An inspiring Primary Futures morning at Delce Academy

We spread the word about Primary Futures and how we can support schools in raising children’s aspirations in many different ways. Through publicity materials, emails, speaking at conferences and to groups of schools, through high profile media events and by being approached by interested school leaders and teachers who want to know more. It was the latter which took us to Rochester and Delce Academy. From my very first visit to chat about the possibilities that Primary Futures might bring it was clear that the vision of the school and the drive and determination of the whole staff, led by Principal Karen White was going to produce a great event. I was right!

IMG_3432Using the Inspiring the Future database the school, supported by the Charlotte from the Education Employers team, put together a team of diverse volunteers from very different walks of life. They included a food development manager, the owner of a retro sweet shop, a translater, a barrister, a local ward councillor and someone who works with mobile hydrographics! There were also lots more!

The school had decided to focus the morning on the children in Y4 using a carousel style approach in the school hall with the children moving in small groups from volunteer to volunteer. On arrival it was clear that the planning which had gone into the event was going to pay off. The staff were fully briefed, the volunteers welcomed, fed and watered and the children particularly well prepared. They had obviously been working in their class groups producing a series of key questions to get the best from the team of volunteers. They also made notes throughout the morning which also seemed to work very well. There is no doubt that a well planned event with time spent making sure all bases are covered pays off.

IMG_3429Having attended many events over the last few months I was struck by once again by the enthusiasm of the volunteers when both talking to the children but also when sharing their experiences afterwards. They could see the real benefit in Primary Futures and were all very keen to play their part in helping to inspire the next generation. I have no doubt they will be back for more!

As for the children they were just stunning! Some of their comments are reproduced below ……….‘My favourite part about it was the man who owned the sweets business. He didn’t just do it because he wanted to make money, he did it for his children to have a future’. Janel. ‘I liked the man with the maps because he explored loads of countries’. Faith. ‘They all said to believe in yourself and do what you want to be when you’re older’. Lucas. ‘It doesn’t matter if you have this kind of skin, colour or religion, it matters what you want to be in yourself. Don’t let things like that stop you. You can be whatever you want to be’. Zakiah. ‘One lady got to work with loads of different people, like graphic designers, that’s what I would like to do’. Jennifer.

Thanks too to some of our volunteers who also provided some great feedback………..

Dear Ms White, Thank you for your feedback! I thought the organisation of the event was absolutely first-class: to time, smooth and, of course, the children were impeccable. I certainly enjoyed it and I would encourage others to feed the imaginations of our next generations. Kind regards, Brian

I signed up for Inspiring the Future as I think it’s really important to give the next generation every best chance at finding the right path into their future employment as possible; and it’s not something that you often get a chance to do when out in the world of work.
I have to admit, the event was far better co-ordinated than I had thought it may be; having turned up with no idea of what would or could be happening, and how things would pan out! (It was the first of these events that I had done). When I saw the sheer number of children involved, I wondered what I had let myself into, but the children’s’ behaviour was exemplary, and it was an absolute joy to spend time with them.

It was amazing to almost hear the thought processes of some of the children, and the complete lack of inhibition with some of the questions! I was asked some really insightful questions – with one boy even questioning the health and safety statistics of the factory I worked at, and others questioning the type of car I drove, my salary, the number of miles I drive per year, and exactly how my expenses worked. I got to hear how three of the children had fathers who were the best chef in the country, and the ins and outs of what they’d had for breakfast that day, but had a great time.

The children loved getting hand’s on with the uniform and packaging that I had brought along with me, and if I were to do it again, I’d probably look at bringing plenty more visual props with me – it really livened up the debate and got them thinking! It would have been good to have had some video, or more visual props to give a real idea of what happens where I work…
Would I do it again? – definitely, yes, it was a short interlude from my normal routine, and even if it affected just one of the children enough to make them think that there is more to life than being a footballer or a tv star, it was a morning well spent!

Thanks once again for inviting me along – the children at Delce Academy were an absolute credit to you and the other teachers – they were polite, well organised, and inquisitive. Jenny

I am compelled to feedback my thoughts on the Primary Futures event , where I was a volunteer at Delce Academy.
My first thoughts were how much passion and energy, and excitement I felt for the morning. The event was simple, but extremely effective, and inspiring. Your energy and passion was infectious. Meeting the children, sharing my journey, and seeking to inspire them was an honour. What a fantastic morning with the children, who I believe are perfect ages for such an event. Their excitement and interest was palpable. I enjoyed every moment, and would always welcome opportunities to support PF in the future. Jason

Maybe it’s time your school or community of schools registered to join the Primary Futures family! http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/primary-futures/

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By Steve Iredale