A great way to end a great school year!

By now all of those of you working so hard in our schools will be somewhere, hopefully exotic, enjoying the sun and a well earned rest. If you haven’t yet got that far at least let’s hope it’s a rest to start with! As we reflect on the progress and development of Primary Futures over the last few months it’s really encouraging to see more and more schools registering and becoming active with over 30,000 willing volunteers waiting for their call.

At the end of last week I had the fantastic opportunity to present Primary Futures, led by the NAHT, to friends from around the globe at an international Employers Engagement Conference in London, supported by two wonderful colleagues from Gunton Primary Academy in Suffolk. Along with other schools in the Reach2 Trust they have worked hard to introduce Primary Futures activities as part of our ongoing research into the impact PF can have on children’s aspirations. The conference was a real opportunity to highlight the importance of raising the aspirations of children in their primary school years using direct input from volunteers from ‘the world of work’. Something that is still missed far too often in my opinion as the focus still seems to be very secondary orientated!

It was massively encouraging to hear Andreas Schleicher (photo below), the Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris referencing Primary Futures and it’s importance in his keynote interview.  This certainly helped to raise interest in our work!

At the conference the Education and Employers charity launched a report on 4 years of Inspiring the Future, which includes primary Futures, the work to date and the impact. It’s great to see the amount of coverage Primary Futures gets in the report. I’ll add a link to the paper when I can find it online! Watch this space!

In the meantime have a great summer and we look forward to working with you next term and beyond. We already have plans for pilot activity in Wales with events in the planning stage in Bolton, Wigan, Lincolnshire, Cambridge and the Republic of Ireland! Time you joined us?

IMG_3536

By Steve Iredale

Blackpool launch of Primary Futures. A great day!

Thursday June 16th 2016 saw us launch Primary Futures in Blackpool. We had a fantastic turn out of over 50 volunteers who freely gave of their time to inspire the children across both key stages. The report below is from the Education and Employers website which provides a real flavour of the day. The challenge now will be to see Primary Futures to continue to grow not just in Blackpool but across the whole country. Maybe it’s time you joined us?

Blackpool launched a major national initiative aimed at raising aspirations among primary pupils in struggling coastal areas.

Primary Futures Blackpool launched yesterday at St Nicholas Church of England Primary School. The aim was to help primary-age children see the link and purpose between their learning and opportunities in later life. Children who can see the meaning and relevance of what they are studying are much more likely to achieve.

The Primary Futures Blackpool launch started in the school hall with a number of volunteers taking part in ‘What’s My Line’ where children quizzed volunteers over the jobs they do – see how it works here. After the activity some 45 volunteers visited classrooms and met with small groups of children, they chatted informally and answered questions about their jobs. Children asked the volunteers what is involved in their jobs; for example travelling and meeting people, and how they use subjects such as Maths and English in their everyday work.

The aim was to introduce the children to a wide range of people from different backgrounds doing a variety of jobs.

Speakers at the launch included: Air Vice Marshal Elaine West CBE, the most senior female officer in the Armed Forces; Dame Julia Cleverdon DVCO CBE Vice-President BITC / Teach First; Christine Hodgson, Chairman of Capgemini and the Careers & Enterprise Company; Gordon Marsden MP and John Barnett CBE, High Sheriff of Lancashire.

Many children, especially girls from disadvantaged communities lack the role models they so desperately need. They often have deeply ingrained gender stereotypes as well assumptions about what people from certain backgrounds can achieve, which limits their horizons in life. The importance of tackling this is only just beginning to be recognized. For example the two minute film done by the charity Education and Employers, Redraw the Balance, has been viewed over 18 million times and has attracted interest from governments across the world.

The economic, social and education challenges of Blackpool are well known. According to the 2015 Indices of Deprivation in England, more than a quarter of the population in Blackpool experienced income deprivation last year. Blackpool is currently ranked in the bottom three local authorities in England for educational attainment.

