Clarification on Gatsby Benchmarks 3 and 7

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The Careers & Enterprise Company has issued clarification around Gatsby Benchmarks 3 and 7, which schools will find useful when next updating Compass.

Read the Benchmark description below, followed by the interpretation.



A school’s careers programme should actively seek to challenge stereotypical thinking and raise aspirations. Schools should keep systematic records of the individual advice given to each pupil, and subsequent agreed decisions. All pupils should have access to these records to support their career development. Schools should collect and maintain accurate data for each pupil on their education, training or employment destinations for at least three years after they leave school.


  1. Schools should put systems in place for collection (rather than immediately have all tracking in place). Those systems should show how the data is used to evaluate and improve the careers programme.
  2. When to track:
    1. for 3 years from end of year 11 whether or not they leave the school;
    1. for up to 3 years from end of Year 13 (or equivalent). If 3 years isn’t possible – for as long as possible up to 3 years.


  1. The advantage of engaging with destinations data before a student leaves your school is that you can still provide guidance to students based on their choices and ensure that they are making informed decisions.
  2. Collecting information on students can help schools keep in contact with past students, thus building their alumni networks (which can be useful in supporting future students and improving the school’s knowledge and understanding of the labour market).



By the age of 16, every pupil should have had a meaningful encounter with providers of the full range of learning opportunities, including Sixth Forms, colleges, universities and apprenticeship providers. This should include the opportunity to meet both staff and pupils. By the age of 18, all pupils should have had at least two visits to universities to meet staff and pupils.


  1. A meaningful encounter pre-16 should include the opportunity to meet staff and pupils:
    1. gold standard practice would be a visit for all students to an HE institution to raise aspirations and ensure that everyone can see a potential pathway at some point in their career to study at a higher level (irrespective of intention or ability). 
    1.  In practice this could be a quality visit from university staff or students to the school to engage with students that has key outcomes for everyone.
  2. 2 university visits – post 16:
    1. The recommendation is that by the age of 18, all pupils who are considering applying for university should have had at least two visits to universities to meet staff and pupils.
    1. In practice this could be one visit organised by the school and one that students attend with a parent/guardian.