Navigating the Future: Enhancing Careers Guidance in SEND Settings

The recent Ofsted report on careers guidance within specialist settings has provided crucial insight into the state of careers education for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). This article aims to distil the essential findings of the report for careers leaders in SEND schools and colleges, offering practical actions to enhance the delivery of careers guidance. The MyFutureChoice programmes can support SEND students with independent and personalised career guidance.

The Importance of Leadership in Careers Education The Ofsted report underscores the pivotal role of leadership in shaping effective careers guidance. Careers leaders face the dual challenge of navigating their multifaceted roles and ensuring they possess the necessary qualifications and training. To overcome these challenges, it’s recommended that careers leaders advocate for dedicated time and resources to focus on careers guidance and pursue professional development opportunities, such as the fully funded training available for careers leaders.

Leaders regularly made sure that the voice of the child or young person was central to careers guidance.
Leadership of Careers

Adhering to the Gatsby Benchmarks: Meeting these benchmarks, particularly Benchmark 8, which focuses on personal guidance, can be challenging. Personalisation emerges as a key theme, with the need for careers plans to be tailored to the unique aspirations and needs of each SEND student. To meet these benchmarks more effectively, careers leaders should strive for a deep understanding of each student’s aspirations and utilise the benchmarks as a framework to structure an ambitious careers programme.

Fostering Employer Engagement and Work Experience Work experience is invaluable, yet establishing meaningful employer relationships can be difficult. Careers leaders should actively seek partnerships with local businesses and consider innovative approaches to work experience that accommodate the needs of SEND students. Facilitating employer training sessions on understanding SEND can also enhance the quality of work placements.

Leaders in our sample prioritised high-quality work experience and were establishing relationships with employers.
Work Experience and Employer Engagement

Ensuring Impartial Careers Guidance Impartiality in careers guidance is crucial for helping SEND students navigate their future paths. Employing or engaging with qualified careers advisers who can offer personalised, knowledgeable advice is essential. Building strong, trust-based relationships between students, careers advisers, and families will ensure that careers guidance is both effective and tailored to individual needs.

In the best examples, we saw providers using a qualified careers adviser to deliver one-to-one careers guidance.
Impartial Careers Guidance

Collaborating with Local Authorities and External Partners The report highlights the variability in support from local authorities. Effective collaboration and communication with local authorities are vital for securing successful student transitions. Careers leaders should initiate early and ongoing dialogue with local authorities to advocate for the needs of their students.

Integrating the Careers Curriculum Integrating careers guidance into the curriculum offers a holistic approach to careers education. Careers leaders should work closely with teaching staff to embed careers learning across subjects, ensuring that the curriculum is ambitious and aligned with the Gatsby Benchmarks. Staff training in careers guidance can also enrich curriculum delivery.

Local authorities and the partners they work with did not always give families and current education providers enough support with transitions.
Collaboration with Local Authorities and External Partners

Monitoring and Evaluation Ongoing monitoring and evaluation are key to the continuous improvement of careers guidance. Careers leaders should involve all stakeholders, including students and parents, in the evaluation process. Utilising destination data can also provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of careers programmes.

MyFutureChoice programmes play a pivotal role in facilitating ongoing monitoring and evaluation of students’ career guidance processes, especially in catering to the individual needs of students, including those with SEND. By providing staff with access to an online administration portal, MyFutureChoice programmes enable educators to add, manage, and monitor the progress of each student effectively. This feature is instrumental in ensuring that the careers guidance provided is continuously aligned with each student’s evolving aspirations and needs. The systematic approach offered by MyFutureChoice programmes ensures that monitoring and evaluation are not merely administrative tasks but integral components of a dynamic and responsive careers guidance system. This system empowers educators to provide personalised support, aligning closely with the Gatsby Benchmarks for excellent career guidance. By leveraging these tools, schools can ensure that their careers guidance programme is not only effective but also adaptable to the unique journey of each student.

Engaging Parents and Families Parents and families play a critical role in the careers guidance process. Effective communication and engagement strategies are essential for involving them in their child’s careers education. Regular updates, workshops, and inclusive events can help bridge any communication gaps and ensure a collaborative approach to careers guidance.

MyFutureChoice Programmes: Enhancing SEND Careers Guidance MyFutureChoice programmes offer a unique and effective solution to the challenges identified in the Ofsted report, particularly in providing personalised, impartial careers guidance for SEND students. With an emphasis on psychometrically based assessments, MyFutureChoice can help careers leaders to understand the individual abilities, interests, and aspirations of SEND students, facilitating the creation of personalised career plans that align with each student’s unique potential and preferences.

By integrating MyFutureChoice programmes into their careers guidance strategy, schools can ensure that SEND students receive comprehensive, tailored advice that empowers them to make informed decisions about their future education and career paths. These programmes can complement the efforts to meet the Gatsby Benchmarks by providing detailed insights into students’ strengths and potential career areas, thus enhancing the personal guidance offered to SEND students.

Moreover, MyFutureChoice’s online platforms and resources make it easier for careers leaders, students, and parents to engage in the careers guidance process, promoting collaboration and ensuring that all parties have access to the information and tools needed to support SEND students effectively.

The Ofsted report offers a roadmap for enhancing careers guidance in SEND settings. By focusing on leadership, personalisation, employer engagement, and collaboration, careers leaders can make a significant impact on their students’ futures. Incorporating MyFutureChoice programmes into this strategy can provide an additional layer of support, offering personalised, data-driven insights that are crucial for guiding SEND students towards fulfilling careers.

Call to Action Careers leaders, let’s use the insights from the Ofsted report and the capabilities of MyFutureChoice programmes as catalysts for reflection and action. Engage with professional development opportunities, foster meaningful partnerships, and continually strive for excellence in careers guidance. Together, we can ensure that every SEND student is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to navigate their future successfully. We are always looking to see how we can help careers professionals with SEND, so if there is a feature you would like to see in MyFutureChoice programmes please get in touch.

For more information on the independent review of careers guidance in specialist settings, visit the OFSTED report here.