Planning your curriculum for the next school year?

The following email has been sent to schools across the country flagging up the opportunities to inspire your children and raise their aspirations through joining the growing Primary Futures family. If you haven’t seen it you have now!

Dear Colleagues,

With the end of term in sight many of you will be well advanced in planning next year’s curriculum and activities. I am therefore writing to remind you about the free Primary Futures service – it’s been designed to help children better see the relevance of what they are learning, particularly at Key Stage 2 especially in science, maths and English in order to broaden and raise their future aspirations.  It is simple, but effective and hundreds of primaries across the country are already using the system to find brilliant local volunteers who can help bring learning to life.

Our database allows you to search for volunteers in your area who are willing to come into your school and chat to children about their job and why what they learnt at primary school was so important.

Over 23,000 people have volunteered already – from archaeologists to zoologists, apprentices to CEOs.

And OFSTED have acknowledged the importance of volunteers saying “Inspections have shown that where young people are introduced to the world of work early on in their schooling, they are more likely to see the relevance of their learning to their later lives. It is clear that engaging with local employers can be a highly effective means of broadening and raising young people’s aspirations and motivating them to achieve.”

You can invite volunteers at any time of the year to fit the needs of your curriculum across KS1 and KS2 but during October we are organising a campaign called Who’s in Health? During the month schools are encouraged to invite volunteers from the health care sector – GPs, nurses, hospital doctors, ambulance drivers, high street pharmacists, dieticians to name a few to visit their school and chat to children how they use science, maths and English in their job – helping to bring learning to life.

There are thousands of volunteers to choose from once you have registered your school – Log in here to see who is available in your area or contact us. The Primary Futures team can offer lots of support with finding suitable volunteers and ideas for activities, so do get in touch if you have any questions by calling 020 7566 4880 or emailing me

To see what Primary Futures is all about here is a very short video clip And to see an example of Primary Futures in action with Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, playing What’s my Line? See:
Spreading the Primary Futures message works particularly well by word of mouth so please forward this email to friends, family and colleagues in both your own and other schools who may be interested – and follow us on twitter @PrimaryFutures

With best wishes,


P.S. Look out next week for our annual survey – letting us know what you think about the service helps to keep it free for schools.

Telephone 0207 566 4880 Email us at:
Follow us: @Edu_employers

By Steve Iredale

Major new report on careers provision for young people published

On the 25th June 2015 at City Hall, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP will publish a major new report on careers provision for young people. The report will say that every young Londoner should have completed at least 100 hours experience of the world of work, in some form, by the time they reach the age of 16 – and that it should begin in primary schools.
Attending the launch will be leading figures from education and business and it will start with Boris Johnson taking part in a ‘What’s my line?’ This will involve 40 primary school children trying to guess the jobs of 6 volunteers by asking them a series of questions. The volunteers will then go off stage and Boris will then invite them back individually to see if the children were correct. Each volunteer will return to the stage in a uniform or with a prop relating to their job. All 6 volunteers have a link to Boris – eg a female bike welder, his publisher and a male celebrity hairdresser. This visual and fun activity has a serious point of breaking down job gender stereotyping and getting children to think about the range of jobs and the people who do them. This will be followed by young adults talking about their experiences of careers support in London.

Jack Morris, OBE, Member of the London Enterprise Panel said: “The recommendations set out in this report give our young people the tools they need to set out on their careers with the skills their employer expects. The success of this initiative now relies on the commitment and collaboration of all schools, colleges, employers, local authorities, careers specialists and training providers.”

Dr Deirdre Hughes, OBE author of the report ‘London Ambitions: Shaping a successful careers offer for all young Londoners’ says: “There is a clear moral, social and economic purpose to improving careers provision for all young Londoners. Support for young people has stalled and most are getting a raw deal – It is not enough to just to pay lip service to careers support for them. More young people must be given the chance to gain more experiences of the world of work and be inspired to see possibilities and goals that are worthwhile and relevant to them. The London careers offer is aiming to achieve something new and positive, starting with career insights from an early age and building up to 100 hours of experiences of the world of work by the age of 16.”

Brian Lightman, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“For too many young people the vast range of opportunities which are open to them in the world of work are a secret garden. This report sets out a comprehensive approach to careers education, based on a partnership between employers, schools and careers professionals, which provides an opportunity to open up these options to them, raising their aspirations beyond stereotypical and limited choices.”

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. Careers advice shouldn’t have to wait until children get to secondary school.”

Celebrity hairdresser and What’s my line? volunteer Lee Stafford said: “Finding a job that you love, will mean you never have to do a day’s work in your life. This may mean kissing a few frogs on the journey, so having the opportunity to try different industries is priceless.”

Rupert Lancaster, Publisher, Hodder & Stoughton and What’s my line? volunteer said: “As a parent and a primary school governor I know first-hand how important it is for children to access properly-funded employment advice, so they can to find out about the broadest possible selection of careers while they’re still at school. And as a publisher I know that the success of our business depends on attracting a wide range of talented people.”


