Employers are from Mars, Schools are from Venus


GCSE grades A* to G in England have been replaced by a new grade scale numbered from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade.

The new grades were brought in to signal that GCSEs have been reformed and to better differentiate between students of different abilities. Ofqual says that new GCSE content will be more challenging, with fewer grade 9s expected to be awarded than A* s.

According to Ofqual, the new GCSEs are ‘linear’, which means they are exam focused and that all those exams come at the end of the course. This differs from the previous  ?modular? courses, which
assessed using both exams and course work.

Grades 9, 8 and 7 range from A* to A, 6, 5 and 4 range from B to C and 3, 2 and 1 range from D to G.


The government maintains a portal where you can search for primary, secondary and special needs
schools and colleges, and check their performance.

You can view and download:
– exam and test results
– Ofsted reports
– financial information
– pupil destination outcomes

Many areas produce their own localised Labour Market Information in order to understand the skills
and careers required. Sources of Labour Market Information include Connexions, the National Careers Service and regional Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Search the portal and research local schools at: compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk


Careers guidance is an increasingly measured and evidenced area of education, and the Gatsby
Benchmarks are the most commonly used markers.

All secondary schools in England are expected to meet all eight benchmarks by the end of 2020:
– A stable careers programme
– Learning fromcareer and labour market information
– Addressing the needs of each pupil
– Linking curriculumlearning to careers
– Encounterswith employers and employees
– Experiences of workplaces
– Encounterswith further and higher education
– Personal guidance



  1. Ask the school for their careers programme and see where your expertise will count most.
  2. Be a critical friend  – support and challenge the school to develop a stable careers
  3. Be prepared to build a long-term relationship and to contribute to all aspects of school life.
  4. Make sure your staff are briefed before taking part in activities.
  5. Contribute to the school’s evaluation and act on feedback to do things differently or better
    next time.
  6. Help schools develop a programme that takes into account the trends in your business, your
    sector and the wider economy.
  7. Use your networks to encourage others to contribute to the careers programme and to
    take on key supporting roles.
  8. Review all existing employer engagement and make sure that it has maximum impact and
    streamline where appropriate.