March 20, 2021

Evaluation of the North East UK Gatsby Benchmarks Pilot Released

The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) at the University of Derby has published the final evaluation of the Gatsby funded North East pilot of the Gatsby Benchmarks for Good Career Guidance. The results show that improving career guidance by using the Benchmarks can lead to better student outcomes, while also raising aspirations and increasing engagement with education.

The evaluation followed 16 schools and colleges in the North East of England as they implemented Benchmarks over four years. Findings within the report include:

  • 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, FSM status, looked after status and Ofsted rating were statistically controlled for.
  • 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.

In addition, teaching staff observed real changes in learner’s engagement in class. There was a reduction in learners querying the purpose of particular subjects or topics because they understood the relationship between knowledge/skills and their future career. Employers supporting the pilot also said that young people were better able to articulate their career ideas and talk about themselves, and were better informed about their options as well as the types of jobs available.

The pilot, begun in 2015, was run jointly with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Following early results, the Government adopted the Gatsby Benchmarks into their 2017 Careers Strategy for all schools and colleges in England and has recently renewed its commitment to having the Benchmarks as a part of national education strategy in the ‘Skills for Jobs’ White Paper. The role of the North East LEP has been emulated by The Careers & Enterprise Company’s through their Careers Hubs networks.

The full report can be found by following this link, and four case studies of the schools and colleges can be found here.