CAREERS education is being neglected because many headteachers do not believe it merits timetable slots, a recent survey has found.
The survey of nearly 1,500 schools discovered a "battling army of careers specialists" struggling to deliver their subject - which often had to be taught in breaks, lunchtimes and after-school.
Careers lessons often depend on a headteacher's goodwill, although schools were found to have more committed careers staff than ever before, the National Association of Careers and Guidance Teachers has found.
Margaret Jones, NACGT president, said: "The barriers to better careers education are still blocking the way ahead. The problem is that too many headteachers, governors and staff still do not recognise how creers education can help their pupils. This lack of understanding is even apparent at
Nearly 95 per cent of schools said that they had a careers adviser - usually a full-time teacher with nearly six years' experience. Geography teachers were most likely candidates, the survey found - used by one in seven schools.
Schools devoted an average of 21 hours a year to careers advice for GCSE students; around 15 for sixth-formers; 13 hours for Year 9 pupils choosing their GCSE options and around six hours a year for the youngest secondary pupils.
Most schools believed that careers lessons helped to boost pupil achievement but fewer than half reported that the
lessons were highly regarded by students.