A Stable and Visible Career and Life Development Policy
1. What good looks like?
Every school should have a stable policy on career and life development to guide its action plan and programme development. The policy and programme should be regularly evaluated and should be known and understood by students, teachers, parents, enterprise partners and relevant stakeholders.
- The school policy on career and life development (CLD) should be stable.
- The CLD policy should be written down and is in strategic connection with major school development plans (e.g. 3-year education development plan, school’s major concerns).
- The CLD policy is with clear description on its aims/ purpose, target group, conceptual framework (strategy), manpower allocation, recurrent budget and infrastructure support, mode of services, action plan and programme monitoring and reviewing mechanism.
- The CLD policy is authorized and backed by the senior management team and is supported by designated manpower or assigned career leader, preferably at a senior graduate master (SGM) grade or above to drive the development.
- The CLD policy should be regularly reviewed with a mechanism outlining how often, under what circumstances and who are responsible for conducting the review, at least every three years.
- The CLD policy should be visible and understood to all stakeholders and their feedback should be regularly collected and considered.
- Procedures are in place to ensure that the feedback collection mechanism is enforced for different stakeholders.
2. Why this matters?
- This benchmark provides an essential foundation for the other nine benchmarks.
- Education Bureau (2014) highlighted that school’s shared commitment on the policy statement is important to facilitate school’s CLD education1.
- A stable CLD policy can continue to be developed to meet the needs of students. It is not entirely dependent on the goodwill of individuals or vulnerable to competing education priorities.
- A stable CLD policy enables young people to make well-informed decisions about the progression in academic and/ or career directions. It also helps them get well prepared to face the challenges in the school-to-work transition.
- A stable CLD policy draws on experts/ stakeholders from within and beyond the schools as resources to facilitate the work on CLD.
3. Top tips for schools*
- Review school career plan in accordance withthe relevant guidelines of EDB (2014), the school contexts and students’ characteristics. Discuss the planning focus with the career team and to come to a consensus.
- Work with career team members to review current provision and champion where CLD policy outcomes are already being delivered and to identify priorities for improvement and further development.
- Make use of the available information (e.g. graduate pathways, employment market information, student intake) to understand more about student background and characteristics for better planning.
- Channel the team’s proposed plan to the school leadership team (SLT) and ensure that your CLD policy and plan are documented and have the SLT’s approval with sufficient resources (including manpower, recurrent budget and infrastructure) for the delivery. Engage SLT colleagues (e.g. Vice-Principal) in the development of a strategic 3-year plan on CLD which needs to be embedded and sustained in the school development plans.
- Review the communication channels and documents of the CLD policy to ensure that they are accessible and understandable to all stakeholders.
- Present the CLD policy information (includingmission and vision statements, strategic objectives) in either Chinese or English or both as well as in appropriate formats to match the communication modes and needs of different stakeholders.
- Set up the CLD team with a good combination of staff with different working experiences.
- Set up the timeline for the CLD policy and annual plan and programme plan (e.g. to have an overview of the progress, content, division of labour, person-in-charge). Division of labours needs to be transparent and clear to the team, to follow the progress easily and in a clear manner.
- Coordinate and collaborate with other functional teams, subject panels and class teachers to join hands in providing different career-related learning opportunities for students through the “Whole School Approach2” in light of school contexts and students’ needs (EDB, 2014, p.11). Career master/ mistress liaises with functional teams in the school. Assign career teachers to be coordinators in their subject(s) taught (e.g., Chinese, English, humanities, science) to liaise with the subject panels and class teachers.
- Explore and approach potential partners to work with for the programmes. Establish network and develop school’s data bank of potential partners (e.g., through collecting alumni name cards). Hold briefing or chit-chat sessions with potential partners (e.g. alumni, parents, employers) to communicate your vision and strategic objectives to all stakeholders and collect views and voices on how their contributions fit in your CLD strategic plan and provisions, and to strengthen the support network in the programme delivery.
- Make sure your CLD policy is progressive and has a logical flow for the identified outcomes and outputs for each key stage. Plan regular monitoring of the CLD programme using data tracking and stakeholder voices.
- Complete the self-assessment tool (e.g. HKBM self-assessment questions, Stakeholders Survey (SHS), APASO-II) to identify gaps in the programme to be addressed in your CLD policy and/ or strategic plan.
- Proactively collect views and voices from key stakeholders (e.g. students, staff, parents and enterprise partners) on a regular basis (e.g. through questionnaires, surveys and focus groups) to evaluate overall CLD policy, inform future planning and delivery of strategic career plan.
- Undertake regular evaluation (i.e. at least in a three-year period) of the CLD policy and plan with a clear intended purpose, for example, reports for the SLT should be used to inform future decisions about the CLD policy.
4. Working with partners
- Internal Stakeholders: Work with colleagues from senior leadership team, other subject panels and functional teams, students, parents and alumni to develop your school CLD policy and strategic plan on the following:
- Vision and mission;
- Current provision;
- Key strategic objectives linked to school priorities;
- Action plan to achieve objectives.
- External Stakeholders: Mobilise external resources and strengthen networks from potential partners such as government bureaus, university/ progression partners, workplace employers and community partners to support and sustain the CLD development and provisions for students.
5. Insights gained from the pilot schools
- Considering students’ needs and voices when planning and conducting CLD-related activities is vital. A ‘mass-produced’ programme (e.g. career talk) may not be relevant to all students as it does not cater for meeting all students’ needs and interests.
- Close communication between the SLT and the career team is the key to drive whole-school approach in CLD (e.g. the team could react more flexibly and effectively to certain unexpected situations with the support from SLT to re-arrange the manpower and resources in need).
Education Bureau (2014). Guide on Life Planning Education and Career Guidance for Secondary Schools. Retrieved from
1 As stated on page 16 of the Guide on Life Planning Education and Career Guidance for Secondary Schools (2014), “a policy statement
endorsed by the Incorporated Management Committee (IMC)/ School Management Committee (SMC) reflecting school’s shared
commitment towards a more coordinated and systemic approach is instrumental in guiding the planning, implementation and evaluation
of life planning education for students in a realistic and practical manner” (EDB, 2014, p.16).
2 As stated on page 11 of the Guide on Life Planning Education and Career Guidance for Secondary Schools (2014), “life planning education
and career guidance service cannot be solely the responsibility of the career team. The service should be led by the school leaders,
organised and supervised by career guidance personnel with the support of class teachers, subject teachers and other school personnel”.