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Benchmark 1 – A Stable Careers Programme

A Stable Careers Programme

Every school 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 Strategic Careers Plan designed by Teach First could be your ‘manual’ for achieving your strategic objectives. It isn’t easy to know where to start sometimes, so why not use the templates below to get you started. Just do a bit at a time, or spend two or three days shaping it, but don’t delay because it will help you keep on track, and it will also help you embed across the whole school.

Template one below includes timeframes, responsibilities and evaluation plans. It contains all the information needed to lead improvements in your careers provision so that if you as Careers Leader were to leave, it could form a comprehensive handover document for any successor.

The format follows guidance from Teach First from the accessible online ‘Introduction to Careers Leadership’ modules available on the Careers & Enterprise Company website and includes:

  • Vision
  • Current state
  • Key strategic objectives (student-centred and measurable)
  • Action plan to achieve objectives

Template two is an alternative way to produce a more visual strategy. It has a completed visual document in the link below. If you would like to share your examples, please let us know.

Evidence Required for your Compass Evaluation
  1. You have a written Careers Strategy and Careers Programme
  2. It has been approved by the Board of Governors and the explicit backing of the Senior Leadership Team
  3. It has adequate resources allocated to it (this includes staff time and budget)
  4. There is systematic monitoring and evaluation from parents and carers, students, employers and teachers.
  5. Your strategy and plan is evaluated for effectiveness at least every three years
  6. All information is published on your school’s website that has specific and targeted information for parents and carers, students, employers and teachers
Website FAQs
What's the statutory guidance in relation to publishing information about the careers programme?

From September 2018 schools and colleges must publish:

  • The name, email address and telephone number of the school’s Careers Leader
  • A summary of the careers programme, including details of how pupils, parents, teachers and employers may access information about the careers programme
  • How the school measures and assesses the impact of the careers programme on pupils
  • The date of the school’s next review of the information published
  • In addition, under section 42B of the Education Act 1997  schools should include a policy statement on provider access, otherwise known as the Baker Clause.
What is a Provider Access Statement?

Here’s an example of a Provider Access Statement that you are free to use!

[School Name] Provider Access Policy Introduction

This policy statement sets out the school’s arrangements for managing the access of providers to pupils at the school for the purpose of giving them information about the provider’s education or training offer. This complies with the school’s legal obligations under Section 42B of the Education Act 1997.

Pupil entitlement

All pupils in years 8-13 are entitled:

  • to find out about technical education qualifications and apprenticeships opportunities, as part of a careers programme which provides information on the full range of education and training options available at each transition point
  • to hear from a range of local providers about the opportunities they offer, including technical education and apprenticeships – through options events, assemblies and group discussions and taster events
  • to understand how to make applications for the full range of academic and technical courses. Management of provider access requests Procedure A provider wishing to request access should contact [Name], [Job title], Telephone: [Telephone Number]; Email: [Email address]

Opportunities for access

A number of events, integrated into the school careers programme, will offer providers an opportunity to come into school to speak to pupils and/or their parents/carers:

[Table of events/dates]

Please speak to our Careers Leader to identify the most suitable opportunity for you.

Premises and facilities

The school will make the main hall, classrooms or private meeting rooms available for discussions between the provider and students, as appropriate to the activity. The school will also make available AV and other specialist equipment to support provider presentations. This will all be discussed and agreed in advance of the visit with the Careers Leader or a member of their team.

Providers are welcome to leave a copy of their prospectus or other relevant course literature at the Careers Resource Centre, which is managed by the school librarian. The Resource Centre is available to all students at lunch and break times.

Approval and review

Approved [date] by Governors at Curriculum and Standards Committee

Next review: [date]

Signed: [name] Chair of Governors [name] Head teacher

What information should I put onto my school website to target specific stakeholders?

You must ensure that the information regarding your school’s/college’s careers programme, the types of activities offered at your school/college and when careers activities are taking place is accessible by students, parents, teachers, governors and employers.

Although each stakeholder doesn’t have to have a specific area, it does support everyone with more straightforward navigation. It will be the first place the OFSTED inspector will look before visiting your school. Use the example website above to help out, but here’s a snapshot of what you could add to your website:

 Students/Parents/Carers – should have a clear understanding of your school’s careers provision.

