The Quality in Careers Standard is the single national quality award for careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) in secondary schools, colleges and work-based learning.
All state-funded secondary schools are “strongly recommended” by the Department for Education in its Statutory Guidance to work towards, achieve, and maintain this national Standard as part of its ‘careers strategy’.
The Standard is fully aligned with the Gatsby Benchmarks for “Good Career Guidance” and complies with the DfE’s Statutory Guidance.
As England’s dedicated national quality award, the Quality in Careers Standard – through external assessment – uniquely accredits the four components of the CEIAG:
- Careers Education
- Careers Information
- Careers Advice
- Careers Guidance
The copyright for the Standard is owned by the Quality in Careers Consortium.
The Consortium has appointed a number of Licensed Awarding Bodies to act on its behalf across the country (providing national coverage throughout England – some Awarding Bodies also offer services in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands).
Our Awarding Bodies are authorised under licence to assess, accredit and award the national Standard. Some operate nationally, others are more regionally/locally based. They may award the Standard for a set period which may be for up to 3 years (to be determined by each Awarding Body).
Secondary schools, colleges and other learning providers are free to choose which Awarding Body to work with (here’s our advice on Getting Started with the Standard).
To hold our licence, Awarding Bodies must demonstrate to the Consortium how they meet our national requirements covering:
- How they assess our national accreditation criteria* addressing the content and coverage of careers provision in schools, colleges and other learning providers
- The competence of their assessors, the detailed assessment processes they apply and, critically, how they secure consistency in the judgements their assessors make
- Their own management systems ensuring that they fulfil all the requirements we set.
*The national accreditation criteria for the Standard are set out in full in the Guide to the Quality in Careers Standard: they incorporate the Gatsby Benchmarks, require evidence concerning reports from the Compass self-assessment tool, and require additional evidence from secondary schools, colleges and other learning providers of impact on students’ career-related learning outcomes.
To gain the national Standard – secondary schools, colleges and other learning providers must supply sufficient current evidence to demonstrate that they meet all of our national accreditation criteria in their overall careers provision.
Accreditation assessments are carried out by external specialists who are occupationally competent Careers Education and Guidance (CEG) professional assessors. Nationally, our Awarding Bodies have over 100 CEG assessors – no other assessment force exists of its kind, dedicated to the accreditation of the highest quality careers provision in our country.
The DfE’s Statutory Guidance to secondary schools on their careers guidance duty strongly recommends all schools to achieve the Quality in Careers Standard. The October 2018 Statutory Guidance includes the following paragraph:
22. Schools can gain formal accreditation of their careers programme through the Quality in Careers Standard – the national quality award for careers education, information, advice and guidance. The Standard offers an opportunity for schools to undergo an external evaluation of their careers programme and so is distinct from the Compass self-assessment. The Standard has been aligned to the Gatsby Benchmarks and incorporates Compass into its processes, so those schools achieving the Standard meet all eight Benchmarks. We strongly recommend that all schools work towards the updated Quality in Careers Standard, incorporating Compass, to support the development of their careers programme.
The DfE’s October 2018 guidance to Further Education Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges concerning their duties and responsibilities for 16-18 careers guidance is here.