The 8 Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance

In 2013 Sir John Holman wrote “The Good Careers Guidance Report” in which he details the 8 key benchmarks designed to provide a framework for improving careers provisions in schools. Please see our “Careers Learning Journey” above to see which benchmarks we are looking to meet at each stage of a students career education. For more information see the Gatsby Benchmark website here.

Our aim is to provide students with information from varied sources to allow them to make informed decisions regarding options, further education, higher education, apprenticeships and future career pathways. If you have any questions about the Careers Programme at Thomas Gainsborough School, or you would like to know how we are doing in relation to meeting the above benchmarks, please email Mrs Osborne who would be happy to share that information with you.

In order that students and their parents have all the information they need to make informed decisions about their futures, we have added some links to sites and documents below which we hope you find useful.

Information For Parents/Carers

What can parents/carers do to help their child with decisions about their future? - It is widely recognised that parents/carers are the most influential force in a young person’s career and education. We understand it is hard to know how to support your child in the difficult decisions they have to make along their education and career journey. This is especially true as the choices and qualifications may well have changed since you were at school. Hopefully these guides and links to useful websites will help answer some of your questions, and ensure you have up to date information to support your child.

How can my child explore the world of work and different career options? Start Profile is a free website students can use to research different career options as well as information such as average salaries, hours of work, where the jobs are in the UK and importantly, whether the data suggests we will need more or less of those jobs in the future (see section below on Labour Market Information)

Where can I read more about regional jobs and opportunities?   Suffolk Work & Skills Magazine A really great, colourful and interesting magazine designed for young people. Suffolk County Council are working on an update that should be released in the first quarter of 2021.

How can I help my child develop useful skills for the workplace?  - The Skills Builder Partnerships website provides some useful exercises you can work through with your child to develop the 8 top skills required by employers.

Subject Guides

If students are interested in finding out where particular subjects can lead them please see the great resources below that provide a list of jobs, different routes and skills learnt whilst studying  - 

Art & Design -

Biology -

Business Studies -

Chemistry -

Computer Science

Design and Technology -

Drama -

English -

Geography -

History -

Maths -

Modern Foreign Languages -

Music -

Physical Education -

Physics -

Psychology -

Religious Studies -

Sociology -

Post 16 Options 

After sitting GCSEs and completing Year 11 students have four options available to them. A-Levels, BTECs, T-Levels or an Apprenticeship. It is a legal requirement for children to stay in some form of education until they are 18yrs old so students will need to opt for one of the above choices. Applications to college or 6th form usually need to be made by the end of the year prior to their exams in Year 11. 

The Parents’ Guide to Post 16 Options (full edition)  and (summary edition)-  available from A Parent's Guide website

What are A-Levels ?  click here

What are BTECs ? click here

What are T-Levels ? click here

What are Apprenticeships ? click here

April 2021 Apprenticeship Parent Pack click here

Where can I study A-Levels?  At a 6th form college such as Thomas Gainsborough Sixth Form , Abbeygate Sixth Form College, Colchester Sixth Form and Suffolk One

Where can I study BTEC/Vocational Courses or T- Levels? At a local vocational college such as West Suffolk College (Bury St Edmunds), Colchester InstituteSuffolk One (Ipswich) and Suffolk New College (Ipswich)

Travel bursaries are available to those who meet the eligibility criteria please click for here for more information.

Current Apprenticeship Opportunities

West Suffolk College - Apprenticeship Vacancies

Colchester Institute - Apprenticeship Vacancies

Government Official Search - Apprenticeship Vacancies

Open Days Autumn 2021

Colchester Institute - Thurs 23rd Sept & Tues 2nd Nov

Post 18 Options

After students in our 6th form sit their A-Level or BTEC qualifications they have three choices available to them ; University, Apprenticeship or Employment. Here are some resources students and parents will find useful in researching each option -

University - the UCAS website is an extremely helpful website allowing you to research university courses all over the country as well as apprenticeship information, career options and provides detailed information about the application process itself. Students can create their own login name to personalise their experience on the site. 

Please see A Parent's Guide  website for the following - 

The Parents’ Guide to University (2022 cycle)

The Parents’ Guide to Apprenticeships

The Parents’ Guide to Post 18 Options (summary)

The Parents’ Guide to Study and exam revision (sixth form)

Apprenticeships - Please see above links to Apprenticeship Vacancies and Guides. Students can also find a great deal of information on apprenticeships on the shared Google Drive in the Careers Folder under General Careers Information/Resources

Finding a Job - There are many job websites such as and Suffolk Jobs Direct where students can search for jobs that match their skills and qualities. It is important to think about Labour Market Information at this point, please see section at the bottom of this page for more information,

SEND Students

For information on post 16 options for young people with educational needs and disabilities please see the detailed "16+ Transition Guide" produced by Suffolk County Council click here . This brochure has lots of useful information about where to go for help and support with this transition. 

Supported Learning at West Suffolk College click here

Learning Support at Colchester Instituteclick here

Special Educational Needs at Suffolk One click here


If you are a local employer who would like to get involved with our school careers programme please see the document entitled “Employer Information” in the orange section to the right of this page, for details.

All School Years

TGS Careers TV - the careers department have been building a library of 20 minute interviews with professionals about their jobs, to give students a taste of the varied career opportunities availalbe to them in the future. Students can access these recordings via the Google Drive in the Careers folder.

Enrichment Day activities – Three days each year students are provided with a programme of activities which cover Careers and PSHE education.  We plan activities such as Speed Employer Networking, employer led activities and Charity events. Visits to and from TGS Universities, Colleges and employers to share information and roadshows to promote healthy living and career opportunities.

Visits to Careers Fairs – meet local employers, colleges and universities to gain information.

