New Systems and Evidence for Continuous Improvement in Career Guidance

18 October 2023 Rob Cremona

Gatsby are very encouraged by the continuing improvements in career guidance in English schools and colleges.

New Systems and Evidence for Continuous Improvement in Career Guidance

According to national data from 2022/23 published this week by The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC), schools and colleges now achieve an average of 5.5 out of 8 Benchmarks, compared to just 1.8 six years ago. We congratulate all practitioners across the country for their huge efforts supporting young people. We are also pleased to see the continued positive impact of both Careers Leader training and the national Careers Hub network. This positive direction of travel echoes the excellent practice we have seen and heard about through our Good Career Guidance: The Next Ten Years project.

It is particularly positive to see that careers activity has rebounded after the pandemic, particularly engagement with employers, with performance against Benchmark 6 (experiences of the workplace) up 23% on last year.

We are also encouraged by the positive evaluation and impact seen in the CEC’s pilot of the Careers Impact System, also published this week: a model designed to provide robust quality assurance of careers and help leaders sit the Gatsby Benchmarks at the heart of school and college improvement.

Sir John Holman, in his strategic principles for Government on the future of the career guidance system, recommended robust procedures to independently assure the quality of career guidance in schools and colleges, citing peer and expert review as well-established and effective approaches in other areas of education. Following these recommendations, Gatsby supported the CEC’s development and pilot of the Careers Impact System, which uses a combination of the following:

  • Peer-to-peer reviews between practitioners, locally administered by trained facilitators – which build capacity and knowledge of good practice across the sector;
  • Expert reviews, commissioned centrally, to allow the quality of careers provision to be moderated across the system;
  • National reviews to focus on particular themes and priorities at a systemic level.

The independent evaluation has shown very encouraging results, including that:

  • Nearly all (96%) school and college leaders felt the Careers Impact System would lead to improved careers provision, 94% felt it would improve careers leadership and 86% felt it would lead to better outcomes for young people in the long term.
  • Nearly all education leaders (98%) felt the review process was positive – a collaborative process which focused on both support and challenge and showed Careers Leaders how they could improve.
  • The evaluators found strong evidence from the Careers Impact System reviews that the sector can be confident that judgements made by Careers Leaders using the Compass tool are accurate.
  • Nearly three quarters (72%) of leaders said that the review process had led to stronger links between careers and school/college improvement.

We are pleased to see the Careers Impact System encouraging local schools and colleges to share their learning and shed light on further improvements to their practice. It is also encouraging to see how the System can drive consistency in how practitioners are reviewing their work against the Gatsby Benchmarks and improving career guidance for young people. We hope the model continues to grow and be used by more schools and colleges in future.

You can read the CEC’s Gatsby Benchmark Insight Briefing here and access the full data here.

Read more about the CEC’s Careers Impact System here.

New Systems and Evidence for Continuous Improvement in Career Guidance