January 23, 2020

Should Parental Involvement be the 9th Gatsby Benchmark?

The Gatsby Benchmarks are clearly making an impact on Schools and education providers as many gear up for the requirements. For clarity, the 8 benchmarks of best practice are:

  • A stable careers programme.
  • Learning from career and labour market information.
  • Addressing the needs of each pupil.
  • Linking curriculum learning to careers.
  • Encounters with employers and employees.
  • Experiences of workplaces.
  • Encounters with further and higher education.
  • Personal guidance.

Here at AlphasCareers our team continues to discuss with our clients how they are implementing the benchmarks. Whilst everyone is still learning and there are many yet to really progress very far, the progress that has been made is encouraging.

Inevitably, and disappointingly some have viewed the benchmarks as a ‘tick box’ approach to careers advice, either through a lack of resources, or sponsorship from the School to do the job properly, or that quite simply, fulfilling the benchmarks comprehensively is viewed as time consuming and would require a greater level of involvement that has been made available in the past.

Time and time again, and our passion for creating AlphasCareers, we identify the key missing link in a comprehensive careers advice service, the desire to involve the parent.

Parents, in our view, can be categorised into six broad categories when it comes to careers advice:

  1. Advocates – they immerse themselves in their child’s future and careers choices.
  2. Supporters – involved themselves when asked by the School.
  3. Abdicators – these expect the School to deliver a comprehensive careers advisory service.
  4. Believers – believe that the School does deliver a comprehensive careers advisory service.
  5. Uninformed – they have little understanding of the importance of careers advice to a child.
  6. Apathy – lack an overall interest in the outcomes from their child.

Whilst we would hope that the majority of parents are Advocates and Supporters, unfortunately this is not the case, with Abdicators and Believers becoming the norm and inevitable, there being some parents that remain Uninformed or are Apathetic.

Comprehensive careers advice can only be effective if we encourage all parents to become Advocates and Supporters. One way of doing this would be to introduce a 9th Benchmark for Gatsby – Parental Involvement.

We at AlphasCareers are Advocates that this is the missing ingredient to deliver a fully comprehensive careers advisory service. Let’s work together to effect this change in 2020, remove the ‘tick boxes’, and support our Careers Professionals from the very top of each organisation. It should be on the agenda of every School and Multi-Academy Trust board meeting. After all, that’s what we are here for!

Careers Advice. Done properly.

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