HEPA Blog: What do the Gatsby Benchmarks mean for schools?

Wednesday 5th December 2018

Part of our series of blogs from our Higher Education Progression Advisers.

In October, Gideon, our college HEPA, wrote a blog post titled “What do the Gatsby Benchmarks mean for FE and sixth form colleges?”. We’ve now written an update for school staff. 

For those new to the ‘Gatsby benchmarks’, they were introduced in 2014 and are 8 benchmarks that form a framework for best practice in good careers provision in schools and colleges. The benchmarks were adopted by the Government in December 2017 as part of their Careers Strategy, after a 2 year pilot project in the North East of England. The eight benchmarks for schools and colleges are:

  1. A stable careers programme
  2. Learning from career and Labour Market Information (LMI)
  3. Addressing the needs of each student
  4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
  5. Encounters with employers and employees
  6. Experiences of workplaces
  7. Encounters with further and higher education
  8. Personal guidance

Why are they important?

It’s expected that by the end of 2020, schools will be meeting all benchmarks:

Every school and college should begin using the Gatsby Benchmarks to improve careers provision now and meet them by the end of 2020. For the employer encounters benchmark, every school should begin to offer every young person seven encounters with employers – at least one each year from year 7 to year 13 – and meet this in full by the end of 2020. Some of these encounters should be with STEM employers.

CEC, https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/schools-colleges/careers-strategy

Ofsted will also be looking at careers education, information advice and guidance more closely. In the Common Inspection Framework, careers learning now receives a much higher priority that it has before. The need to deliver impartial and effective career learning experiences for all pupils (years 8-13) impacts two reporting areas: Effectiveness of Leadership and Management, and Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare.

How well are schools doing towards meeting the benchmarks?

The ‘State of the Nation’ report by the Careers and Enterprise Company (2018) states on average, schools and colleges are achieving 2.13 of the eight Gatsby Benchmarks, compared to 1.87 last year and 1.34 in 2014. The proportion of schools and colleges not achieving any benchmarks has fallen to 18.1%, the proportion achieving half has increased to 19.8%, and 11% of all schools and colleges are now achieving the majority of the benchmarks. 21 schools and colleges are now achieving all eight Gatsby Benchmarks. Although this seems low, it’s predicted that the nearer schools and colleges get to the 2020 deadline, the more benchmarks they will meet.


What can your school do now?                                                        

Since September 2018, all schools should have a careers leader in place and have their careers programme published for young people and parents.

If you haven’t seen it already, the online self-evaluation tool, Compass, from the Careers and Enterprise Company is available to use now. Compass can be used to evaluate your school’s careers activity against the benchmarks of best practice. Once completed you receive a report identifying strengths and improvements, and resources to help meet all benchmarks. The video on the Compass page above gives a good overview of the tool for those unfamiliar with it.

The Careers and Enterprise Company have stated “by 2020 we will make a senior business volunteer, known as an Enterprise Adviser, available to all secondary schools and colleges in England”. You can request an Enterprise Adviser for free here.

HeppSY+ is also here to help!

Just a few examples of how HeppSY+ can support with delivery of the Gatsby Benchmarks include:

Please contact your HEPA if you would like us to help you meet the Gatsby benchmarks.

HEPA Gatsby Benchmarks