Andy Mellor said “Coastal towns such as Blackpool face a unique mix of education challenges including deprivation, poor attainment, low aspirations, high unemployment and a sense of marginalisation. That is why I and a group of other heads are working together to tackle this. What has made the approach different is that it is led by local head teachers working collaboratively across the area, building on what works and then seeking support from employers and government”

Prime Minister, David Cameron said: Children who understand the link between the world of work and what they learn in school are much more likely to achieve. Primary Futures is a great nationwide initiative developed by the National Association of Head Teachers and charity the Education and Employers. It gets people from different backgrounds doing a wide range of jobs from apprentices to CEOs, archaeologists to zoologists to volunteer an hour of their time to visit local schools across the country and talk to children. It’s a great campaign and one that deserves the widest support”

In February Andy Mellor, Head Teacher of St Nicholas Church of England Primary School, supported by other Head Teachers in the area and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), wrote to business leaders. The ask was a simple one – for employees to volunteer their time in primary schools. As a result 362 people have already signed up ranging from apprentices to CEOs, archaeologists to zoologists via the free on-line matching service Primary Futures. With 28 schools in the area this means 12 volunteers per school.

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers sees this as blueprint for other coastal and deprived rural towns across England and is calling on the government to support and adopt this approach. Russell said Many of our coastal towns are high youth unemployment hotspots. Seaside towns have high levels of part-time working, commuters and retired people, all working against young people engaging easily and readily with their local economic community. We need to take action to ensure that young people growing up in our most disadvantaged coastal towns get the best possible start in life, are aware of the breadth of opportunities available and are encouraged and supported in their ambitions”.

Primary Futures has been designed by the NAHT and the charity Education and Employers and makes it quick, free and easy for schools to find local volunteers via an on-line portal. Over 30,000 volunteer have registered nationally and the scheme has attracted interest from over 35 countries.

“It is a real challenge to raise and broaden aspirations of children in deprived coastal areas like Blackpool. We want to turn the tide by tackling low ambition early on. We have run a number of pilot events in individual primary schools in coastal towns including Scarborough and Folkestone. We now want to focus on working with groups of school in a whole coastal area. We hope that the approach being taken in Blackpool will be used as a  blueprint for other parts of the country” said Nick Chambers, Director of Education and Employers. 

IMG_3702

By Steve Iredale

Blackpool Primary Futures initiative aims to turn the tide on low aspirations in coastal towns

Primary Futures Blackpool Press Release ……….Embargoed to 10.00am on Thursday, 16 June

Blackpool is to kick start a major national initiative aimed at raising aspirations among primary pupils in struggling coastal areas. 

 Primary Futures Blackpool launches today (16 June) at St Nicholas Church of England Primary School. The purpose is to help primary-age children see the link and purpose between their learning and opportunities in later life. Children who can see the meaning and relevance of what they are studying are much likely to achieve.

 Many children from disadvantaged communities lack the role models they so desperately need. They often have deeply ingrained gender stereotypes as well assumptions about what people from certain backgrounds can achieve which limit their horizons in life. The importance of tackling this in only just beginning to be recognized. For example the two minute film done by the Charity Education and Employers, Redraw the Balance has been viewed over 17 million times and attracted interest from governments across the world.

The economic, social and education challenges of Blackpool are well known. According to the 2015 Indices of Deprivation in England, more than a quarter of the population in Blackpool experience income deprivation last year. Blackpool is currently ranked in the bottom three local authorities in England for educational attainment.

In February Andy Mellor, Head Teacher of St Nicholas Church of England Primary Schools supported by other Head Teachers in the area and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) wrote to business leaders. The ask was a simple one – for employees to volunteer their time in primary schools. As a result 362 people have already signed up from apprentices to CEOs, archaeologists to zoologists via the free on-line matching service Primary Futures. With 28 schools in the area this means 12 volunteers per school.

Speakers at the launch include Air Vice Marshal Elaine West CBE, the most senior female officer in the Armed Forces; Dame Julia Cleverdon DVCO CBE Vice-President BITC / Teach First; Christine Hodgson, Chairman of Capgemini and the Careers & Enterprise Company; Gordon Marsden MP and John Barnett CBE, High Sheriff of Lancashire

Andy Mellor said “Coastal towns such as Blackpool face a unique mix of education challenges including deprivation, poor attainment, low aspirations, high unemployment and a sense of marginalisation. That is why I and a group of other heads have come together to turn the tide. What has made the approach different is that it is led by local head teachers working collaboratively across area, building on what works and then seeking support from employers and government”

The National Association of Head Teachers see this as blueprint for other coastal and deprived rural towns across England and are calling on the government to support and adopt this approach. Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said Many of our coastal towns are high youth unemployment hotspots. Seaside towns have high levels of part-time working, commuters and retired people, all working against young people engaging easily and readily with their local economic community. We need to take action to ensure that young people growing up in our most disadvantaged coastal towns get the best possible start in life, are aware of the breadth of opportunities available and are encouraged and supported in their ambitions”.

