What are the Gatsby Benchmarks?

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

I, and I'm sure many other careers professional, mention the Gatsby Benchmarks a lot. But I feel the term is a little jargon-y (that's not a word, I know), much like when the IT guy says API or DNS... Or just anything that isn't 'switch it off and back on'! I thought it worth sharing with anyone outside the Careers bubble what these benchmarks are.


The Gatsby Benchmarks came to existence in January 2018 and were a joint collaboration between the Department of Education and the Careers Enterprise Company (CEC). They were put in place to set out to schools what good Careers guidance looks like and came with a setlist of things we needed to do, with little advice on how to do them (or money to make them happen, but that’s another story). 


The 8 benchmarks are as follows: 

  1. A stable careers programme

  2. Learning from career and labour market information

  3. Addressing the needs of each pupil

  4. Linking curriculum learning to careers

  5. Encounters with employers and employees

  6. Experiences of workplaces

  7. Encounters with further and higher education

  8. Personal guidance


Each has a sub-criteria of things you need to complete, and be able to evidence, in order to meet that benchmark. The benchmarks were introduced alongside a self-assessment tool called Compass, which allows schools to self assess how they are performing against the set criteria. 


Ofsted took notice of this guidance and have now updated their framework to include Careers Education, giving yet another version of what good (and outstanding) looks like. The word ‘Ofsted’ is commonly paired with feelings of fear but, in my opinion, Careers Education being included in their inspection is a good thing. It makes principals, headteachers and senior leadership teams take notice of Careers and give it the prioritisation that it deserves. As we know, it is an essential part of a child’s education.


I hope you've found this information useful and will now have an idea of what we careers professionals are referring to when we say 'the benchmarks'.


Best wishes,


Jess x

A.K.A The Careers Lady


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