Support & Tools

Specialist Support For The Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) Sector

Good career guidance ensures that all young people, whatever their needs, background or ambitions, know the options open to them and can make the informed choices needed to fulfil their potential. This is particularly important for the more than one million young people in England recognised as having SEND. Far too often, these young people can be held back by negative stereotypes and assumptions about their limitations.

The Gatsby Benchmarks define what world-class career guidance looks like. During Gatsby’s pilot of the Benchmarks, experienced SEND practitioners and national advocates were brought together to form a SEND working group. Drawing on their expertise of developing careers programmes in different settings, in both special and mainstream schools and colleges, they gave the clear message that it would not be appropriate to define a separate set of Benchmarks for students with SEND.

But we recognise that some of the Benchmarks may be implemented in a different way in special schools and colleges, alternative provision, and for some students with SEND in the mainstream. We also recognise that the professionals who work with these young people every day are the experts and are best placed to adapt their career guidance activity to the different needs of their students.

Have you read our full SEND collection?

Gatsby has produced Good Career Guidance: Perspectives from the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Sector, in partnership with The Careers & Enterprise Company and Disability Rights UK. It brings together the written perspectives you can access on this page and is available to download.

Download the collection


A student from the Royal College Manchester taking part in work experience

We have gathered together the views of leading practitioners and national experts on the importance of career guidance for students with SEND. They each describe how they, or those they support, have successfully used the Benchmarks to deliver better career guidance for students with a wide range of needs and disabilities. We hope their perspectives will give you confidence when considering your careers offer for students with SEND.

This collection sits alongside resources from The Careers & Enterprise Company, including the SEND Gatsby Benchmark Toolkit which provides more detailed advice and ideas to help you meet each Benchmark. Details of some of the external organisations and resources that can help you as you work towards the Benchmarks are listed under Support.

Perspectives from the SEND sector


Jenny Connick, Founder


Clare Howard, CEO


Dr Adam Boddison, Chief Executive

Brookfields School

Maurice George, Assistant Headteacher and Careers Leader

Seashell Trust

Bernie White, Director of Education

Council for Disabled Children

Dame Christine Lenehan, Director

Cleaswell Hill School

Emma Steele, Head of sixth form and Careers Leader, and Chair of the North East SEND careers working group

Derwentside College

Mary Stokoe, Careers and Progression Adviser

Northumbrian Water

Sophie Carvin, Manager of the Northumbrian Water Group Academy

St Joseph's Catholic Academy

Helen Hall, Special Educational Needs Coordinator

Catcote Academy

Jackie McGarry, Careers & Employment Coordinator

The Link School Sunderland

Ron Cruikshanks, Director of Safeguarding and Strategic Careers Leader