New initiative helps primary school children explore their futures

Schools, Libraries and Learning
10:02, Tuesday, 16th July 2019

An ambitious project has been launched by North Lincolnshire Council to inspire primary school children to broaden their horizons and consider a wider range of career options.

Industry role models are being sought to help deliver the scheme which will also help primary school children better understand the link between their education and their future.

The Primary Futures initiative connects schools with local volunteers who visit and speak to pupils about their jobs. Meeting people with different career backgrounds helps to open children’s eyes to the range of potential opportunities available to them in the future.

Research by the charity Education and Employers has found that children as young as six have already started to form opinions about what they can – or can’t – be in the future, with gender and socio-economic stereotyping influencing their ideas about their own futures.

The council’s Director of Learning, Skills and Culture, Peter Thorpe, said:

“We’re in a really good place in education in North Lincolnshire, with the highest proportion of good and outstanding schools in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Starting from this strong platform we can begin to think about what else is possible to ensure all our children have the best start in life.

“Research has shown that encounters during education with people from the world of work has a direct link to whether or not children and young people end up not in education, employment, or training further down the line. So by bringing volunteers into classrooms across North Lincolnshire through Primary Futures, we’re bringing learning to life and making school seem more relevant to pupils, whilst raising their aspirations about their futures.”

North Lincolnshire Council piloted the project in a number of local primary schools during spring 2019.

Broughton Primary School was one such school which held a Primary Futures event with over 40 local volunteers coming to speak to the school’s pupils, from the youngest aged 4, to the eldest at 11.

Daniel Clayton, Head of Broughton Primary School, said:

“Children have a limited view of the world of work – they know what their parents and grandparents do, and what they see on TV and social media. We wanted to show that there’s a wealth of opportunities out there that suit every type of personality and skills.

“The exposure was important for us. Even if children listened to our visitors and thought ‘this isn’t for me’, it’s still important to have these early experiences to help shape their lives.

“The volunteers were happy to see how they’d inspired these keen, young minds. We could see the affect that the Primary Futures event had on our pupils; you could see the lights turning on behind their eyes during their day.”

Cllr David Rose, cabinet member responsible for education on North Lincolnshire Council, added:

“Children in North Lincolnshire are already receiving the best standard of education our area has ever seen, but through innovative schemes like Primary Futures, and our continued commitment to the Imagination Library and investing in our learning environments, we’re ensuring we give all our children and young people the best start in life.”

Primary Futures is now open to the 61 primary, junior and infant schools in North Lincolnshire and volunteers and schools are welcome to register through the Primary Futures website.

Volunteers from any business or organisation are welcome to register with the free programme and pledge as little as a few hours a year to visiting schools to talk about their jobs to pupils.

For more information about Primary Futures and to register a school, or as a volunteer, visit www.primaryfutures.org.