What is Gatsby Benchmark no.1?
The first Gatsby Benchmark that schools should be looking to achieve is the provision of a stable careers programme. Every school should have an embedded programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers and employers.
This benchmark should provide a foundation for the other seven benchmarks to follow.
A successfully stable careers programme should allow schools and colleges to meet their legal careers requirements by offering a range of high-quality, inspiring, progressive careers activities and classes that enable students to make informed decisions about their future.
To achieve a stable careers programme, schools must:
- Have a stable, structured careers programme that has ultimate backing of the senior management team. There must also be an appropriately trained person responsible for the running of the programme.
- Be published on the school’s website in a clear and transparent manner, enabling students, parents, teachers and employers access to the programme for a deeper understanding.
- Be regularly evaluated and updated with up to date feedback and information from students, parents, teachers and employers as part of an evaluation and reflection process.
Why is a stable careers programme important?
This benchmark is significant because it provides the foundation for careers provision across schools, special schools or colleges. Having a stable careers programme supports individuals by linking careers provision to their goals, and supports schools by linking careers provision to their priorities and school improvements.
A progressive careers programme that is shaped and driven by a strategic plan will enable students to make more informed decisions about their next steps in education and employment opportunities.
For example, a good careers programme should look at the differences between moving on to a Further Education College to study A-Levels, BTECs or equivalent qualifications, choosing between continuing education at university or taking an apprenticeship to gain practical work experience, or opting to develop knowledge through training and online learning.
Ensuring that children and young people have early access to careers guidance will provide them with the right tools to create and build successful futures for themselves, and equip them to cope with the challenging and fluctuating labour market conditions.
Not only is it difficult to truly understand the right path to take at age 14, the biggest challenge to young people is entering the world of work itself. Those of school age can often underestimate the immense pressures of the real working world, and upon leaving school will become overwhelmed when trying to get a job.
By providing an early understanding of working life and the steps to take to apply for a job students will feel far more confident leaving education for full time employment.
How to measure the success of a stable careers programme
Measuring the success of a careers programme, and therefore meeting the first Gatsby Benchmark, can be quite complex, since there are no specific metrics that can be observed and analysed whilst the students are in school. The data that is most significant will come after students have left school and can offer their opinion on whether or not they felt prepared for employment upon leaving school.
Metrics that may be analysed include the percentage of students employed within the first month of leaving school, within 3 months and again within 6 months of leaving. The results of these metrics, combined with the students feelings, will be a great indicator of the success of the careers programme.
Another way in which schools can measure the success of the careers programme is to identify and set learning outcomes before the school year commences. Many schools and colleges follow the Career Development Framework (set out by the Career Development Institute) to shape their learning outcomes.
How a stable careers programme will benefit schools and careers advisers
There are several expectations of schools to prepare students for future careers. Most schools in the UK are monitored and rated by OFSTED (The Office for Standards in Education) - a government organisation reporting directly to Parliament. By law, OFSTED must inspect schools with the aim of providing information to parents, to promote improvement and to hold schools accountable.
OFSTED keeps a watchful eye on the quality of careers education in schools. A school won’t receive an ‘outstanding’ rating unless their careers education sector can demonstrate a ‘high quality impartial careers guidance that helps pupils to make informed career choices about which courses will suit their academic aspirations’.
OFSTED Inspectors are aware of all of the Gatsby Benchmarks and will be looking for evidence of how well schools perform against them. The Department for Education has provided statutory guidance that inspectors will be using to identify a ‘visible, easily accessible careers policy and programme’. Evidence of a stable careers plan based on the Compass Tool assessment (a free tool for schools and colleges in England to quickly and easily help you to evaluate your careers activity against the eight benchmarks) is also desirable.
How Careers Leaders run a stable careers programme
A strong careers programme should have complete backing from the school governors and senior leadership team in order to be successfully embedded into the school or college curriculum through the development of a clear careers plan using a careers leader.
A careers leader is a dedicated professional, either a member of the senior leadership team or someone who works directly with them, and is held accountable for the provision and delivery of the schools careers programme.
Careers leaders play a crucial role in the development of a stable careers plan since they are responsible for the implementation of the strategic planning in line with all of the Gatsby Benchmarks. They require an abundance of support by their colleagues and peers to carry out their responsibilities to the best of their ability.
The role of a careers leader is quite different from a careers advisor or college careers service who offer industry specific expertise and personal career guidance. Instead, the specifications of the role of a careers leader are:
- Leader: A good leader who takes full responsibility for developing, running and reporting on the schools careers programme.
- Manager: A skilful manager that can plan careers activities, manage the careers budget carefully, and manage any other staff who may be involved in the delivery of careers guidance.
- Co-ordinator: A careful co-ordinator of staff in the school and from outside.
- Networker: Good networking skills to establish and maintain good relationships with employers and education training providers.
What can Morrisby do to help you to achieve Gatsby Benchmark 1?
Since the Gatsby Benchmarks were established, there has been ongoing research with careers leaders to identify if the amount of time spent on careers leadership and the allocation of a budget are both factors associated with achieving a higher number of Gatsby Benchmarks.
The results have found that schools and colleges should be allocated sufficient time and resources for the development of a stable careers programme and careers leaders should be discussing their priorities with the school governors to ensure that the time is used effectively.
Morrisby can help schools to achieve benchmark 1 by producing a stable careers programme that is suitable for students between the ages of 11 and 18+. The programme Morrisby produces is available 24/7 and users will have unlimited access to the platform.
We have created a comprehensive suite of ready-made lessons, each with resources to supplement learning, that will ensure a clear pathway for career progression throughout the academic year. The Morrisby Manager system provides detailed analysis of student progress against the Gatsby Benchmarks and can generate data for the Compass tool.
With the ability to link to school MIS systems - such as SIMS, Arbor, iSAMS and Bromcom, Morrisby can easily be used by tutors, PSHE and support staff, as well as the careers department.
To discover exactly how Morrisby can help schools meet Gatsby Benchmarks, book a demo.