Gatsby Benchmark 1


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. 


Why this matters

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.

Career Leaders:

Getting started with BM1

These resources will support you with impact evaluation and strategic planning:


  • The Careers Leader Induction module is designed to provide a foundation knowledge and understanding of key elements of careers leadership and can be accessed here.
  • The Strategic Careers Plan, first conceptualised by Teach First in 2017, will be your ‘manual’ for how to achieve your strategic objectives. It will include timeframes, responsibilities, and evaluation plans. It will contain all the information needed to lead improvements in careers provision so that if you as Careers Leader were to leave, it could form a comprehensive handover document for any successor.
  • This guide will support you to build and present a progressive careers programme that scaffolds and allows you to measure what students need to know, understand and be able to do to find their best next step.


  • This is a quick reference guidance document to support Careers Leaders with collecting and reviewing impact evidence. This links with collecting and reviewing impact evidence to inform strategic careers planning and impact evaluation of careers provision.


  • The Impact Evaluation Toolkit a resource for Careers Leaders, and their colleagues, in schools, special schools and colleges to evaluate the impact of career programmes.


  • To support you in developing an effective strategic careers plan and implementing a progressive careers programme, find out more about the funded Careers Leader Training offer here.
  • Share impact evaluation success and areas for continuous development with your Governing Body/Trustees. Use the Governor Guide for Secondary or Guide for College Governors to support engagement. 
  • Connect with the Enterprise Adviser Network here.


All Careers Leaders require Outstanding training


For further support with Benchmark 1 register for our fully funded Careers Leader training. 


Download our Training Catalogue which includes all the information you need and a helpful comparison guide on the 11 high-quality Training Providers we work with. Here you will be able to choose the right course to suit you and your development, so that you can embed a successful careers programme in your school/college. 


Once you have chosen the right course and Training Provider for you, you are all set to register!


Register today

Careers in Context: Can Do Approaches 

To align your careers programme with whole school, special school or college improvement, work with colleagues from senior leadership team and governing body to understand the school, special school or college’s strategic objectives. Your Enterprise Adviser may be able to support with this work.


  • Prioritise engagement with senior leadership and governors to ensure that your careers programme is aligned with school or college priorities and school or college return and curriculum recovery plans. Your programme should also directly support positive outcomes for students.


  • Work with your Enterprise Advisor to engage with colleagues from senior leadership teams and governing body around understanding school, special school and college strategic priorities.
  • Use our resources to evaluate and plan your school, special school or college’s progressive careers programme according to the needs of students and the priorities of the school, special school or college.
“Improving career guidance in secondary schools and colleges can lead to better student outcomes, while also raising aspirations and increasing engagement with education”

Education Leaders and Governors:

Education Leaders and Governors: For further information on each Benchmark, to support you in your role, please see the Education Leader, Secondary and College Governor Guides.

“Links have been demonstrated between young people’s engagement with the world of work through career talks and their GCSE attainment.”
Gatsby BM1, 3, 5, 7
Key stages


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