Embedding the Good Career Guidance benchmarks in schools and colleges

Good career guidance has never been more important. Changes in technology and in the labour market mean that increasing numbers of jobs require specific education and training, yet career guidance in English schools has often been criticised for being inadequate and patchy.

Embedding the Good Career Guidance benchmarks in schools and colleges

The government have released a new careers strategy, which Gatsby welcomes. Our full statement can be found here.

By publishing information for schools, developing tools to encourage the use of the Good Career Guidance benchmarks, and encouraging the use of labour market information (LMI) and pupil destination data, we are working with partners to support schools and colleges to implement the benchmarks and improve career advice and guidance for all young people.


Compass is a self-evaluation tool, created in partnership with The Careers and Enterprise Company, which helps schools gain a greater understanding of how their provision of career education and guidance compares to the model of good practice set out in Gatsby's Good Career Guidance benchmarks.

Teach First, Head Teacher Unions (including NAHT and ASCL), Local Enterprise Partnerships and teachers across the UK have helped to design the tool and will continue to advise us on its development.

Compass can be accessed by following this link: 


On Gatsby’s initiative, in 2013 the UKCES developed the ‘LMI for All’ tool, which connects existing sources of high-quality, reliable LMI with the aim of informing careers decisions. Rather than act as a website that presents data to young people, LMI for All makes data freely available to web developers to create tools to support career guidance. This service presents a powerful opportunity to give high-quality, up-to-date, labour market information to young people making decisions about their future. Innovative approaches to using LMI are emerging from the North East Good Career Guidance pilot and we will be looking to share these insights with schools and colleges across the country.

The government now publishes pupil destination data – the information about where students go onto after they leave school or college – as a headline accountability measure. This is a positive step in helping schools prioritise career guidance. We also see pupil destination data as useful information for individual institutions to evaluate and improve their own career guidance programmes. Schools and colleges in the North East pilot are establishing new approaches to using destination data and we intend to share this good practice with policy makers, key stakeholders and education institutions across the country. 


School Career Leaders

Every school needs strong careers leadership if they are to make the significant changes we think are necessary to improve career guidance. We have seen from the North East pilot that a high calibre Career Leader is the cornerstone of change in a school. This is not the person delivering 1:1 guidance, or someone from an external agency, but a core member of the school’s middle leadership team. In the Netherlands they are called the ‘schooldekaan’ and sit alongside the principal of the school. Their job is complex, and requires the authority to conduct the breadth of career guidance activity being delivered across the school. Career Leaders need to understand the Gatsby benchmarks, develop a strategy alongside school leadership, and act as a contact point for the many external organisations that offer support but are often under-utilised.

We believe every school should be supported and encouraged to have a Career Leader. Along with key organisations such as Teach First, The Careers and Enterprise Company and the Careers Development Institute, we will be working to try and make this a reality.