• Teachers – should understand the key objectives of the careers programme and how their role fits within that.

• Governors – should understand your overarching strategy, how this fits in with the whole school’s goals, and your careers programme’s review process.

• Employers – should identify the opportunities to engage with your careers programme and details of the Careers Leader or alternative contact.

What is the Baker Clause?

The Technical and Further Education Act 2017 inserts section 42B into the Education Act 1997 and came into force on 2 January 2018. This new law requires the proprietor of all schools and academies to ensure that there is an opportunity for a range of education and training providers to access all pupils in year 8 to year 13 for the purpose of informing them about approved technical education qualifications15 or apprenticeships16.

Example Strategic Objective 1:

Support students to progress to positive destinations and reduce their risk of becoming NEET by:

• linking curriculum learning to careers and LMI;
• providing meaningful encounters with employers and providers;
• providing quality experiences of work.

Example Strategic Objective 2:

Support positive attendance and behaviour data through high levels of engagement by linking curriculum learning to careers and meaningful employer encounters.

Example Strategic Objective 3:

Improve engagement and raise attainment through linking curriculum learning to careers.

Strategy image
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 Govenors 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
Careers programme
Kotter Model image

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!

We have created a little infographic below with the eight points in the model.

  • 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

Your links with SLT are a key part of the success of your careers programme.

There are three key resources for your SLT and Governing bodies, supporting them to know the right questions to ask to make a difference.


Schools and colleges need to continuously evaluate the impact of the careers programme, analyse destinations data, track student progression after they leave school or college and take into account student, parent/carer, employer and teacher views.


Feedback is used to inform decisions about the future development of the programme and feeds into the whole-school process of evaluation. Evaluation provides insight into the effectiveness of a careers programme, thus views from different stakeholders are important.


A mixed method approach works well, such as surveys or Google forms (quantitative analysis) or through student voice groups, focus groups, short videos (qualitative analysis). The important aspect to consider are what are the outcomes you are trying to achieve and then this will shape how you conduct your evaluation.


Ruth has provided a tutorial showing you how you could begin to develop your evaluation plan by creating a master document of activities that map to the CDI and Gatsby. The documents she is showing you are also below for you to use.

Since Ruth recorded the above video, the new CDI Framework was launched. If you have not seen it already we highly recommend it. Ruth created a new version of a master spreadsheet and this has been added below.

Evaluation FAQs
How often am I expected to review the programme?

As a minimum you should review your whole school careers programme along a similar time frame to other whole school policy reviews such as the curriculum, which in many cases is every three years. Best practice would be to carry out regular formative assessment of the programme and complete a full programme evaluation annually.

What monitoring am I expect to see of a careers programme?

You should be keeping track of all career-related learning associated with the benchmarks in your school. This will enable you to know that every student has had the appropriate careers provision for their relevant Key Stage and help you to prioritise activities for those who need it the most. Although tracking information is likely to be stored in a central location, staff from across the school will need to support the collection and recording of this information, similar to attainment and behaviour information.

How can I gather systematic feedback from employers?

Where possible it is best practice to capture views of employers after each activity or interaction with students. There is a range of ways to do this, including: surveys, interviews, dialogue with school staff, focus groups. It is important to capture a breadth of views to inform your programme planning and evaluation. The method of capturing this feedback is less important than who you are talking to and the regularity of the feedback, and how this information is then used.


The Compass+ Evaluation Tool

Compass+ is powered by pupil-level data. It integrates with your school’s Management Information System (MIS) data for effective and targeted careers programme planning and delivery. It’s simple and intuitive to use: a one-stop-shop for completing Compass evaluations, creating activity plans and managing engagement with employers and partners.

Compass+ is free for all eligible schools with compatible management information systems (MIS). Watch each of the films below if this has not convinced you of its worth. Key benefits include:

  • Map out your careers programme for the academic year
  • Create custom groups so you can target relevant careers interventions
  • Create detailed reports and data visualisations to monitor performance
  • Encourage collaboration by allocating tasks, share contacts, and allow colleagues to contribute to your careers education programme
  • Receive intelligent recommendations for activities and store careers partners in one place

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