New careers guidance tool for every secondary school in the country

  • Emma Finamore
  • Last updated 02 Nov 2016

The new tool uses eight nationally recognised benchmarks to measure the quality of school careers guidance.


Every secondary school in England has been given access to a new free tool to measure the effectiveness of their careers education and guidance, plotted against a series of nationally recognised benchmarks.

The Careers & Enterprise Company, in partnership with The Gatsby Foundation, has launched Compass, giving schools an immediate read-out on how they compare to the eight benchmarks so they can celebrate successes and focus resources on the areas of their careers programmes that need the most development.

Compass is supported by Teach First, the National Association of Head Teachers, the Association of School and College Leaders and the Career Development Institute.

The benchmarks, developed for Gatsby by Sir John Holman, Emeritus Professor at the University of York and former head teacher, have been widely accepted across government, schools and education organisations. It follows a 2013 Ofsted report that found 75% of schools they visited were not delivering effective careers advice to students.

The benchmarks are:

  • A stable careers programme
  • Learning from career and labour market information
  • Addressing the needs of each pupil
  • Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • Encounters with employers and employees
  • Experiences of workplaces
  • Encounters with further and higher education
  • Personal guidance



Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of the Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “Good careers education and guidance plays a critical role in improving social mobility to give young people the best possible start in the world of work.

“But we know that the standard of careers education varies across the country and that is why we have partnered with the Gatsby Foundation to create the Compass tool and help address this problem.

“Compass will help drive up standards of careers programmes to inspire young people and help them make informed choices.”

Sir John Holman, who developed the Good Career Guidance benchmarks, said: “Careers guidance has a very important part to play in social mobility, which is why I am so interested in it. For many young people, their school offers their only chance to access high-quality careers guidance.

“The Compass tool will enable schools to see the areas of their career provision that most need improvement when compared to the eight benchmarks, helping place good career guidance within reach of all young people. Compass has already proved extremely useful for schools and I look forward to seeing its roll-out.”



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