Gatsby Benchmarks for careers


The excerpt below from a 2017 report on Careers and Enterprise Provision in England’s Schools gives some good background into Wood Green’s approach to benchmarking its careers support against the required standards and standards in other schools nationally.

“Young people face an increasingly complex labour market, growing competition for entry level positions and changing demands from employers. They are spending longer than ever in education and emerging increasingly well qualified academically but this success does not always translate into the labour market.

Our research shows that young people are frequently overwhelmed by the career decisions that are open to them and often try to avoid making decisions or simply take the path of least resistance. These career challenges pose major problems for young people, but they also create huge issues for a nation where it is critical that the next generation maximise their potential and align their skills with economic and societal needs.

The eight Gatsby Benchmarks have become highly influential with policy makers and opinion formers in the field. More importantly, they were also embraced by schools as a framework for auditing and developing their careers practice. This prompted a collaboration between The Careers & Enterprise Company and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation to create a tool (based on the survey from the original Gatsby research in 2014) that schools could use to audit their provision. Although The Careers & Enterprise Company’s work is focused on benchmarks 5 and 6 (employer engagement in schools) the Company recognised the importance of schools being able to diagnose their performance against the benchmarks. This tool was launched as Compass in the 2016/17 academic year.

Since 2014 when the Gatsby Charitable Foundation published Good Career Guidance a strong evidence-based consensus has emerged about what schools should be doing to support the career development of young people.3 The report drew together evidence from six international country reviews, practice in both state and independent schools in England and a literature review. The evidence was codified into eight Benchmarks (commonly known as the Gatsby Benchmarks) designed to guide school practice. The report said that schools should offer pupils the following elements:

  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”

Excerpted from: The Careers & Enterprise Company. (2017). State of the Nation 2017: Careers and Enterprise Provision in England's Schools. London: The Careers & Enterprise Company

Wood Green audits itself against the Gatsby Benchmarks on a regular basis. While the results for Wood Green look very positive in general - averaging over 80% alignment per benchmark vs a national average in 2017 of 23% - this is a useful way for us of understanding where there are areas for improvement and how the school compares nationally.



Parental and carer engagement is encouraged at all stages. Parents and carers will be kept up to date with careers related information through letters, newsletters and at open evenings. Parents and carers are welcome at careers interviews and where necessary are invited. Online resources relating to careers are easily accessed through the links on the school website.

We also run a Higher Education Exchange Evening which provides parents with information about the process of applying to University at Wood Green. This provides parents with an invaluable chance to hear about the process from the University's perspective.

If you have questions about the Careers Support provision at Wood Green, please contact



The Education, Employment and Training (EET) Service provides statutory EET support for young people, access to information, activities and opportunities, promotes safer use of social media and provides delivery of Oxfordshire's National Citizen Service.



Government Careers Strategy

CASCAID have produced an Parents Guide eBook  to help parents get involved and encourage their children in finding their future careers. This guide is designed to provide an overview of how parents and carers can help support their son or daughter with these important choices.

The Parent Perspective Podcast - Amazing Apprenticeships

'The Parent Perspective' is an exciting podcast series for parents and carers, helping them to support their children with careers advice and guidance.