The (UK) government should act urgently to guarantee face-to-face careers advice for all children in schools, according to a report into making higher education more accessible to disadvantaged young people.
The report’s author, Simon Hughes, who is the government’s advocate for access to education, also recommended that teachers start discussing career options with 10- and 11-year-olds at primary school, while every school and college should be formally linked to at least one higher education institution by the end of 2012.
To prepare young people for education, training and work, Hughes said all students aged between 14 and 16 should be trained in basic financial management and all secondary schools should hold events that bring together careers professionals, parents and students to discuss career, education and training options.
Meanwhile, all secondary schools and colleges should develop networks of former pupils willing to come back into school to advise young people and answer questions about careers, studies or life in general after school or college.
The National Scholarship Programme will provide help with the cost of attending university to students from disadvantaged backgrounds from autumn 2012.
Hughes suggested that the majority of scholarships available through this scheme should be allocated directly to every non-fee-paying English school and college.
Hughes said he hoped his report would help quell the "widespread concern" that fee increases at English universities would prevent young people from accessing higher education.