In January 2012 there were 3,268 state-funded mainstream secondary schools in England. Education is devolved in the United Kingdom; school census information is available separately for the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
As of September 2012, Section 29 of the Education Act 2011 places schools “under a duty to secure access to independent careers guidance for their pupils.” The Department for Education outlines what this should comprise of.
Statutory guidance issued by the DfE:
1. Careers guidance secured under the new duty must: be presented in an impartial manner; include information on the full range of post-16 education or training options, including apprenticeships; promote the best interests of the pupils to whom it is given.
2. Schools will be expected to work in partnership with external and expert careers guidance providers, as appropriate, to ensure pupils get good advice on the full range of post-16 options.
3. Schools should meet the costs of provision from their overall budgets, including the pupil premium.
4. Schools have a role to play in supporting their pupils to make well-informed and realistic decisions by providing access to impartial and independent information and guidance about the range of education and training options that are most likely to help young people achieve their ambitions.
5. The activities may take place on an individual or group basis and may be face-to-face or at a distance, including web-based services.
6. Careers guidance activities may include careers information provision, assessment and self-assessment tools, careers education programmes and work search programmes.
For a full breakdown of what is required of schools read the Careers guidance and inspiration in schools document.