Primary Futures press release re ‘Medics Month’

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Embargo: 0001 Saturday 2 May 2015

#NAHT2015 – NAHT launches ‘Medics Month’ a new partnership with the Medical Schools Council

NAHT is proud to announce the next phase of the highly successful Primary Futures project, a free, national scheme developed jointly with the Education and Employers charity.

Primary Futures has already given primary schools access to thousands of volunteers who are willing to talk to children about their jobs and in doing so inspire them and broaden and raise their aspirations. Volunteers from the world of work are able to help children to see the relevance of what they are learning in the classroom, particularly reinforcing the importance of literacy and numeracy.

Medics Month is the next phase of this project.

A landmark report by the Medical Schools Council’s Selecting for Excellence group last autumn revealed that just two fifths of doctors attended non-selective state schools with narrow social groups dominating medicine.

The report stressed that much more needed to be done to make a difference to social mobility in the UK and broaden the talent pool from which excellent doctors can be drawn. It suggested that the “journey to medicine” should start in primary schools and called on the medical profession to play its part by developing links with primary schools.

NAHT and the Medical Schools Council have joined forces to get a volunteer from the medical profession for every primary school in the country. That’s around 18,000 schools.

During the summer term Primary schools will be encouraged to sign up to Primary Futures (some 2,200 have already done so) and the Medical Schools Council is running a competition for medical students to develop activities to engage children and activities to help them realise the importance of maths, English and science to broaden and raise aspirations. The winning activities will be used to develop guidance for the medical profession ahead of ‘Medics Month’.

‘Medics Month’ aims to get thousands of people from the medical profession to go into primary schools across the country to talk about their jobs but also to highlight the importance of literacy and numeracy, bringing real relevance to the children’s learning.

Whilst activity will take place during the whole of October the focus will be around Thursday 15th October, the first anniversary of the launch of Primary Futures and the deadline for all applications for medical school.

This exciting project is being backed by the leading professional bodies representing the medical profession including the Royal College of General Practitioners which will be encouraging its members to get involved.

Primary Futures is also supported by the leaders of the three main political parties and a short video being released at the #NAHT2015 conference will feature Nicky Morgan, David Laws and Tristram Hunt speaking positively about the scheme and its benefits.

Professor Tony Weetman, Chair, Medical Schools Council Assessment said: “‘Primary school is an important stage of education because it is where young people might first gain a sense of their potential and self-worth. Primary Futures has done an excellent job of linking primary school children to the professions, and now it’s time for a focus on medicine. This is significant because becoming a doctor is seen by many young people as a symbol of the highest attainment. If we can show them early on that their background need not be a factor in studying medicine, and that only their ability and desire are critical, then we can show them that medicine and indeed any profession are real possibilities for them. This is good for social mobility, for the continued quality of the medical profession, and for the health of the UK.”

Russell Hobby, NAHT general secretary said: “There is widespread agreement that there’s a real benefit in talking to children at an early age about the jobs they might do when they’re grown up and how important their primary school learning really is in terms of future opportunities. Providing the right kind of inspiration can really broaden horizons which is where Primary Futures is proving to be so successful. Thinking about future possibilities shouldn’t have to wait until children get to secondary school. Medics Month is an important step towards encouraging more children into careers in medicine.”

Danny Mortimer, CEO of NHS Employers said: “Employers across the NHS welcome this marvellous initiative by the Medical Schools Council and NAHT, which builds on the fantastic work already done by our friends at Education and Employers. We are profoundly concerned in the NHS to improve the diversity of our workforce and this is an important and supportive step with regards to the medical workforce, but also more generally raises the profile of the opportunities presented by a career in the NHS.”

Ends

Note to editors:

NAHT is an independent trade union and professional association with 29,500 members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Members include head teachers, deputies, assistant head teachers, bursars and school business managers. They hold leadership positions in early years, primary, special, secondary and independent schools, sixth form colleges, outdoor education centres, pupil referral units, social services establishments and other educational settings. The membership represents leaders in 85 per cent of primary, 40 per cent of secondary and virtually all special schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Education and Employers Taskforce was launched as a small independent charity in October 2009, and has 12 staff. Its aim is to ensure that every school and college has effective partnerships with employers which provide young people with the inspiration, motivation, knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to help them achieve their potential and so secure our national prosperity.
The Taskforce’s Partnership Board comprises the leaders of the main representative organisations from education and employment. The Education and Employers Taskforce runs the free, national Inspiring the Future service for state secondary schools and colleges, the Inspiring Women campaign and Primary Futures for state primaries.

For further information please contact:

Carol Glover, Communications Manager, Education and Employers Taskforce
Mobile: 07939 061 850
Email carol.glover@educationandemployers.org

http://www.educationandemployers.org / Follow us on Twitter: @Edu_Employers

Steven George, Head of Press and Media
Direct line: 01444 472886 / Mobile: 07970 907730
Email: steven.george@naht.org.uk
http://www.naht.org.uk / Follow us on Twitter at @NAHTnews
Our Annual Conference is at the ACC in Liverpool from 1-3 May

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By Steve Iredale

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