Primary Futures has been designed by the NAHT and the charity Education and Employers and makes it quick, free and easy for schools to find local volunteers via an on-line portal. Over 30,000 volunteer have registered nationally and the scheme has attracted interest from over 35 countries.

“It is a real challenge to raise and broaden aspirations of children in deprived coastal areas like Blackpool. We want to turn the tide by tackling low ambition early on. We have run a number of pilot events in primary schools in costal towns including Scarborough and Folkestone. We now want to get large numbers of people to volunteer to support education in a whole coastal area. We hope that the approach being taken in Blackpool will be used as a blueprint for other parts of the country,” said Nick Chambers, Director of Education and Employers.

The Primary Futures Blackpool launch will start in the school hall with a number of volunteers taking part in ‘What’s My Line’ with children quizzing volunteers over the jobs they do. This format has been piloted in a number of schools across the country with volunteers including Lord Nash, Lord Ahmad, Nicky Morgan MP, Sam Gymiah MP and Ben Gummer MP.

After the ‘What’s my line’ activity some 35 volunteers, will visit classrooms and meet with small groups of children, chatting informally and answering questions about their jobs and what is involved; for example travelling and meeting people, and using subjects like Maths and English in their everyday work.

The aim is to introduce the children to a wide range of people from different backgrounds doing a variety of jobs to help create a meaningful link between their classroom learning and future aspirations.

The list of companies represented at the launch currently include:

Assessment Design and Development Ltd

Blackpool Council

Blackpool Transport

Capita

Capgemini

Department for Education

Federation of Small Businesses

Free the Children

Future Technology Services Ltd

HMRC

KPMG

Lancashire Chambers of Commerce

North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

McDonalds

Merchant Navy

Napthens LLP

Northern Rail

Public Health England

Randstad Education

Royal Air Force

RBS

Teach First

By Steve Iredale

Primary Futures in Blackpool today ………………. Uganda tomorrow?

We  were thrilled to receive this inspiring photo from John Ssentamu of some of the children from Good Shepherd Primary School in Katwadde Village in Uganda, celebrating our Primary Futures launch in Blackpool today and predicting where we might be going next! I can’t wait to see the reaction of the children at St Nicholas PS!

IMG_3468[1]

By Steve Iredale

Primary Futures and our new friends from Katwadde Village in Uganda

As Primary Futures continues to expand in England, with projects launching soon in Wales and hopefully Northern Ireland, imagine our surprise when we were contacted recently by Ms Oliver Wanyana from Katwadde Village in Uganda. News of Primary Futures had clearly spread further than we ever imagined! She put us in touch with John Ssentamu, the headteacher of Good Shepherd Primary School located in Katwadde Village in Mukungwe Sub-County in the Masaka District of Uganda. We have much in common working in our different countries helping to raise the aspirations of our children and young people. John has sent us some great photos, some of which you can see in this blog and others which are on Flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/129987423@N02/sets/  Fancy having to construct and develop your own classrooms and using cow wastes to reduce the level of dust!

The school opened in 2013 and now has 152 children and young people aged between 3 and 16. There are 8 teachers and 2 non teaching staff working in the school which is run by a registered community based organisation called ‘Women and Girls Can Initiative’. What a great name!

It’s exciting times for John and his school as the children have just started to learn to use computers thanks to the donations of laptops and solar equipment. We’re all looking forward to seeing our new found friendship develop as we share our learning across the globe!