Visits to Local Employers – currently on hold during the pandemic but will restart as soon as possible.

Virtual Work Experience / Volunteering

Unfortunately due to Covid 19 we have had to postpone work experience for the time being. In the meantime there are many exciting virtual work experiences available from the providors below that can be organised outside school at weekends or during holidays for Years 10-13. If you cannot find what you are looking for please email Ms Perkins for assistance in finding a virtual work experience that you are interested in. 

Speakers for Schools - A varierty of great work experiences on offer. Free to register just sign up at weekends and during holidays Register Here

InvestIN Education - Amazing opportunities available however the organisation charges between £95-£595 for weekend and summer internships (5-10 days).The school can secure a 10% discount to any student and bursaries are available to students who meet the criteria (please contact Mrs Osborne for more information) Register Here

SpringPod - Brought to my attention by a 6th form student wanting a virtual work experience opportunity in law, this platform offers a wide variety of options such as journalism, finance, teaching, marketing, engineering and many more  click here

Allied Healthcare Mentor - Tried and tested by a 6th form student these virtual work experiences are run by healthcare professionals and are a great way of introducing you to a variety of different careers within the NHS. Click here for more information

Medic Mentor - A national non-profit medical organisation set up to help students get into medicine. To find out more please visit their website  -  click here

Integrated Care Academy - A new website that provides information about working in health and social care Click here for more info

Operations Wallacea - An organisation who run overseas biodiversity research projects, The work placements they are proposing offer students with an interest in science, geography, English, marketing and project management the opportunity to work alongside their team of internationally-renowned scientists, business development, marketing and expedition management experts. For more information see their website click here.

Care Development East - A new NHS Work Experience Portal has been created offereing virtual work experience opportunities in a number of different areas including Physiotherapy, Operations Department Practitioner, Nursing, Learning Disability Support and Midwifery and more to be added soon. To sign up please click here

For a more extensive list of virtual work experience opportunities please click here. Click on “Access resource here” to download the document. Alternatively sign up to the careers weekly newsletter for a regular update of virtual work experience options in different sectors.

For a parent’s guide to virtual work experience and it's benefits click here.

Volunteering is a great way of gaining experience whilst helping others. Volunteer Suffolk will help you find many local opportunities to get involved with such as Girl Guide/Scout Groups and the Befriending Scheme. 

The Bridge Project -

3rd Sudbury Scout Group - Graham Toy 07393 668 557 

Hadleigh Food Bank -

Suffolk Libraries - During the summer holidays they are looking for students to help with their summer reading programme for 4-11 year olds. Tasks include; helping read to children, hand out awards and help them pick new books. If interested please go to the school library or call 01787 315 195.

Half Ribbons (Years 7-9)

All students are regularly encouraged by the Heads of House, tutors, subject teacher and support staff to get involved in the half and full ribbon scheme to award student's activities in the following areas - 

  • Progress
  • Community
  • Sport
  • Employabilty
  • Creativity

Students need 6 pieces of evidence for each to receive their half ribbon badges. This can include letters from teachers, Heads of House, external club leaders etc, annotated photos of them taking part in activities or awards received.  The aim of thise scheme is to encourage all students to take part in the varietry of activities on offer in school as well as out of school clubs and voluntery work. Please see your childs planner for more information. Students are encouraged to visit the Careers Hub regularly to put their evidence into their Record of Achievement folder and receive a stamp so they can see progress made towards each half ribbon. 

Full Ribbons (Years 9-11)

Overlapping with the half ribbons in Year 9 students can begin working on their full ribbons which will be awarded to them during graduation in Year 11. Whilst covering the same areas as the half ribbon i.e Community, Sports, Creative Arts, Commitment to Learning and Employability the criteria is more extensive. The framework for these ribbons can be found in the links on the right of this page and in your child's planner.

Extra Curricular Activities

We encourage all students to sign up to a variety of extra currilcular activities such as debating, choir, badmington, drama club football, gardening and many more.  Joining one or more after school clubs builds student's confidence and broadens their interests allowing them to develop skills such as teamwork, aiming high , listening, speaking, problem solving etc. Please click here to download a list of current clubs on offer

We also support - 

Duke of Edinburgh Awards - please contact Mrs Crawford on for more information. For more information see

National Citizen Service (Summer Camp) - please contact Miss Hilson on for more information

Labour Market Information

Labour Market Information (LMI) can help students make more informed decisions about which jobs to consider in the future based on it's upward or downward trend. The tool below allows them to compare two different jobs to see which ones are growing or contracting. For more information please see

This is not designed to crush the dreams of our students, passion is the most important factor in choosing a career path however it is important they are aware of what to expect should they choose certain career paths over others.

The Careers Hub Opening Times and Contact Details

  • Every day at breaktime and lunchtime

  • Before school and after school by appointment

  • Mrs Osborne – Careers Manager

  • Miss Perkins - Work Related Learning Co-ordinator

In our most recent Ofsted report careers advice was rated as "Outstanding".

A comprehensive and cohesive programme of advice and guidance prepares pupils very well for the next step in their education or career. Employers visit the school to help pupils with interview skills and pupils go outside the school to develop an understanding of the wider world. For example, pupils who are interested in the care industry take part in community work.

Leaders provide very effective advice and guidance to sixth-form students. Students say careers education is ‘amazing’. They benefit from links with around 150 different businesses and receive visits from a range of industries. All students complete a record of achievement with an individual employer and undertake a career management module. Students develop a folder of evidence and career action plans based on research and supporting documentation. Retention from Year 12 to Year 13 is high, and the number of students leaving the school not in education, employment or training is low.

Our Careermark was revalidated in December 2019 for a further 2 years.