Central Careers Hub

Must or Should – Careers guidance and inspiration in schools. Statutory guidance for governing bodies, school leaders and school staff April 2017

This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education. This means that recipients must have regard to it when carrying out duties relating to careers guidance. The DFE uses the terms ‘must’ when the person in question is required to do something in law and ‘should’ when they are setting out a requirement in the statutory guidance to which they should have regard.

Everything that is should is in this document:


I suggest for a comparison with previous statutory guidance you go to:


Below are all the musts I could identify in this latest DFE draft. Not making any comments, just identifying the musts for you, and with the announcement of the new general election who knows when the new Careers Strategy will be announced?


In-house support for pupils must be combined with advice and guidance from independent and external sources to meet the school’s legal requirements.

The governing body must ensure that the independent careers guidance provided:

  • Is presented in an impartial manner
  • Includes information on the range of education or training options, including apprenticeships and other vocational pathways
  • Is guidance that the person giving it considers will promote the best interests of the pupils to whom it is given.

Schools must secure independent guidance that includes information on the full range of education and training options, including apprenticeships and vocational pathways.

The Government has raised the participation age (RPA) so that all young people in England are now required to continue in education or training beyond the age of 16. Young people who left year 11 in summer 2013 were required to continue in education or training for at least a further year. Those who left year 11 in summer 2014 are the first cohort required to continue until at least their 18th birthday. Schools must ensure that young people are clear about the duty and what it means for them. In particular they must be clear that young people are not required to stay in school; that they can choose how to participate which might be through:

  • Full time study in a school, college or training provider;
  • An apprenticeship, traineeship or supported internship;
  • Full time work or volunteering (20 hours or more) combined with part time accredited study.

All schools (including academies and other state-funded educational institutions) must provide relevant information about all pupils to local authority support services. This includes: i) basic information such as the pupil’s name, address and date of birth. ii) other information that the local authority needs in order to support the young person to participate in education or training and to track their progress. However, schools must ensure that they do not provide this additional information if a pupil aged 16 or over, or the parent of a pupil aged under 16, has instructed them not to share information of this kind with the local authority. The school’s privacy notice is the normal means of offering young people and their parents the opportunity to ask for personal information not to be shared.

Schools must also notify local authorities whenever a 16 or 17 year old leaves an education or training programme before completion. This notification must be made at the earliest possible opportunity to enable the local authority to support the young person to find an alternative place. It is for schools and local authorities to agree local arrangements for ensuring these duties are met

Andy Gardner April 2017

Comments 6

  1. Janet Harris

    Thanks Andy,
    Disappointed to find so few ‘musts’ but plenty of ‘shoulds’
    There is a mistake on page 3 as it states this is the latest review since April 2014
    but it was April 2015.

    1. Post

      Sorry for the delay Liz – this the best we have I think, from GOV.UK
      You can leave school on the last Friday in June if you’ll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays.
      You must then do one of the following until you’re 18:
      stay in full-time education, for example at a college
      start an apprenticeship or traineeship
      spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

    1. Post
  2. tengshey

    On Thursday h April, the Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise published a document called “Careers guidance and inspiration for young people in schools”.

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