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On 16 June 2021, Mark Jenkinson presented the Education (Careers Guidance in Schools) Bill, which is a Private Member’s Bill to extend the duty for schools to provide careers guidance.

In his announcement of the Bill, the MP for Workington said it would extend the current requirements to provide careers guidance to include children in year 7, and implement the proposals in the Skills for Jobs White Paper, which the Government published in January 2021.

What would the Bill change?

The Bill would require all state-funded schools in England to provide careers guidance for children for the entirety of their secondary education. Currently, guidance does not have to be provided until year 8.

The Bill would place this duty on academies as well as local authority schools. Academies are not bound by the existing legislation, although many are required by their funding agreements to provide careers guidance in line with the requirements of local authority schools.

The Bill would have effect in England only. The explanatory notes set out the intention that the changes would come into effect on 1 September 2022.

Second Reading of the Bill took place in the House of Commons on 10 September 2021. The Bill’s Committee Stage debate took place on 27 October 2021.

Both the Government and Opposition have indicated their support for the Bill.

Recent efforts to improve careers education

In recent years, the Government has tried to improve the provision of careers education, most notably in the 2018-20 Careers Strategy and requirements on Ofsted to comment on careers guidance in its inspection reports. The Skills for Jobs White Paper set out plans to expand careers guidance, and more strictly enforce the requirements to give pupils information about technical education routes and apprenticeships.

The Library briefing, Careers guidance in schools, colleges and universities (England), provides wider information on the careers guidance system in England and its performance.

Private Members’ Bills

At the start of each parliamentary year, all backbench MPs are invited to enter a ballot. The few MPs who are lucky in the draw can each bring in a Bill of their choosing. Mark Jenkinson drew the first position in the ballot held on 20 May 2021.

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