Work experience: guidance

Work experience isn’t statutory at Key Stage 4, but is expected at Key Stage 5. Brush up on what's expected, including for pupils with SEND, and take a look at what other schools provide.

Last reviewed on 3 March 2023
School types: All · School phases: Secondary, 16 Plus
Ref: 81
  1. KS4: work experience is not a statutory requirement, but it is expected 
  2. KS5: work experience is expected 
  3. What a high-quality work placement looks like
  4. What Ofsted expects
  5. Pupils with SEND: raise career aspirations
  6. Examples of work experience provision
  7. Read about statutory careers requirements and more

KS4: work experience is not a statutory requirement, but it is expected 

The Gatsby benchmarks state that it is 'expected' that every pupil must have had at least 1 first-hand experience of a workplace by the time they're 16. This is not necessarily a formal work experience placement. It could be:

  • A work visit
  • Work shadowing
  • Work experience placements
  • Career-related volunteering and social action

The Gatsby benchmarks are not statutory, but they are a useful framework to use to develop your careers programme in line with the statutory requirements

Students on 16 to 19 study programmes are expected to do work experience or some form of work-related training as part of their study programme. For some, it can be the core aim of their study programme The time spent by students on work experience is funded at the same level as qualifications taught in the classroom Work experience should be