What is Gatsby Benchmark 7?

Encounters with further and higher education

In detail

  • By the age of 16, every pupil should have had a meaningful encounter* with providers of the full range of learning opportunities, including sixth forms, colleges, universities and apprenticeship providers. This should include the opportunity to meet both staff and pupils.
  • By the age of 18, all pupils who are considering applying for university should have had at least two visits to universities to meet staff and pupils.
  • A ‘meaningful encounter’ is one in which the student has an opportunity to explore what it is like to learn in that environment.


We have worked with Careers Leaders from across the sector to identify useful online resources that are freely available:

Resource Description Access resources
Gatsby Benchmark toolkits Our practical toolkits focus on the Gatsby Benchmarks. They are designed to help schools and colleges identify what 'good' looks like across the eight benchmarks.

Toolkit for Schools [PDF]

Toolkit for Colleges [PDF]

Toolkit for SEND [PDF]

Advancing access This website provides free CPD for teachers and careers advisers to help them support more of their students to progress to the UK's most competitive universities. An initiative from the Russell Group Universities.  Advancing access [website]
HE Unboxed

HE Unboxed is built around a simple concept – develop sessions that showcase how subject knowledge and key transferable skills are both key to future success. We have created a suite of free resources to support teachers to deliver an aspiration raising programme of activity.

HE Unboxed [website]

UCAS Virtual Tours

Use this tool to virtually explore Universities across the country to help in planning next steps and support raising awareness of University life.

Virtual University Tours [website]
16+ Choices When it comes to the question of what to do following GCSEs there are a lot of options to think about. The Department for Education has put together a couple of simple and handy guides to inform young people and their parents about all of the options open to them.  16+ Choices
Uni Taster days  UniTasterDays.com is a free resource to support schools with Gatsby Benchmark 7, by providing
a comprehensive directory of online and on campus pre and post-16 university events open for
bookings by school groups and individual students
UniTasterDays [website]


Key reports from our research on this Benchmark:

A level insight briefing
Insight into the data behind the educational and career choices that young people make at 16 and 18.

A level myth buster
This publication seeks to bust a few myths and reveal some surprising truths about what young people are doing between the ages of 16 and 18 and what they then go on to do afterwards.

Hear from Careers Leaders delivering this benchmark

Staff from King Edward VI school speak about providing the opportunity for students to explore both academic and vocational routes.