Benchmarking of careers guidance

Year of Publication: 

Every secondary school in the country has been given access to a free tool to measure the effectiveness of their careers education and guidance against a series of nationally recognised benchmarks to give young people the best start in the world of work.

The Careers & Enterprise Company, in partnership with The Gatsby Foundation, have launched Compass, a new, free online tool for schools to evaluate and monitor improvements in their careers education against eight nationally recognised benchmarks.

The tool is supported by Teach First, the National Association of Head Teachers, the Association of School and College Leaders and the Career Development Institute. It gives schools an immediate read-out on how they compare to the eight benchmarks so they can celebrate successes and focus resources on the areas of their careers programmes which need the most development.

The benchmarks, developed on behalf of Gatsby by Sir John Holman, Emeritus Professor at the University of York and former Headteacher, have been widely accepted across government, schools and education organisations. It follows a 2013 Ofsted report which found that three quarters of schools they visited were not delivering effective careers advice to students.

Sir John makes clear that there is no single ‘magic bullet’ in career guidance. It is about doing a number of things – identified in the benchmarks – consistently and well. Many schools partially reach the standard of the benchmarks in access to career and labour market information or exposure to employers, workplaces and further education for example. In many cases, a simple refocus of resources can transform career guidance provision in a school. 

The Compass tool, which is freely available to all secondary schools across the country, will allow schools to review their progress against the benchmarks, allowing them to target their resources towards those activities which will have most impact on improving their careers programmes.