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This is what the UK governement intends for education services

September 14th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Much of the publicity about cutbacks in public spending in education in the UK have focused on the limitations in student numbers in universities and on the axing of the school building programme.

However, perhaps the most dramatic affect to date is being felt by the Careers Service, usually called Connexions. The Unison trade union have produced a summary of what is going on and it does not make for pretty reading.

Here are a few examples drawn from their survey.

In Luton, trade unions and employees are now being consulted on the Connexions proposals which involves the reduction of 12 full time posts, nine of which are currently filled; early cancellation of contracts with some voluntary sector providers; and reduction in the budget available for resources and other services to support work with young people.

In Thurrock, at least £304k cut from Connexions budget in year with approximately 10 jobs going, leading to reduced time available to provide a universal Information, Advice and Guidance service and track young people so as to support them into Employment, Education and Training

In Norfolk the cuts are more dramatic. “We are losing the Connexions brand and becoming guidance advisers, we are threatened with a 50% reduction in funding and the loss of 65WTE jobs. PA jobs are being cut and the structure for services vastly pared down impacting on delivery. Centres are being closed down so YPs have no access. Guidance will be electronic and phone based and two tiers of working are being delivered – targeted and tailored, suggesting some grading differential in pay too. No LDD PAs or casework managers.”

Similarly in Northamptonshire. “The whole Company, numbering 175, has been placed at risk of redundancy. The in-year cut to the Connexions service is £1.3 million out of a budget of £5.4 million, which will require a 40% reduction in the second half of the year to end of March.”

And so it goes on. Meanwhile the government blathers on hypocritically about its commitment to a universal and high quality careers service. Indeed, the Conservative Government in their manifesto proposed a new all-age careers service. At the Institute of Careers Guidance conference (November 2009) then shadow education minister David Willetts stated that he recognised the critical importance of high quality, impartial, universally available careers information and advice and of the economic and social benefits these bring

Sadly few outside the careers services realise what is going on. But everyone in education in the UK should be watching. For what is happening to the careers service today is a blueprint for what may happen to schools, colleges and universities tomorrow.

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