently revised Matrix Award will be the recognised standard.


A number of challenges were outlined:

·  Providing a service for young people from 1st April through to the 31st August 2012.

·  Delivering the 2012 September Guarantee.

·  The interface with the school or academies offer pre-16 from September 2012.

·  Ensuring smooth data transfer of learner information – informing the NEET count and September Guarantee.

·  Ensuring synergy with the National Careers Service


Currently the Council procures a universal service for all young people and a targeted service for young people not in education, employment and training (NEET) and vulnerable groups.  The changing policy landscape in CEIAG is significant for schools and Secondary Headteachers have been briefed.  Schools should develop or procure a service from a provider that best suits their children’s requirements.


Councillor Sheila Clarke asked about the current GM Connexions contract.


Vivian Stafford replied that an in-year reduction and a supplemental agreement to enter into discussions regarding developing a service in 2012 was agreed with Connexions in June 2011. Discussions were in place from September 2011. A parallel procurement process was entered into to mitigate risk. By 31 January 2012 the potential service with the current provider will be agreed.


Vivian Stafford noted that although the LA contract price would be reduced we are buying a different service and schools would be purchasing additional support.


Councillor Sheila Clarke asked about learners with learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD). 


Schools take responsibility for providing information and the LA would also be identifying where best to target the additional support. There is an effective communication strategy for Wirral residents.


Kathryn Podmore noted that we need to ensure that all young people across Wirral are getting quality CIEIG.


Derek Kitchin noted that Secondary Headteachers had discussed this and particularly the cost implications.  He agreed with Kathryn Podmore that there could be issues sharing of information if schools and academies access different providers.


Councillor Sheila Clarke noted that Special Schools may have challenges.  Vivian Stafford noted that information had been provided to Special Schools and the PRU as they would have responsibility to provide CIAEG to their own children.


Councillor Ann McLachlan requested an update at a future meeting.


Resolved - The Board note the report.


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