HEPA Blog: How can you meet Gatsby 7?

Thursday 16th May 2019

Part of our series of blogs from our Higher Education Progression Advisers.

The Gatsby bench mark that many schools and colleges across the country are finding a challenge to meet is Gatsby 7. This benchmark is ‘Encounters with further and higher education’.

The Gatsby foundation summarises this as:

“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 workplaces.”

In the State of the Nation 2018 report (Careers and Enterprise Company) it was reported that only 12.5% of schools had achieved this benchmark, 73% had partially achieved it with 14.4% of schools not achieving it at all.

To meet the benchmark by the end of year 11 students should have had ‘a meaningful encounter’ with the full range of learning providers. This can include colleges, 6th forms, training providers and universities. The benchmark helps students to understand their full range of options open to them after year 11, how the options may differ and which could be most appropriate for them and their future career plans.

In looking at meeting this benchmark there are a range of different activities that can be offered. To best meet the needs of all pupils it is useful to cover a range of different providers including traditional and non-traditional routes. This benchmark can also help schools to raise pupils’ aspirations by bringing them into contact with providers they traditionally would not have met.

Ways to meet this benchmark:

  • HeppSY sessions focusing on HE
  • Careers fair in school
  • Carousel of assemblies of different providers
  • Visits to providers
  • Taster sessions
  • ‘Speed dating’ style event where young people ask questions of providers

Things to consider:

  • Preparation sessions before events where young people come up with questions and plan which providers they would like to find out more about can help students to get the most out of the event
  • At large events young people might be nervous to go and talk to different providers, smaller events can be more effective
  • Visits to providers can be useful for helping students to make decisions and imagining where they would like to study

For students at college and 6th form they should have had at least 2 visits to universities. A visit can help a young person to consider if university is potentially for them and by visiting more than 1 university if can start to show how providers differ and begin to help their decision making.

Potential opportunities for university visits:

  • Organising visits to university open days
  • Visits to subject specific university taster days
  • Students taking part in pre university programmes
  • Students attending university summer schools

Things to think about:

  • Follow up sessions in school after activities can help students who have any follow up questions
  • Choosing different universities to visit such as city and campus style can help students to see the differences and consider their preferences when they attend future open days
  • Publicise upcoming open days in school and college encouraging students to attend

Effectively meeting the benchmarks

  • Keep a record of everyone who attends visits and events as evidence of working towards the benchmarks
  • Student evaluation after events and visits can help you to evaluate which have been the most effective and which should be repeated in the future
  • Student careers questionnaires can help to identify where students are considering attending and where visits could be targeted

Further sources of information:

Gatsby toolkit: www.careersandenterprise.co.uk

Track your progress towards meeting the benchmarks: www.compass.careersandenterprise.co.uk

Are you eligible? Click here to find out