Navigating the Winds of Change: An In-Depth Look at Ofsted’s Survey on CEIAG 

The long-anticipated Ofsted Thematic Survey of Career Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in September 2023 has unfurled an array of insights and recommendations that aim to navigate the course of career guidance in schools and colleges. The essence of this survey resonates with the core mission of MyFutureChoice, which has always been to empower Heads of Careers with the right tools and knowledge to sculpt the career pathways for the future leaders of our society. As we delve into the key takeaways from the survey, we are aligning our compass to ensure that the sails of career guidance are set right to steer the students towards a horizon of boundless opportunities. 

The Crux of the Matter: 

Recruitment and Observation Challenges: The survey encountered roadblocks in recruiting a diverse range of FE & Skills providers. Although it scrutinised 30 schools and 14 FE & Skills providers, the absence of direct observation of CEIAG sessions was a limitation, hinting at a potential area for more thorough analysis in future reviews. 
Quality and Comprehensiveness of CEIAG: A spectrum of indicators such as adherence to the Baker Clause, engagement with local stakeholders, and the level of parent & carer involvement were explored to gauge the quality and inclusiveness of the CEIAG provision. 
Strategic Planning and Employer Engagement: The survey accentuated the need for a strategic lens towards career guidance, underpinned by the Gatsby Benchmarks, to foster authentic and meaningful employer engagement. 

A Closer Look at the Recommendations: 

Maximising Network Benefits: Schools, FE & Skills providers are encouraged to harness the potential of networks like careers hubs to bolster employer engagement. 
Expertise and Continuous Development: The emphasis is on ensuring that the careers programme is steered by staff with the requisite expertise, supported by seasoned careers specialists. 
Promoting Parity of Esteem: An urging to dissolve the traditional dichotomy between academic and technical routes, promoting them with equal vigour. 
Enhancing Employer Encounters: Schools are advised to ensure that encounters with employers are enriched with insightful information about qualifications, career pathways, and a glimpse into the realm of learning with the provider. 

The Role of Data: 

Destinations Data: The arduous task of aggregating post-16 and post-18 destinations data back to schools poses a challenge, calling for innovative solutions to streamline this process. 
Data on Careers Advisers: A plea for a more precise data collection method to ascertain the number of careers advisers in schools, and the extent of students’ access to quality guidance. 
Elevating the Status of Careers Advisers: A call to action to enhance the appeal of the careers adviser role, recognising their indispensable contribution to shaping students’ future trajectories. 

A Sailing We Will Go

The voyage through the intricacies of the Ofsted Thematic Survey of CEIAG unveils a map laden with potential pitstops and routes that can significantly impact the journey of career guidance in schools and colleges. As Heads of Careers, the onus is on us to meticulously examine these insights, adjusting our sails to the winds of change, ensuring a voyage that is not just educative but transformative for our students. 

The path ahead, albeit laden with challenges, is also ripe with opportunities for collaborative efforts, innovative approaches, and a unified commitment towards delivering exemplary CEIAG. With the compass of Ofsted’s insights and recommendations in hand, and the wind of collective resolve in our sails, the horizon of an empowered, informed, and vibrant future for our students is not just a distant dream but a navigable reality. 

As we continue to delve deeper into the myriad aspects of this survey in the coming blogs, we invite you to join us in this exploratory journey, sharing insights, experiences, and the unyielding resolve to make career guidance a lighthouse in the stormy seas of educational challenges.

Key Takeaways for Careers Leads

The recent Ofsted review sheds light on substantial areas needing improvement, notably around the collection of post-16 and post-18 destinations data. The existing challenge of relaying this data back to schools or FE and skills providers is acknowledged, with a suggestion for collaborative solutions. Engaging with local authorities or academy chains could ease this data aggregation, saving time and resources for schools. Additionally, the review accentuates the necessity to uplift the status and remuneration of careers advisers. As careers leads, advocating for better conditions and liaising with professional bodies like the CDI could significantly bolster the profession’s esteem, attracting more qualified individuals.

The dissemination of information regarding T Levels to schools and employers is also pinpointed, requiring a more refined approach. Being proactive in staying updated, and ensuring that both staff and students are well-informed about T Levels and other technical pathways is crucial. This calls for an active role from careers leads in liaising with the DfE and other stakeholders to ensure a smooth flow of relevant information. Early-stage careers education is another focal point, with a call for more explicit careers education aims at Key Stage 3. This aids in a seamless transition and informed choices at Key Stage 4, laying a solid foundation for students’ future career paths.

Lastly, accurate data on the number of careers advisers and the accessibility of personal guidance is vital for improving the current state of careers guidance provision. Advocacy for a systematic approach towards data collection could be a significant step towards this goal. Engagement with the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) for enhanced support is also advised. Actively leveraging support from the CEC and advocating for school-wide recognition of the value of CEIAG is essential. This, along with fostering closer collaboration between schools and FE and skills providers, could lead to a more integrated approach towards careers education, nurturing a culture that values and prioritises career guidance.

Summary of key findings

Below is a table summarising the key findings and recommendations from the survey.

Area of FocusKey FindingsRecommendations
Recruitment and ObservationDifficulty in recruiting diverse FE & Skills providers.

Lack of direct observation of CEIAG sessions.
Future reviews to include direct observation of CEIAG sessions.
Quality of CEIAG Varied adherence to the Baker Clause.