By Steve Iredale

Primary Futures inspires pupils in Folkestone

Today sees the latest of our high profile Primary Futures events raising the profile of our work which aims to raise the aspirations of primary age children.The press release below provides more information. Maybe it’s time your school joined us?
Special Primary Futures event at St Eanswythe’s Primary School in Folkestone with Sam Gyimah, Education Minister.
 Primary Futures, run by the education charity Education & Employers in partnership with the NAHT, is coordinating this special event which will see employee volunteers come together to raise the aspirations of primary school children talking with them face-to-face about their job, career path and how important their primary school learning was in getting them there! We hope this event will introduce the children to jobs they haven’t heard of before, broaden their horizons and encourage them to aim high. Diverse volunteers taking part range from the Head of Coastal Operations at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency to an Associate Surveyor from Women in Surveying.
 
According to 2015 research published by Kent County Council, Folkestone is within the top 10% most deprived areas of Kent, the South East and the whole country. Primary Futures helps to show children that there are interesting jobs to aspire to in their area.
 
Childcare and Education Minister Sam Gyimah said, “Careers guidance in primary schools is about broadening horizons and making children aware of all the future job options available to them. Primary Futures is an excellent example of how this can be achieved in an interesting and stimulating way, and I look forward to seeing it in practice at St Eanswythe’s Primary School.”  
 
Jane Garrett, Headteacher St Eanswythe’s Primary School in Folkestone said: “We are very excited about the opportunity to have Primary Futures in school. We are very conscious that we live in a rapidly changing world and that a lot of jobs that St Eanswythe’s children will be engaged in have not yet been invented.  However, it is useful for our children to start to think about the sort of careers that they would in interested in; what is involved and how their education impacts on their career path. The Primary Futures conference provides inspiration and a blue print for further work in school.”

MEDIA CONTACTS

For media enquiries and to arrange interviews please contact Carol Glover, Communications Manager, Education and Employers Taskforce on 07939 061 850 or email carol.glover@educationandemployers.org

 How can you help us spread the word?
We would like for this event to encourage large numbers of other people to volunteer with Primary Futures in Folkestone and beyond. You can help us spread the word by tweeting about the event. Or get your company, your colleagues, your friends to tweet, and other well-known people in your sector with large numbers of followers to tweet.
Please tweet to @PrimaryFutures #PrimaryFutures
 
What is Primary Futures?
Primary Futures is a free programme for state primary schools across the UK which aims to raise aspirations and, by helping children understand the link between learning in school and the world of work, to motivate them to improve their academic performance. We are working with National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and employers to ‘roll out’ this programme across the UK.
 
Primary Futures is part of Inspiring the Future, run by the Education and Employers charity.
People from a wide range of professions and different backgrounds – from apprentices to CEOs, archaeologists to zoologists – give an hour to visit their local school where they talk about their job to enthuse the children about the opportunities open to them and how important literacy and numeracy are. Register for Primary Futures free programmes here: http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/primary-futures
By Steve Iredale

Over 3 million hits and counting!

Since we launched our Redraw the Balance video last month through Inspiring the Future we have now reached 3 million hits across the Uk and also in China. You can check out the original version below and the version with Mandarin subtitles following. Gender busting is a central part of what Primary Futures is about. Why not join us as either a volunteer or with your school? http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/primary-futures/

By Steve Iredale

Primary Futures update for the recent meeting of the NAHT Executive

The National Association of Headteachers meets 5 times a year and as Primary Futures is led by the NAHT I provide a report on recent activity and future plans so that all members of the executive are fully aware of developments and indeed how they can help to spread the word. I have taken some excerpts from my report presented last week in Nottingham and reproduced them below for information.

Launch of apprentices in primary schools
Last month saw Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Apprentice’s Tsar, join over 30 apprentices from many different walks of life at an event at Mayflower Primary School in East London. http://www.educationandemployers.org/news/prime-ministers-apprenticeships-tsar-launches-scheme-to-get-apprentices-into-primary-schools/
Our blog also featured what was a brilliant days activities https://primaryfutures.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/thanks-for-a-great-day-at-mayflower-primary-school/

Primary Futures and special schools
Plans are due to be unveiled by the Chair of the SEND Committee in June regarding the expansion of Primary Futures into the world of special schools. This is an exciting development for the Inspiring the Future family, one which needs detailed planning to meet the specific needs of the children and young people. It is hoped we will have an announcement at the NAHT Conference in early May.

