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Benchmark 1 – A Stable Careers Programme

To achieve Gatsby Benchmark 1, every school and college should have an embedded and progressive programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers and employers.

Why is Benchmark 1 important? 

Benchmark 1 provides the foundation for careers provision across your school, special school or college and supports you to link careers provision to your vision, priorities and to school or college improvement

Developing a progressive careers programme shaped and driven by a strategic careers plan, enables your students to make well informed decisions about education, training, apprenticeship & employment opportunities and supports then to cope with challenging labour market conditions.

What good looks like

  • Every school and college should have an embedded programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by students, parents, teachers, governors, employers and other agencies.
  • Every school and college should have a stable, structured careers programme that has the explicit backing of the senior management team and has an identified and appropriately trained person responsible for it.
  • The careers programme should be published on the school’s or college’s website in a way that enables students, parents, school/college staff and employers to access and understand it.
  • The programme should be regularly evaluated with feedback from students, parents, school/college staff and employers as part of the evaluation process.
  • Providers of technical (including higher technical) education, vocational education and apprenticeships should be given the opportunity to engage with students and their parents so that all routes at 16 and 18 are fully understood and so that students can make informed decisions at key transition points
What's the difference between a Careers strategy and a Careers programme?
The Careers Strategy
  • It sets out your Vision, Aims and Objectives (Intent, Implementation and Impact)
  • It enables you to deliver your careers plan
  • It has identified strengths and weaknesses
  • It sets out a clear evaluation framework
  • It provides the necessary gravitas for the Board of Governors and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT)
  • An approved document that clearly sets out a whole-school approach to embedding careers


Careers Programme
  • Includes a wide variety of Career learning opportunities
  • It embeds careers into the curriculum, PSHE and Personal Development
  • It maps to the the CDI (Career Development Institute) and the Gatsby Benchmarks
  • It informs students, parents, teachers and governors of what is on offer and published on the school’s website
  • It is a targeted and progressive programme of careers activity
What are the Gatsby Benchmark 1 sub-benchmark questions on the Compass evaluation?


  1. Careers programme that is written down
  2. Careers programme that is approved by the board of governors
  3. Careers programme that has the explicit backing of senior leadership
  4. Careers programme that has resources/funding allocated to it
  5. Careers programme that is regularly monitored
  6. Careers programme that has both strategic and operational elements
  7. Publish its careers programme on its website
  8. Information on website about careers aimed specifically at students
  9. Information on website about careers aimed specifically at teachers
  10. Information on website about careers aimed specifically at employers
  11. Information on website about careers aimed specifically at parents/carers
  12. Evaluate the effectiveness of its careers programme at least every three years
  13. Careers programme take into account feedback from students
  14. Careers programme take into account feedback from teachers
  15. Careers programme take into account feedback from employers
  16. Careers programme take into account feedback from parents/carers
  17. Lead person with strategic responsibility for school’s careers programme
What is the Kotter Model and how can we use it?


The Kotter Model is a popular tool used by leaders to help drive change within an organisation. Like the careers strategy template, it provides you with a framework to make small changes that can make a big difference. It helps you shape the questions you are trying to answer and enables you to influence the people you work with. Carrie, Careers Hub Lead, has recorded a short film to introduce you to the model and how it can be used. If you would like for us to support you to deliver the eight-step plan to lead change, then give us a shout!

  • CREATE – a sense of urgency

What do you have that you can utilise to help make the case? Data and evidence, hearts and minds and school priorities, what’s so different now?

  • BUILD – a guiding coalition

What is it? Why do you need it? What key roles and individuals would you identify to become part of the coalition?

  • FORM – a strategic vision and initiatives

What is a vision and why is it important? Understanding the why (purpose or intent), the how (the process or implementation) and the what (impact).

  • ENLIST – an army of volunteers

It is too much for an individual to deliver!

  • ENABLE – action by removing barriers

Develop a reporting structure and embed activity within your curriculum

  • GENERATE – quick wins

Highlight where your making a difference and utilise the voice of students and key stakeholders and increase engagement

  • SUSTAIN – acceleration

With clear infrastructure and sustainable delivery models that continually review and monitor progress

  • INSTITUTE – change

A whole school approach to careers with staff, students, parents and employers connected and engaged in the journey

Watch a short video featuring Carrie Childs, Hub Lead explaining the use of the Kotter Model. HERE


What is the new Provider Access Legislation and when does it come into force?

There is an example Access Policy statement at the top of this page that is taken from page 39 of the ‘Careers guidance and access for education and training providers’. This document can also be found on this page of the website.

Access the communication sent earlier in the summer of 2022 HERE.  

What is the CDI Framework?


The main purpose of the CDI’s Career Development Framework is to clarify the skills, knowledge and attitudes that individuals need to have a positive career. A ‘positive career’ will mean something different to everyone, but it will typically include being happy with the way you spend your time, being able to make a contribution to your community and being able to have a decent standard of living.

Career development skills are the learning outcomes that career development programmes and interventions should be aiming to bring about. They need to be developed alongside academic skills and knowledge and employability skills (the skills that you need for work and employment)

Access the framework on this link.  

(scroll down to the bottom of the page for the downloads).