Higher Ideas and the Gatsby benchmarks

The Government's statutory guidance Careers guidance and access for education and training providers sets out that "every school and academy providing secondary education should use the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Benchmarks to develop and improve their careers provision".

The following table shows how Higher Ideas, helps you achieve each of the eight benchmarks. It is also available for download as a 2-page PDF.

Gatsby Benchmark How Higher Ideas supports you in achieving the Benchmark

1. A stable careers programme

"Every school and college should have an embedded programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers and employers".
  • A quality, impartial, frequently updated resource at the heart of your careers programme.
  • Updated by experienced HE researchers and qualified careers professionals.
  • Independent and impartial. There are no adverts in Higher Ideas and it's not beholden to any employer, agency, or department. Higher Ideas is fully funded by its subscribers, and tells it like it is.
  • Regularly updated with the latest course information and performance indicators.
  • Information on nearly 41,000 courses at over 700 universities and colleges across the UK. Higher Ideas organises the courses by grouping them into one or more of its 630 study areas, covering all available study topics.
  • Easy to use.

To get the best out of Higher Ideas in achieving this benchmark:

  • Make sure that all staff, not just the careers team, are given a suitable introduction to Higher Ideas.
  • Ensure staff, students, parents and carers know how to access your licensed Higher Ideas as part of your careers programme.

2. Learning from career and labour market information

"Every pupil, and their parents, should have access to good quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities. They will need the support of an informed adviser to make best use of available information".
  • Higher Ideas shows options for progressing into higher education.
  • Higher Ideas also contains information on hundreds of careers which have an HE training route. This includes a brief career description, training information, and suggestions for study areas containing courses which are useful or essential in reaching that career.
  • Higher Ideas includes relevant web links to professional bodies, universities, training providers, and other organisations.
  • Higher Ideas links to Jed (where licensed), which contains full details on over 850 careers. Jed also includes labour market information (LMI) for each job, including industry trends, transferable skills, working environment, progressions, and how pay changes with experience.
  • Where available, Higher Ideas shows many performance indicators about each course. These include the actual entry grades that students had on arrival, continuation onto the second year of the course, information from the National Student Survey, degree classifications awarded at graduation, and graduate employment six months after the course.
  • The ‘Help' section in Higher Ideas has 100 factsheets on key topics that can help students make good HE choices such as career paths, training options, choosing the right course, performance indicators, and studying abroad.
  • Your Higher Ideas licence allows use by all your students, including at home and with parents and carers.

3. Addressing the needs of each pupil

"Pupils have different career guidance needs at different stages. Opportunities for advice and support need to be tailored to the needs of each pupil. A school's careers programme should embed equality and diversity considerations throughout".
  • Higher Ideas can be explored at different stages. At 14+, Higher Ideas helps in making GCSE choices; at 16+ it helps in making choices at A-level and equivalent. Higher Ideas shows how choice of subjects at school is relevant to getting a place on an HE course and studying at degree level.
  • Higher Ideas contains details for both single and joint honours courses. Joint and combined honours courses expand the range of HE options available to students.
  • Higher Ideas encourages students to explore ideas based on interests, as well as academic subjects.
  • Higher Ideas helps to broaden students' knowledge about the wide range of courses available, many of which may be new to them. Each study area has suggestions for related courses that students could consider.
  • Higher ideas assumes no prior knowledge of HE or the higher education process. It is written in a straightforward style with a controlled reading age.
  • Higher Ideas contains 100 factsheets about choices, universities, and degrees. Factsheet topics include open days, choosing your course, performance indicators, accreditation, student finance and more. The factsheets also include specific help for students with disabilities.
  • Higher Ideas uses gender-neutral language ("them" and "they", not "her", "she", "him", "he") and gender-neutral job titles (police officer, not policewoman or policeman, etc).
  • Higher Ideas is independent and impartial. It contains no advertising.

4. Linking curriculum learning to careers

"All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. For example, STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of career pathways."
  • Higher Ideas links current learning with future opportunities in HE. Students indicate their current or intended subject choices at A-level or equivalent, and Higher Ideas suggests relevant degree subjects.
  • Study area descriptions include ideas for relevant careers.
  • Each study area in Higher Ideas shows whether specific school subjects are likely to be required, and also lists other subjects which may be useful.

5. Encounters with employers and employees

"Every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of enrichment opportunities including visiting speakers, mentoring and enterprise schemes."
  • Students can use Higher Ideas to research training routes for graduate careers. Preparation will help them to focus their interest and get the most out of their employer encounters.
  • Following on from employer encounters, students can use Higher Ideas to research relevant degree courses and careers.

6. Experiences of workplaces

"Every pupil should have first-hand experiences of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities, and expand their networks."
  • Wide-ranging up-to-date Higher Ideas factsheets help students get to grips with workplace vocabulary such as work experience, National Minimum Wage and CV writing. These can help students prepare for workplace visits.
  • There are factsheets which offer help and guidance about various ways that students can get workplace experience including volunteering and part-time jobs while in education.
  • Students can use the careers information and professional body links in Higher Ideas to do further research after their workplace visits.

7. Encounters with further and higher education

"All pupils should understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them. This includes both academic and vocational routes and learning in schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace."
  • Higher Ideas helps students understand the full range of available learning opportunities. There is a huge range of potential degree subjects and types of degrees. Higher Ideas helps students understand more about the choices available and how to decide what's right for them.
  • Students can use Higher Ideas to explore courses relevant to their interests and school subjects, and to decide which open days to visit.
  • Higher Ideas factsheets are wide-ranging and thoroughly researched and cover both academic and vocational routes into employment. Topics include apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships, post-16 study options, access to free further education, personal statements, and university offers.
  • Students can use Higher Ideas to prepare for university open days. The Open Days factsheet includes an invaluable guide covering what to look out for, as well as general tips to help students make the most of their open day visits.

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."
  • Gives careers advisers instant access to information on 41,000 HE courses. By grouping these into study areas, Higher Ideas makes it easy to find courses which cover similar topics.
  • Helps students prepare for their one-to-one interviews so they get the most out of them.
  • Helps students research ideas and action points that have been discussed in their guidance interview.
  • A site licence gives 24x7 access to relevant higher education information for all staff and students of that establishment on site and at home. Can be used by students at home to discuss their ideas with parents and carers.
  • Independent, impartial, and researched by our experienced research team.
  v 1.3, November 2021

Further information on the Gatsby benchmarks can be found on the Good Careers Guidance website, which is produced by the Gatsby Foundation.

Further information on the statutory guidance for schools and colleges can be found in Careers guidance and access for education and training providers on the .gov website.

See also how Jed, the Job Explorer Database, can support you in achieving the Gatsby benchmarks.

Last updated 19 November, 2021