Preparing for OFSTED

Benchmark 1

Understandably Careers Leaders are expressing concerns about the impact on the school of any judgements made by Ofsted Inspectors in relation to Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance. Schools can only achieve, or retain, an “Outstanding” classification if Careers is judged to be “Good” so the role of Careers in the overall OFSTED grade is becoming ever more important.

There are some quick wins that any Careers Leader can implement to get that valuable “Good” including:-

    • Knowing your leaver destinations for the last three years
    • Completion of a Compass Audit in the last six months and:-
      • Knowing where you are against each Benchmark and why
      • Having a SMART plan to achieve all the Benchmarks by the end of 2020.
    • Ensuring that you are complying with all the Statutory Requirements contained within the latest version of the DfE Statutory Guidance. This can be found at:-

pages 10 to 12 of the guidance cover your legal and contractual responsibilities

  • Making sure that your website is up to date and reflects all the good work you are doing

Beyond these basics it is important to think about careers as you would any other area of the curriculum and I understand that at least one school has been subject to a “Deep Dive” of careers since the new framework came into force.

You need to apply OFSTED’s three I’s to your careers curriculum:-

  • Intent
  • Implementation
  • Impact

As with any other curriculum you should start with clear learning outcomes for each year group developing across the years. An excellent place to ensure that you are delivering on this is by using the CDI Framework which can be found at:-

It would be well worth reviewing your curriculum against the Framework to make sure that it is delivering against the three I’s.

A last bit of advice would be to beware of thinking that a careers curriculum can be simply a series of activities or interventions. Whilst these activities form an essential part of a careers curriculum they need to be part of an integrated programme that is developmental and is designed to ensure that your students become well informed and realistic career decision makers for the rest of their lives. I still like the approach I learnt as a Careers Adviser, in the mid 1990’s,  using the well trusted DOTS model. This is a model that can be adopted to support individual students as well as to develop a careers curriculum to deliver the following :-

    • Decision Making – the development of decision making skills and an understanding of the decision making process
    • Opportunity Awareness – understanding the learning and employment opportunities and structures in the immediate and near future. This would also include understanding the long term developments in the world of work such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
    • Transition Skills – helping students manage the process of moving from one phase to another. This includes practical skills such as CV writing and interviewing as well attitude related issues such as learning about what it will be like going to university or starting an apprenticeship through experiences such as visiting a university and undertaking work experience.
    • Self-Awareness – helping students to understand themselves and their world. Without this the three other elements are in danger of being an academic study which will fail to enable the student to make and implement decisions that are unique to them.