Engagement with local stakeholders differed among providers.
Engage with local stakeholders to tailor CEIAG provision to the local area.

Involve parents & carers in the CEIAG process.
Strategic Planning & Employer Engagement Gatsby Benchmarks underutilised in strategic planning.

Employer engagement needs to be authentic and personalised.
Adopt Gatsby Benchmarks for strategic planning of CEIAG.
Expertise and Continuous Development Need for staff with necessary expertise in delivering CEIAG.

Staff knowledge on technical pathways needs enhancement.
Promote technical pathways alongside academic routes using updated statutory guidance.
Employer Encounters Employer encounters often lacked in-depth information.Make employer encounters more beneficial by including comprehensive information on qualifications and career routes.
Data Collection Difficulty in aggregating post-16 and post-18 destinations data.

Lack of precise data on the number of careers advisers.
Improve data collection to ascertain the number of careers advisers in schools and FE & skills providers.
Role of Careers Advisers Low appeal of the careers adviser role.Increase the attractiveness of the careers adviser role and review approaches to disseminate information about T Levels to schools and employers.
Student listening to careers adviser

What should Careers Leads in schools look at?

Qualified Careers Professionals

Recognition of the importance of having appropriately qualified careers professionals is growing among schools. 
Statutory guidance emphasises the need for level 6 qualifications and registration with the CDI. 

MyFutureChoice programmes can serve as a robust supplement, providing expertly designed guidance and resources.

Effective Collaboration

Effective career guidance is fostered through close collaboration among school leaders, careers leaders, and other staff members. 
Personalised guidance is critical to making the most of limited guidance time. 

MyFutureChoice programmes can further personalise and enhance the guidance process, bridging gaps between various stakeholders. 

Linking Curriculum to Careers

While many schools are attempting to link curriculum learning to careers, the implementation is inconsistent and often hindered by time and resource constraints. 

MyFutureChoice’s offerings can serve as a vital link between curriculum learning and real-world career insights, easing the integration process. 

Collecting Destination Data

Schools find collecting destination data challenging due to time constraints and GDPR barriers, yet this data is crucial for informing effective CEIAG. 

Utilising MyFutureChoice programmes can streamline this process, ensuring compliance while providing actionable insights. 

Parity Between Academic and Technical Routes

Improvements have been noted since 2013, though challenges remain in obtaining access to skills providers and ensuring quality advice. 

MyFutureChoice programmes provide balanced guidance on both academic and technical pathways, ensuring students receive comprehensive advice. 

Parental Involvement

Parents are a significant influence in CEIAG yet are often underutilised. 

Engaging parents through MyFutureChoice programmes can foster a supportive environment for students’ career planning. 

Work Experience and Employer Encounters

These are crucial yet underutilised, with the pandemic altering the landscape of work experience opportunities. 

MyFutureChoice programmes can facilitate meaningful employer encounters and work experiences, adapting to the hybrid model necessitated by recent challenges. 

Resource and Time Allocation

Schools are doing their best to allocate resources for CEIAG, although the reality often reflects the prioritisation by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). 

Leveraging MyFutureChoice programmes can optimise the resource allocation, ensuring that CEIAG remains a priority even amidst constraints. 

The summary underscores the critical areas where MyFutureChoice programmes can significantly enhance the CEIAG provision, aligning with the evolving needs and recommendations highlighted in the Ofsted Thematic Survey of CEIAG 2023. 


The Ofsted Thematic Survey of CEIAG 2023 unveils several areas of focus that Heads of Careers need to prioritise to enhance the career guidance framework within their institutions. A crucial takeaway is the necessity of having appropriately qualified Careers Professionals onboard. The survey emphasizes the importance of professional expertise in delivering effective CEIAG, urging adherence to statutory guidance regarding qualifications and registration with the CDI. Moreover, the highlighted significance of close collaboration among school leaders, careers leaders, teachers, and other staff members underscores the collective effort required to make career guidance more effective and personalised. MyFutureChoice programmes can play a pivotal role in this scenario, providing the requisite resources and expert guidance to bolster the career education framework. 

Furthermore, the challenges around collecting destination data and linking curriculum learning to careers are areas where external support systems like MyFutureChoice programmes can be instrumental. These programmes can serve as a conduit between curriculum learning and real-world career insights, aiding in overcoming the time and resource constraints often faced by schools. Moreover, they can streamline the process of collecting and analysing destination data, which is crucial for tailoring CEIAG provision effectively. The survey also sheds light on the need for a balanced guidance approach towards both academic and technical pathways, which is an area where MyFutureChoice programmes can provide comprehensive and unbiased guidance, ensuring students are well-informed about all available pathways. 

Lastly, the underutilisation of work experience and employer encounters, coupled with the often overlooked involvement of parents in the CEIAG process, are areas ripe for improvement. MyFutureChoice programmes can bridge these gaps by facilitating meaningful employer encounters and engaging parents in the career guidance process. The changing landscape due to the pandemic has also necessitated a more flexible and adaptive approach towards work experience opportunities, which MyFutureChoice programmes are well-positioned to support. As Heads of Careers navigate through the findings and recommendations of the Ofsted survey, integrating solutions like MyFutureChoice programmes can significantly enhance the CEIAG provision, aligning it with the contemporary needs and standards highlighted in the survey.