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The Gatsby Benchmarks (The Careers and Enterprise Company , 2019) are a framework of 8 guidelines about what makes the best careers provision in schools and colleges. The Careers Strategy is built around them. Our Careers,Education,Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) is based around these 8 benchmarks, and every subject now embeds them within their curriculum or extra-curricular activities.

Research tells us that careers education is the linchpin for school improvement – pupils are motivated when they know what they want to achieve in their lives and how to go about it.

“A successful careers guidance programme will also be reflected in higher numbers of pupils progressing to positive destinations such as apprenticeships, technical routes, sixth form colleges, FE colleges, university or employment.”

(Careers Guidance and Access for Education & Traig Providers, 2018)

At Woolston Brook School we strive to achieve all 8 of the Gatsby Benchmark to provide high quality CEIAG throughout the school.

The Gatsby Benchmarks

A stable careers programme

Every school and college should have an embedded programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers and employers.

Learning from career and labour market information

Every pupil, and their parents, should have access to good-quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities. They will need the support of an informed adviser to make best use of available information.

Addressing the needs of each pupil

Pupils have different career guidance needs at different stages. Opportunities for advice and support need to be tailored to the needs of each pupil. A school’s careers programme should embed equality and diversity considerations throughout.

Linking curriculum learning to careers

All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. For example, STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of future career paths.

Encounters with employers and employees

Every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of enrichment activities including visiting speakers, mentoring and enterprise schemes.

Experiences of workplaces

Every pupil should have first-hand experiences of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities, and expand their networks.

Encounters with further and higher education

All pupils should understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them. This includes both academic and vocational routes and learning in schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace.

Personal guidance

Every pupil should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a careers adviser, who could be internal (a member of school staff) or external, provided they are trained to an appropriate level. These should be available whenever significant study or career choices are being made. They should be expected for all pupils but should be timed to meet their individual needs.

Review and evaluation

We regularly review our careers programme through the Compass evaluation tool against the Benchmarks and this data is then used to feed into our career’s development plan and drive future improvements. The school is very much on track to meet the government target of 100% across all 8 benchmarks by September 2020, as set out by 2017 Careers Strategy.

As well as reviewing our Gatsby progress, we also understand the importance of gaining feedback from students, staff, parents and other stakeholders in relation to our careers programme, careers events and work experience programme. This feedback is essential in our evaluation process and ensures that we are committed to continuously develop our programme so that students benefit from a careers education that enables them to develop the skills and knowledge needed to navigate any future career choices as well as the opportunity to engage and learn from employers and work based experiences.

Staff training is also an essential element of our on-going development. Regular training throughout the academic year covers various topics such as changes to legislation, curriculum overviews, sharing good practice and planning sessions. Training enables staff the opportunity to work together to enhance the careers programme, share ideas and ensure that we are offering a programme our students deserve.

Student voice is at the very centre of our annual review process. We work closely with students and their families to initiate discussions about future aspirations, pathways and begin the process of setting short term and longer outcomes so that these can be reached. We also work closely with external support agencies to ensure that there is a whole team approach to reaching these goals.

See our results from the Compass Careers Benchmark Tool here.


Careers Guidance and Access for Education & Traig Providers,(2018). [Online]. Available at (Accessed 24 July 2020).

The Careers and Enterprise Company (2019), Understand the Gatsby Benchmark. [Online}. Available at (Accessed 24 July 2020).