Benchmarks & Background

Piloting the Benchmarks

Between 2015 and 2017, 16 schools and colleges in the North East of England, coordinated by the Local Enterprise Partnership, took part in a pilot programme to test the Good Career Guidance benchmarks. The schools and colleges were chosen to represent a wide range of sizes, locations, Ofsted ratings and types, including a Pupil Referral Unit.

At the start of the pilot, 50% of the schools and colleges in the pilot were achieving no benchmarks, and no institution was achieving more than three. But after two years of hard work over 85% reached between six and eight benchmarks, with three institutions achieving all eight.

By implementing all eight benchmarks, the school has seen a dramatic fall in the number of NEET students from 60 per cent to 9 per cent in two years.

Careers leader
the link school, sunderland

The pilot was subject to an evaluation by the University of Derby which tracked outcomes for a total of four years, published in 2021. Findings included:

  • Student Career readiness scores (a measure of preparedness for work) showed significant increases in all year groups across the four years of the evaluation.
  • The greater the number of Benchmarks held, the greater the number of GCSE passes at A*-C/9-4 were achieved by each learner, even when gender, ethnicity, SEND status, Free School Meal status, looked after status and Ofsted rating were taken into account.
  • Between 2015 and 2019, learners at pilot colleges became increasingly more likely to achieve their learning outcomes, compared to learners at local colleges or all other colleges.

Click here to read more about the evaluation.

See below for a map of the schools and colleges which took part in the pilot. To hear their stories of how they went about achieving the Benchmarks, please see the case studies section under Support & Tools.

Good Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot

The schools and colleges in the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot are:

1. Berwick Academy, Berwick
2. Bishop Auckland College, Bishop Auckland
3. Castle View Enterprise Academy, Sunderland 
4. Churchill Community College, Wallsend 
5. East Durham College, Peterlee
6. Excelsior Academy, Newcastle
7. Greenfield Community College, Newton Aycliffe
8. Harton Academy, South Shields
9. Kenton School, Newcastle
10. Duke's Secondary School, Ashington 
11. Park View School, Chester le Street
12. The Academy at Shotton Hall, Peterlee
13. St Joseph's Catholic Academy, Hebburn
14. Sunderland College, Sunderland
15. The King Edward VI School, Morpeth
16. The Link School, Sunderland

Circle = Secondary School
Square = Further Education College