Benchmark 8

Personal guidance

Every pupil should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a careers adviser, who could be internal (a member of school staff) or external, provided they are trained to an appropriate level. These should be available whenever significant study or career choices are being made. They should be expected for all pupils but should be timed to meet their individual needs.

  • Every pupil should have at least one such interview by the age of 16, and the opportunity for a further interview by the age of 18.
Image: Good career guidance

Berwick Academy

Stories from the North East

Independent, impartial advice

There are many different models of one-to-one guidance, so start by researching the right one for your school. Whether you are using internal or external provision make sure a robust quality assurance system is in place to monitor the guidance given to students and ensure those providing guidance are trained to the appropriate level.

If you’re considering using someone from within the school team think about how you can ensure the interview is independent and impartial. To solve this problem some of the schools and colleges that took part in the pilot swapped staff so students received an impartial interview. This ensures staff have no preconceptions based on relationships built in the classroom.

Greenfield Community College worked with an external organisation to provide 30 minute interviews with each year 11 student. During these interviews the careers adviser discussed the student’s ambitions and helped them explore the progress they had made, or would have to make, in order to achieve these goals. The adviser also fed back to staff if there were any students with unrealistic expectations or no plan, this allowed staff to intervene and provide these students with more focussed guidance. For the students of Greenfield Community College having a 1:1 guidance interview with an external provider was positive as it reassured them about a lack of bias. The majority now have an intended destination and those that do not have been identified and given extra support.

When bringing in external providers think about the sort of information you can give them in advance – providing a record of pupils academic and career learning in one place allows them to provide more tailored advice and enables them to judge when a student’s plans are unrealistic or not ambitious enough. To make sure you are investing in something that is high-quality ask external providers how they quality assure their service and request to see evidence. The Career Development Institute (CDI) also holds a register of career development professionals who have recognised qualifications, abide by a code of ethics and undertake regular professional development.

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Our top tips

  • Judith McChesney and Rachel Duff, Career Advisers at Bishop Auckland College
    “Conducting guidance interviews was much improved when we could contextualise them with the information about students’ academic performance and career education.”

  • Rachel Reay, Career Leader at the Link School in Sunderland
    “We liaise with services that currently have responsibility for targeted guidance services – for example the Local Authority and Jobcentre – this really helped.”
  • Ron Cruikshanks from the Link School
    “I found the Careers Development Institute (CDI) website about the importance of independent and impartial guidance very useful in structuring our guidance programme and sourcing an independent adviser for the first time.”

  • Marie Jobson, Career Leader at Churchill Community College
    “To assure the quality of an external provider the Career Development Institute's (CDI) 'A guide to best practice and commissioning careers guidance services' reccomends you to check the external organisation you are employing has the Matrix Standard. If the organisation doesn't the CDI also provides a checklist.”

  • Mark Fox, Career Leader at Northumberland Church of England Academy
    “Become member of the CDI and contact them with any questions about professionally qualified advisers.”

Become a member of the Career Development Institute (CDI) and contact them with any questions About professionally qualified advisers

Mark Fox, Northumberland Church of England Academy