Education Secretary Michael Gove defends career advice changes

From left to right: Ben, Emilie, Pat Glass and Graham Stuart Ben and Emilie discuss the meeting with committee member Pat Glass (Labour) and committee chairman Graham Stuart (Conservative)

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Earlier this year School Reporters Emilie and Ben from Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove shared their views about the proposed changes to GCSE's and subsequent u-turn.

To find out more about how education policies are discussed in Parliament and the Minister for Education is held to account they attended an Education Select Committee hearing. Here's their report on the session.

Education Select Committee report:

Education Secretary Michael Gove has defended the Government's decision to cut the £200m schools' careers service.

Mr Gove mounted a robust rebuttal in the face of cross-party criticism from the Education Select Committee.

Members of the committee cited the recent finding by schools' inspectorate Ofsted that careers advice was not working effectively in three-quarters of schools.

Committee chairman and Conservative MP Graham Stuart told Mr Gove he had "taken an appalling situation and made it worse." Schools now have to provide careers advice out of their own resources.

Mr Gove said there was no evidence the situation was getting worse and he believed it was getting better.

Pressed by the chairman to provide evidence, Mr Gove said that measuring the destinations reached by students would, in time, drive up standards of career advice.

Mr Stuart doubted that, saying there was a tension between schools offering objective careers advice and needing to fill their own sixth form places.

Mr Gove said the best careers advice would come from local employers.

Labour member Ian Mearns agreed that the old system had been inadequate but questioned whether business could fill the gap. In his constituency, he said, there were many small businesses which simply did not have the resources to get involved with career advice.

Asked if he thought careers guidance should be part of teacher training courses, Mr Gove said "no" and added that he was convinced local employers were best placed to provide both inspiration and advice.

CAREER PROSPECTS WORRY

Emilie and Ben

School Reporters Emilie and Ben attended the Select Committee meeting after welcoming the decision earlier in the year not to make changes to GCSE exams and then admitted they are uncertain about how to search for a career. (link to other page here)

Later, the committee quizzed Mr Gove on the GCSE curriculum. Before the hearing, the committee had asked for questions from the public via Twitter.

Many that came in had been about proposed changes to the core subjects for GCSEs. One asked whether Mr Gove still believed drama was only valid outside the curriculum.

"I have never suggested that," said Mr Gove. "I am very anxious to ensure that dance, drama, art and design and music are all there as options."

Mr Gove was questioned about his decision last week to turn down a bid for a large number of additional grammar school places in Kent.

Did this represent a change of heart?

Mr Gove thought his message to grammar schools was best expressed by quoting the singer Billy Joel: "Don't go changing, to try and please me....I love you just the way you are."

After the hearing, we spoke to Committee chairman Graham Stuart and Labour member Pat Glass.

Both said they would continue to press for better careers guidance for students. "We will not let this go," Mrs Glass told us.

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