Careers guidance: statutory requirements (secondary)

Understand what you and your school need to do to provide compulsory careers guidance, while meeting Ofsted's 'personal development' requirements.

Last reviewed on 9 November 2023
See updates
School types: All · School phases: Secondary, 16 Plus
Ref: 3915
  1. Who this applies to
  2. Your school's duties 
  3. Your duties as a governing board
  4. Monitor your school's careers guidance
  5. The Gatsby Benchmarks: summarised
  6. Work experience
  7. Ofsted's expectations

Our associate education expert, Lorraine Petersen, helped us to write this article. Also see page 82 of the Governance Handbook.

Who this applies to

The Department for Education (DfE)'s statutory careers guidance applies to:

  • All maintained schools, including maintained special schools and pupil referral units (PRUs)
  • Academies and free schools (including alternative provision (AP) academies and free schools) 

The requirements don't apply to non-maintained special schools and independent schools.

Your school's duties 

Your school should have a strategic careers plan

This should be developed in line with the Gatsby Benchmarks (see below) and the DfE’s guidance. 

It should show how your school’s careers programme will be:

  • Implemented
  • Measured – including how your school will assess the impact on pupils

Previously this was only required for pupils in years 8 to 13, but as of 1 September 2022, schools need to provide this to year 7 pupils too. This