Information for Schools

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Bracknell Forest Virtual School


The role of the Virtual School is to promote the educational achievement of Children Looked After. This is whether they are educated in Bracknell Forest or placed out of authority. We do this by having high aspirations and working to close the attainment gap between them and their peers.

As a Virtual School, we aim to develop an in-depth understanding of the child’s educational needs and challenges. We advise on, secure and maintain the best possible education provision according to these needs. For further information about the Virtual School, please visit:


Careers Provision in Schools: What are Ofsted Inspectors Looking for?


From September 2019, some areas under the Common Inspection Frameworkrelate to careers education, advice, and guidance.

While there is no actual checklist, inspectors will be looking for a number of things when they visit schools in relation to this:




Gatsby Benchmarks

Inspectors are fully aware of the Gatsby Benchmarks and will be looking for evidence of how well schools are performing against them – the easier schools can demonstrate this, the better.

tick.gifIn line with DfE statutory guidancethey’ll be looking for a visible and easily accessible careers policy and programme. Evidence of an action plan based on the Compass Toolassessment is desirable.




Signposting to Careers Information


attention.gif  With Inspectors checking school and college websites in advance of a visit, we recommend schools create a ‘careers hub’ which is easy to find.

attention.gif  This should include your careers policy and programme and the name of your Careers Leader as a minimum, as well as signposting to a range of high quality, relevant careers and labour market information aimed at students and parents that staff are aware of (Benchmark 2).




Addressing the Needs of all Learners


tick.gif  Once on site, as well as checking that there is an effective careers leader with coordinating responsibilities in place, inspectors will want to see evidence of commitment from management and leadership to a consistent and effective careers programme which encompasses all learners, not just those applying to university (Benchmark 1).

tick.gif  Ofsted is particularly interested in the careers guidance offered to level 3 students not wanting to go to university and will be checking and reporting on whether schools are opening their doors to FE providers to let them talk to pre-16 students about technical education and apprenticeships (Benchmark 7). This is the Baker Clause, a statutory duty on schools which many are currently falling behind on.

information.gif  One of the ways this will be checked is by talking to students and asking if they know about vocational routes and checking that encounters with vocational, FE and HE providers are scheduled in.





Quality Careers Guidance


positive.gif  The ‘outstanding’ grade descriptor for the personal development section of the Framework highlights that schools should provide

“High quality, impartial guidance that helps pupils make informed choices about which courses suit their academic needs and aspirations”

(Benchmark 8).


positive.gif  By ‘high quality’ we are talking about a careers adviser working in school having, or working towards, a level 6 qualification in guidance. A recent Ofsted webinar also stated that it expects guidance to be available as and when students need it – we know this is easier said than done!

positive.gif  In addition to guidance, Ofsted will be looking at how students learn career management skills in school – that they

“Build on their prior attainment and are enabled to develop clear, ambitious and realistic plans for their future”.

Schools should also consider how students are informed of available opportunities and local and national skills needs (Benchmarks 2 and 5).





What Else?


question.gif  Other ways in which Ofsted will check against the Framework include:

         >  Talking to pupils;

         >  Looking at destination data;

         >  Looking at student action plans and ensuring that these are reviewed;

         >  Conducting a parent survey and post-16 employer survey;

         >  Proof that stereotypical thinking is challenged;

         >  Looking for evidence of how the careers programme is communicated to staff and that CEIAG is evident within all curriculum areas (Benchmark 4).

question.gif  They will also be looking at work experience programmes and whether a school is undertaking a Quality in Careers Standard award.





Key Messages


apply.gif  The absence of a formal checklist leaves it up to the school to flesh out what Inspectors are looking for but from listening directly to what some of them are saying, we are starting to get the gist of what can be expected.

apply.gif  The key messages overreaching the specific requirements set out in the Gatsby Benchmarks seem to be ensuring impartiality, quality over quantity, and making sure that the individual needs of each student are addressed.