We all want the very best futures for our sons and daughters, so parents need to be assured that secondary schools and colleges provide top quality careers support.
If a secondary school or a college holds our national Quality in Careers Standard, parents can be assured that it provides its students with careers support of the quality of the best.
To achieve our national award, secondary schools and colleges submit their careers education and guidance programme for rigorous external assessment and accreditation by a Licensed Awarding Body – we’ve appointed a number of Awarding Bodies across England. All are accredited against the same set of national requirements by our Consortium.
Our Awarding Bodies undertake assessments by an expert Careers Education & Guidance assessor (who is independent of the school or college). Assessments are made against our national assessment criteria, fully incorporating the Gatsby Benchmarks for “Good Careers Guidance” and requiring additional evidence of impact on students’ career-related learning from the careers programme. Below we report on the level of engagement of schools and colleges with the Standard and on the independent analysis of its impact on achieving the important Gatsby Benchmarks.
The national Standard requires secondary schools and colleges to demonstrate that their careers programme:
- has strong leadership from the Head Teacher/Principal, the senior leadership team and the governing body
- has effective training for staff involved in planning and delivering the careers programme
- includes all pupils and students
The school or college must have an effective programme of careers education, enterprise and employability including work-related learning opportunities for students.
Employers, as well as further and higher education providers, must be involved in the programme to open up and increase students’ understanding of a wide range of options, routes and providers of apprenticeships, internships, colleges and universities.
Quality in Careers assessments are external assessments, not internal self-assessments by schools and colleges (although they do build heavily upon internal self-assessments using the COMPASS tool). Our expert assessors make on-site/virtual visits, meet students and require school and college leaders and staff teams to demonstrate that their careers programme will:
- educate, prepare and inspire young people as they make decisions about their future learning and work choices
- improve their motivation and aspiration
- develop their career learning skills, knowledge and attributes, and
- increase their understanding of work-based issues such as prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination and equal opportunities.
So our assessors look for key evidence of not only inputs (such as numbers of visits to employers, colleges etc) in the careers programme, but also of the impact these have on students’ career-related learning.
This link takes you to all of the Award Holders for the Quality in Careers Standard.
Our website also offers case studies of best practice in schools and colleges giving more details of how the very best provide careers support for their students.
December 2021 headline figures: almost 21 months after the Covid19 pandemic began and seriously disrupted many facets of education, including time to work towards the Standard – these show that the level of active engagement of schools and colleges with the national Standard was:
- 719 English secondary schools and colleges holding the award.
- Of whom 68% have been accredited using the 2019 revised criteria.
- The remaining 32% of the award holders have now come or are coming to the time for reaccreditation under the 2019 revised criteria. Most of these have been offered – as agreed with the Consortium Board and DfE- a ‘period of grace’ to defer submissions for reassessment because of the impact of Covid19. This ‘period of grace’ is due to either expire or be reviewed at Easter 2022.
- There were a further 472 schools and colleges actively “working towards” assessment in 2022.
- Therefore, in December 2021, there were 1191 English schools and colleges actively engaged with the Standard.
- In addition, 6 secondary schools hold the Standard in Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands, as well as 2 middle schools in England.
This January 2022 analysis by the Careers & Enterprise Company of the “Compass” scores for the 719 schools and colleges holding the Standard showed:
- Education institutions accredited under the Quality in Careers Standard achieved an average of 4.6 Gatsby Benchmarks in 2020/21. This is higher than the national average for schools and colleges of 4.0 and similar to Careers Hubs.
- Schools and colleges with accreditation that were also in Careers Hubs achieved, on average, the highest number of Gatsby Benchmarks – 5.1. Those with accreditation that were not in a Careers Hub achieved, on average, one fewer benchmark – 4.1
So, parents can be confident that the careers support provided by secondary schools or colleges achieving the national Quality in Careers Standard will help every student to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to take control of their futures.