East Anglia, Birmingham and North Tyneside
We are currently working with colleagues from a number of different areas around the country including the Reach2 Academy Trust on an exciting PF project led by middle leaders which will also have a strong research element in the planning and delivery. Thanks to Lorie for the introduction and support! Work with the Birmingham Education Partnership is developing as Primary Futures will hopefully be a central theme in a series of careers based activities in June this year. I have also met with school leaders and senior staff from the North Tyneside Trust and am watching with interest to see how we can support their positive work in the north east. Thanks Angi!
One of this year’s major developments will be in Blackpool, which ties in with our coastal town’s campaign. Andy M is instrumental in working with colleagues and the Challenge Board in a project with partners including Primary Futures which will not only develop the profile of Blackpool but will also bring schools and local businesses together in a unique way. Like the other projects mentioned here we will be sharing blue prints and ideas via our website for other areas to use, adapt and develop for the benefit of the children and their communities. Of course there are many other ongoing events and activities organised by individual schools around the country using the website and messaging system to contact volunteers.

Expansion into Wales and Northern Ireland
With Chief Medical Officer visits to schools in Belfast and South Wales in the autumn term we have already dipped our PF toe in the water! Having met with the NAHT Cymru Executive in December plans are now being developed for a few test pilots in early summer this year with a national launch date to be agreed. NI development still sits with the NI Executive.

Publicity
Publicity materials have been reviewed and updated including a new version of our A5 publicity leaflet which has recently been published. We are also looking at updating our main video, which was launched at the NAHT Conference in Liverpool earlier this year, to include clips from politicians who replaced those who are no longer holding the posts they had prior to the last election!
A growing number of videos and clips are now hosted on our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1uhJVf-tUlgdkCsOcQBOhs-oTqCEH0-1 with photos from recent Primary Futures and other Inspiring the Future events at https://www.flickr.com/photos/edu_employers/albums

So what’s next?
Invitations to branch and regional events are as ever gratefully received and we are also happy to attend conferences or local gatherings with a PF stand. We guarantee to do our best to get one of us along to do a presentation and talk about the practicalities and benefits of Primary Futures.
We continue to reflect on the impact of our work so far examining other ways to involve and encourage schools to join us and become active whilst working with the NAHT and Education and Employers on project sustainability. Getting the views of a wide group of users and non-users continues to prove helpful so any ideas or suggestions from NAHT Executive members, the Practice Committee and those in schools who have used or are planning to use Primary Futures are most welcome.
Time to join Primary Futures ……….. ‘Our Children their Futures’.
Why wouldn’t you?

By Steve Iredale

So what do some of our volunteers think about Primary Futures?

After Primary Futures activities and events we always enjoy receiving feedback from our volunteers and of course the staff and children. The following provide a brief flavour of some we have had after our Mayflower Primary School Apprentices afternoon.
Safina Ilyas, Technolgy Apprentice, RBS
Having done a few talks with sixth form students before, speaking to primary school students was a totally new experience. The children were both engaging and enthusiastic, making our talks a lot easier. Each child was keen and a lot of questions were answered. Showing the children what I do for a living was loads of fun too, as it seemed as though a few were hoping to go down the same path as mine; software and web development. It also came as a surprise that the children knew at what age they could open up a bank account when I had no idea (and I’m in the banking field!!), smart and intelligent kids.

Jessica McKeever, NO 10
Thanks so much for yesterday it was a very good experience. Very well organised, very informative and Nadhim was great! There was such a range of apprentices, it really gave a wide variety of the apprenticeship market for the children, and the children themselves were a pleasure to be around- very intrigued and aspirational to say the least. Thank you so much for inviting me to come along, and please do contact me for future events (pardon the pun) as I’m very keen to do more!

Franco Costella, Baml
It was a really interesting and rewarding afternoon with some humour thrown in (particularly when the children of one class asked me when I did my apprenticeship – followed by Wow you must be really old!)

Ishaak Khan, CBRE
All in all was a great first time experience for myself to express myself in front of the public and to speak openly. Definitely a great learning experience. Always ready to help out the team in future

I’m still buzzing from Monday!
What a fantastic day, just a quick thank you for involving me in this. Two children aspired to be tax officers by the time I left so I’m taking Monday as a win. More than happy too volunteer some more time if ever needed.
IMG_3571IMG_3566

Maybe it’s time you joined us as a school or as a volunteer? http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/primary-futures/

By Steve Iredale