What the report says
The report, ‘London Ambitions: Shaping a successful careers offer for all young Londoners’ proposes that every young Londoner should have access to impartial, independent and personalised careers education, information, advice and face-to-face guidance in their local community. It says every young Londoner should have completed at least 100 hours experience of the world of work, in some form, by the time they reach the age of 16. This may include career insights from industry experts, work tasters, coaching, mentoring, enterprise activities, part-time work, work shadowing or work experience. Lessons from their employability journey should be captured in a personalised digital portfolio. Copies of the full report under embargo are available.

The report was commissioned by London Enterprise Panel and London Councils

London Councils
London Councils represents London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London. It is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of all its member authorities regardless of political persuasion.

DMH & Associates Ltd
DMH & Associates Ltd specialises in careers policy, research and practice at a regional, national and international level. Dr Deirdre Hughes, OBE has recently led a UK Country Team to Iowa presenting key findings on career development and public policies in 30 countries across the global.

Primary Futures
Primary Futures is a nationwide initiative aiming to raise children’s aspirations and help them understand the link between their learning at school, future opportunities and finding a fulfilling job or career in later life. The project is led by NAHT in partnership with the Education and Employers charity: ( The Primary Futures website ( uses the Inspiring the Future database to match primary schools with a vast network of volunteers from different backgrounds and professions. Volunteers are from a wide range of professions and backgrounds ranging from apprentices to CEOs, archaeologists to zoologists.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is a leading professional body representing more than 18,000 school, college and system leaders across the UK. Our members work in more than 90 per cent of secondary schools and colleges of all types, and are responsible for the education of more than four million young people. ASCL works to shape national education policy, provide advice and support to members and deliver first-class professional development across the sector.

About NAHT
NAHT is an independent trade union and professional association with 29,000 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.

By Steve Iredale

Who’s in Health? Information and how to join us.


                                                         Primary Futures Who’s in Health? Month – October 2015

As you will be aware from recent publicity the NAHT, Education and Employers charity and the Medical Schools Council have joined forces to launch what was initially called Primary Futures ‘Medics Month’ but has now been rebranded as Who’s in Health? This change of campaign name reflects the many offers of support from different bodies across the health care sector.

The aim is to support schools in helping children see the relevance of what they are learning at Key Stage 2 especially in science, maths and English to broaden and raise their future aspirations.

Who’s in Health? month will see thousands of volunteers from across the health professions going into primary schools across the country to talk about their jobs and highlight the importance of literacy and numeracy, bringing real relevance to the children’s learning. Volunteers may be hospital doctors, GPs, nurses, ambulance drivers, high street pharmacists, health care assistants, dieticians, surgeons, midwives, students and researchers to name just a few. The list is endless!

The month is part of the free Primary Futures project which already has more than 2,100 primary schools signed up and some 22,000 volunteers from the world of work supporting us to raise aspirations and inspire the next generation. You can find out more by following this link to our website

How does my school register?
To register your school’s interest and to see the volunteers in your area please sign up via the Primary Futures website. Once registered, you will be given a username and password. You then just need to decide what your Who’s in Health? activities will look like.

For some ideas take a look at our case studies or talk to us using the contact details below.

Once you’ve made your plans then log in, click on ‘Find Volunteers’ and on the ‘Themed Week / Campaign’ dropdown box and select Medics Month. You will then be matched with the volunteers in your area who you can contact via the database to tell them about your plans and invite them along to your school during Who’s in Health? month.

On our website we have produced the following step-by-step practical guidance for signing up which you might also find helpful.

For schools already registered it’s simply a case of searching for volunteers as outlined above. Some schools have already indicated they will be involving health professionals as part of a bigger Primary Futures event. As ever it’s up to you to decide the best approach for your pupils.

Thousands more volunteers will be signing up over the next few months, so if there aren’t many in your area yet don’t worry; the important thing is to start planning!

The Primary Futures team can offer lots of support with finding suitable volunteers and ideas for activities, so do get in touch if you have any questions by calling 020 7566 4880 or emailing

To hear more and to spread the word, follow us on Twitter @primaryfutures and keep an eye on our blog

We look forward to you joining us for what promises to be an exciting month of activities across the country.

‘Our children, their futures’.

Please note all links and drop down boxes making reference to Medics Month will be amended in the near future to Who’s in Health?

By Steve Iredale

‘Banking on a brighter future’

A big thanks to BAML 2Christian Neske, Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities country head, Germany & Austria at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for his guest blog about a recent Inspiring the Future/Primary Futures event he participated in along with many other volunteers and children from a number of London primary schools.

I’ve done a couple of volunteering events, but this one was by far the most fun, intriguing and rewarding.

On 22 May, I signed up for an Inspiring the Future event at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s splendid King Edward Hall with 150+ Year 6 students (10-11 years of age), to raise aspirations, help them make the connection between school and work, and give them an insight into jobs they may not be aware of and may consider as a possible career.

It is probably fair to say, that becoming a Business Continuity Consultant or Credit Risk Officer is not at the top of the job charts of 10-year olds when they first think of a bank. So I knew I had my work cut out! My goal was therefore to explain how many work opportunities exist at a bank and that numeracy and literacy are key skills that can be matched to a variety of opportunities.

