Introduction to the Progressive framework


The neaco Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) framework provides a set of outcomes and accompanying resources to support student aspiration and progression between Years 9-13. The key objective is to ensure that students are able to make informed and appropriate decisions relating to their post-16 and post-18 choices.

This progressive framework is designed to ensure that Higher Education Champions (HECs) working as part of the “Take Your Place” programme are supported with a consistent set of outcomes linked, where appropriate, to school and college terms. A progressive approach is used to help structure provision and ensure consistent development of Information, Advice and Guidance activities.


1. Emphasizing key messages: avoiding information overload

Recent research shows that students often fail to make use of relevant and authoritative sources of information due to information overload. (“Moments of Choice”, Careers and Enterprise Company, 2016).

Students are unable to navigate the current IAG terrain and lapse into decision paralysis, making choices based on guidance derived from unreliable sources of information.

The IAG framework privileges key ‘quality’ messages delivered at the right moment instead of seeking to provide exhaustive inventories of information which attempt to cover all possible scenarios at inappropriate junctures. Early activities based on student finance, for example, place emphasis on what a student loan is (and is not) rather than delving into potentially confusing material about parental income levels, interest rates, and differential scales of available finance.

2. Exploratory and activity-based resources

Progressive framework resources are built around key exploratory questions to allow students to develop an understanding of the main messages and to ensure that pupils are empowered to approach future choices independently. Content is delivered through activities with students positioned as dynamic participants in learning rather than passive recipients of information.

3. Content reinforcement

The Progressive Framework spans Years 9-13. While resources can be delivered sequentially, the framework is modular allowing for standalone sessions to be run. The modular nature of resources ensures that key content is revisited at appropriate intervals.

4. Differentiation through mainstreamed activities

Given the diverse nature of students taking part in activities and the difficulty in predicting the composition of specific groups, resources are designed to ensure that activities are ‘mainstreamed’. Differentiation for NEACO target groups (EAL, ethnic minority and male students) is incorporated within common resources.


Resources are organised in two core strands:

  1. understanding and preparedness
  2. passion and ambition

Flexibility is provided through additional wraparound resources.

Strand 1: Understanding and preparedness

Resources in this strand focus on the specific requirements, means and option choices through which students can realise their aspirations for transitions between Key Stages.

Strand 2: Passion and ambition

Passion and ambition resources centre on enabling students to explore, identify and articulate their passions and aspirations giving positive incentives for choosing post-16 and post-18 pathways.

Wraparound resources

Wraparound resources provide flexibility for the core framework. Resources in this strand include: (i) presentations and information sheets for parental engagement; (ii) activities to introduce and draw a dividend from outside speakers and external organisations. Wraparound resources are not tied to specific terms and can be delivered at any time.