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Careers guidance reforms could put jobs at risk, sector warns

Careers advisers employed directly by schools could lose their jobs under a shake-up of careers guidance, a leading body in the sector has claimed.

The Institute of Career Guidance says that clauses in the new Education Bill which require schools to seek "impartial" advice for pupils from outside the school could compel heads to sack in-house advisers.

The clauses aim to ensure children do not receive biased advice on important decisions, such as exam choices which the headteacher may favour, rather than the best options for individual pupils.

But institute president Steve Higginbotham believes careers guidance professionals are impartial whoever employs them.

He said that, in theory, schools could choose to employ in-house staff and buy in independent advice as well, but there was unlikely to be the money in budgets to "double up" provision.

He added: "I don't think the Government has properly thought this through. There's no real need for it and it is a very negative approach to dictate who can employ careers advisers. As professionals they are by nature impartial."

The move comes as part of a major shake-up of careers guidance services.

The reforms require schools to buy in impartial careers advice for pupils, either through a new all-age careers guidance service, due to be launched in September, or through a private provider.

Many careers professionals have expressed dismay at the reforms, claiming schools will not have the money to buy in services.

They have also warned that plans to remove schools' duty to provide general careers education as part of the curriculum could "marginalise" the subject.

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