_R4A1976I started off by joining one of the many tables, trying to break the ice amongst the 9-10 students already seated. The majority of my first group were girls who spoke English as a second language. I had been well briefed by our team on warming-up-techniques, but did not need any. What I met at Table 1 were curious, lively, chatty and interested students: ‘What do you do all day? Do you handle any cash? Do you get to speak to clients on the telephone? Do you get to travel a lot?’

Particularly the latter point of ‘internationality’ became a recurring theme over our two hours together. Most of the 30 students I met had been on trips abroad to visit their relatives, so when we did our quiz on stage of WHERE AM I FROM? They were quick to ask smart and inquisitive questions, demonstrating a huge interest, knowledge and fascination. My German origin was ultimately unmasked when I was asked for my favorite German footballer: Mesut Özil at Arsenal FC gave it away!

All in all it was a joyful and intense two hours of networking with very bright and keen students. While we may have struggled to detail all of the other bank volunteers’ job descriptions, I did meet one kid who wanted to become a detective and I was able to confirm, that Bank of America Merrill Lynch does indeed have such a job profile on offer.

Why not join Primary Futures part of the Inspiring the Future family as a volunteer? You can find out more by checking out the Inspiring the Future website and follow the volunteer link. You can of course also register on the Primary Futures site Just giving an hour of your time could have a massive impact on raising the aspirations of children and young people.

By Steve Iredale

Being an artist can be a really fulfilling career! Guest blog by Chris Knowles

DSCN0555Primary Futures helping Y6 children at Newby and Scalby Primary School to see career pathways from a different angle.
Over 27 years ago I undertook a research study into the benefits of partnerships between schools and industry as part of my honours degree. It will come as no surprise to the reader to find that, even back then, the benefits for young people were massive.
Having recently listened to a presentation about Primary Futures I went away to consider why I had lost sight of that piece of research and questioned why I hadn’t pursued the idea of partnerships with the world of work seriously in the last 19 years of headship. The answer was the same for this as it was for the question about why I no longer taught drama, my main subject – the National Curriculum killed both and I’m ashamed to say that I let it happen by becoming distracted by initiative overload. I lost sight of what children really benefitted from in the long term.
The NAHT led Primary Futures project made me think about how to address the deficit in our curriculum and the starting point for re-engaging with industry came as a response to a request from our Y6 teachers for advice about how to motivate the children at the start of an arts week.
In the past, we would have probably have asked local artists to come along and demonstrate their skills but Primary Futures helped us to contact three artists who were not only capable of doing that but were willing to talk about their careers in art and the impact of their school learning as well. This was no mean feat in a ‘geographically-challenged’ place such as Scarborough and needed some non-website based work to make it happen and find these volunteers.
We wanted the children to see that careers come in many different shapes and sizes and, in the case of one artist, could actually take very many different pathways in one working life.
The day of the launch arrived and, as a result of some very efficient ‘behind the scenes’ negotiations by Charlotte from the Primary Futures team based in London (her support is highly recommended), the three artists sat in my office discussing the format of the day to fill in the gaps that email communication couldn’t possible deal with ……. including noticing that one of the artists swore a lot and needed to be politely reminded about appropriate ways of working with children!!
They were all nervous, including the ex-headteacher who is now a watercolour artist, for different reasons and they needed reassurance that the children would be very responsive to their contributions and that their efforts would be rewarded. The time spent setting the scene’ was vital and reaped benefits later in the day. This is a key message for other schools planning to use Primary Futures.
The children had no idea that the week would have an art theme and, as a result, were clearly not expecting the three people who were answering their excellent questions with yes or no answers to be in the same line of work. They unpicked their ‘jobs’ with some very intuitive questions that made all of the adults in the room think, such as, ‘does your job entail working with children?’ and ‘would you recommend your job to us?’
The children realised that being an artist could mean many different things as a result of the descriptions of their work that the visitors’ provided once their cover had been blown. They were all artists but one worked with water colours painting landscapes; another was a graphic designer who demonstrated the use of comic strips; and the third drew fossils and personalised the images.
Because the day provided ample opportunity for children to talk as they produced work in the style of the artists, they identified the diverse nature of the career choice and extended their thinking about the world of work beyond their parents’ views and their own aspirations. One child had a moment of realisation as his work was celebrated by the ‘real’ artist that resulted in an outburst in front of the class; ‘so, you mean, I could earn a living doing something I love?’
Perhaps, I should apply that to my long-forgotten drama training!
The thanks sent to the artists by the children received responses that all included the fact that they had learned so much from their day working with the children and that they were inspired by the children’s engagement.
We will certainly use the Primary Futures website and database again but, given the limited number of volunteers on our doorstep, may need some human support from the team based in London although as volunteers numbers continue to grow this might not be so necessary. If this experience is anything to go by, it will be worth the effort! Primary Futures highly recommended!
Chris Knowles – Headteacher, Newby and Scalby Primary School

By Steve Iredale