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Gatsby careers benchmark north east implementation pilot: interim evaluation (2015-2017)This report presents interim evaluation findings on the implementation of the Gatsby Benchmarks (herewith referred to as the Benchmarks) for good career guidance with a sample of 16 pilot schools and colleges (herewith referred to as education providers) in the North East of England. These interim findings report progress made against the Benchmarks during the course of the pilot (autumn 2015 to autumn 2017), the enablers and barriers faced, and the impact of the Benchmarks on learners’ career readiness and attainment. The interim findings suggest the following: Timescale - Schools and colleges involved were able to make significant strides towards fully meeting most, if not all, Benchmarks within two years. To date Benchmark 2 (Learning from career and labour market information) and Benchmark 7 (Encounters with FE and HE) have seen the largest increase in the number of pilot education providers fully achieving them. Benchmark 3 (Addressing the needs of every pupil) and Benchmark 4 (Linking curriculum to careers) have the least number of pilot education providers fully achieving them. Positive impact on learners. Learners show an increase in some aspects of career readiness and tentative increases in some aspects of GCSE attainment. Effective implementation of the Benchmarks. This was enabled by the existence of a regional facilitator to support pilot education providers and strong provider leadership and robust organisational infrastructures. Key barriers were a lack of time and space (in the curriculum), a lack of funding and a lack of commitment at senior leadership level, which impacted on achieving a cultural shift in some education providers. Regional impact. The implementation of the Benchmarks is impacting more widely in the region with non-pilot education providers forming links with pilot providers to seek support on developing good career guidance in their settings. Furthermore, wider stakeholders such as local employers and providers of careers education were also using the Benchmarks to review and develop their services to schools/colleges. Emerging challenges: A noticeable challenge was how the term ‘meaningful’, in relation to encounters with employers and employees, was interpreted and how education providers monitor provision of such encounters.