All schools providing secondary education, including pupil referral units, have a duty to secure independent careers guidance and provide opportunities for a range of providers of technical education and apprenticeships to inform students of their offer. In January 2018, the Department for Education published new statutory guidance that sets out these duties for governing boards and school leaders.
This statutory guidance builds upon the Government's careers strategy published in December 2017, which aims to ensure that all young people in secondary education get a programme of advice and guidance that is stable, structured and delivered by individuals with the right skills and experience.
'Careers guidance and access for education and training providers: Statutory guidance for governing bodies, school leaders and school staff' Jan, 2018 is structured around the Gatsby Benchmarks. It is expected that all schools meet all benchmarks by 2020.
Published in 2014 the Gatsby benchmarks offers an evidence-based standard for careers provision. Only if schools are delivering all of the following eight benchmarks can they be judged to offering "good career guidance":
The Gatsby benchmarks are not a statutory framework but by adopting them, schools can be confident they met their legal duties.
The State of the Nation report was published in October 2017. It provided a comprehensive picture of schools’ career and enterprise provision in English schools based upon research collected in the 2016/17 academic year.
The Careers strategy explains that both co-ordinated external support and an appropriately skilled and experienced leader in school are important in schools meeting the benchmarks.
Every school must have a named Careers leader, to support schools with this the Career & Enterprise Company has produced 'Understanding the Careers Leader role: a guide for secondary schools'. It provides information on the careers framework, an outline of the role and responsibilities of the Careers Leader and key steps and resources for implementing careers leadership.
The numbers of students progressing to apprenticeships, technical routes, sixth form colleges, further education colleges, universities or employment will also be used to assess the success of a schools' careers guidance programme. The performance tables on gov.uk are part of the accountability system, enabling a school's KS4 and 16-18 (KS5) education destinations to be measured against others.
Compass is a free self-assessment tool to help schools and colleges against the eight Gatsby benchmarks. It will help schools clarify their strengths and areas for improvement and provide a confidential report and resources to develop their offer. Find out more and to sign up for a Compass account.