A new scheme is being launched today which aims to widen the horizons and aspirations of primary school children by helping them make the connections between their lessons and possible future careers.
Primary Futures has been developed by school leaders’ union NAHT in partnership with the Education and Employers charity. It is free to all state primary schools and is part of the successful Inspiring the Future programme which has already registered 13,500 volunteers and 75 per cent of state secondary schools.
Through Primary Futures primary schools will be able to access a vast network of volunteers from different backgrounds and professions – from young apprentices to chief executives, archaeologists to zoologists, sole traders to multi-national companies.
The scheme has been developed by NAHT’s immediate past president Steve Iredale and seven other head teachers who, over the last year, have run a series of pilots in 16 schools across the country.
In his school, Athersley South Primary in Barnsley, Mr Iredale said: “One of our first volunteers was a senior female paramedic from Wakefield. She was able to relate the children’s learning in literacy and numeracy to her job. The children could see a real link as she highlighted the importance of writing patient notes neatly to avoid the threat to someone’s safety caused by illegible case-notes.
“The pilots have been a great success hence we are now rolling out the scheme nationally.”
Russell Hobby, general secretary of NAHT said: “For children of primary age, making a connection between what they learn in the classroom and how it relates to the world of work isn’t easy. Primary Futures is intended to change that. It is not about specific careers advice, or fixing on one path for the future at age 11. It is about widening horizons on what can be achieved. Children also benefit from understanding the practical requirements of the working world so they can be motivated to improve their literacy and numeracy. ”
Nick Chambers, director of Education and Employers, a charity set up five years ago to build effective partnerships between schools and employers, said: “Primary Futures grew out of discussions with NAHT about how best employers could support primary schools. Head teachers were keen to invite volunteers from outside their immediate communities to give children the chance to meet people from a range of professional backgrounds but found it difficult and time consuming. This scheme developed by the profession aims to make it very easy for schools to access volunteers – and for people to volunteer.”