NAHT Cymru and the launch of Primary Futures in 2016?

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After a long and rather uninspiring journey from Wakefield to Cardiff via Bristol Parkway I arrived mid evening in a wet but very lively city centre. Lots of xmas spirit ………….. and rain! Once I’d registered at my nearby hotel it was off to sample some of the local hostelries ahead of working with the NAHT Cymru Executive the following day. Having been to Cardiff on several previous NAHT occasions I was well versed on the best real ale haunts and pub grub! After a couple of pints it was back to the hotel with one for the road of course!

Next morning on arrival at the NAHT Cymru HQ I remembered the last time I was in the building was in 2009 when we were putting the final touches to the SATs boycott of 2010. Maybe a missed opportunity?

After a really warm welcome and once I was settled in with my presentation/discussion set up I was interested to sit in on some of the discussions of the Executive to hear issues that are so familiar to us across the border. The pressure on school leaders seems to be becoming more intense no matter where they are based! It was however heartening to hear the mention of children on several occasions which I don’t always hear on my travels!

Colleagues on the Cymru Executive certainly seemed very enthusiastic about Primary Futures possibilities as the aim of raising children’s aspirations is certainly a key focus across the country. Maybe also ticks the government box? During our discussion which went on longer than planned I also shared our developing ‘How to Use Volunteers’ curriculum resources  http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/schools-and-colleges/primary-futures-primary-schools/ These have been developed by teachers to support teachers and will be added to on a regular basis. I also stressed that Primary Futures is school led ……………… by schools for the children!

The challenge now is for colleagues in Wales to plan and agree a timeline for the launch of Primary Futures in 2016. A series of targeted pilot events is one approach they will be considering along with developing their own webpages on our website focusing on Wales and developments across the country. Of course we need to register more schools and of course encourage more volunteers to join us. Promises to be an exciting journey. Watch this space!

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By Steve Iredale

The Chief Medical Officer in Scotland launches ‘Who’s in Health?’

The following release is from the Primary Futures website ……………….. Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer today visited Sciennes Primary School to launch the Primary Futures ‘Who’s in Health?’ campaign to  help young children understand how people in the health sector use literacy, maths and science in their jobs.

Who’s in Health? is a free initiative for state primary schools run by  the Education and Employers charity  in partnership with the Medical Schools Council.  It aims to get people from the healthcare sector to volunteer to go into primary schools and chat informally to children about their jobs.  This is to help the children (aged 7 – 11) see the relevance of what they are learning especially in science, mathematics and English and to broaden and raise their future aspirations.

Volunteers may be hospital doctors, GPs, nurses, ambulance drivers, high street pharmacists, healthcare assistants, dieticians, surgeons, midwives, students and researchers to name just a few.  Volunteers and schools connect via the free online service Primary Futures – http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/primary-futures/

The school children at Sciennes Primary were joined by medical student Callum Cruickshank who is in his 4th year at the University of Edinburgh and founded the “You can be a doctor programme”. http://youcanbeadoctor.co.uk/category/about-us/  – an online resource to give young people the support and information they need to become a doctor.

Catherine Calderwood told the children in the Schools Science Centre about her medical career and her role as Chief Medical Officer for Scotland. She said:  “Whether you are an obstetrician and gynaecologist like me, a GP, radiographer or psychologist, currently studying or a qualified professional, your talent and enthusiasm can be a fantastic motivator for children.  I’d encourage as many of my colleagues in healthcare to get involved and connect with schools.  I want to ensure we encourage as many young people as possible into hugely rewarding professions, like mine.”

Nick Chambers, Director of charity Employers and Education said: “Many children see certain areas of health, such as medicine, as not an option for them, either because they don’t know anything about it or because they believe that such futures are for other, perhaps more privileged people.  Who’s in health? inspires children and help them see the relevance of what they are learning – to careers in healthcare.  The scheme is aimed at pupils aged 7-11.  It is not necessary to have experience of outreach work with young people.  Signing up only takes a few minutes and from there you will be put in contact with primary schools.”

John Iredale, Regius Professor of Medical Science, Dean of Clinical Medicine and Vice-Principal Health Services said: “Offering opportunities to all of our young people, particularly those who might not otherwise consider higher/university education and ensuring that professions, including medicine, represent all parts of our society is an unambiguous priority for the university and all of the UKs medical schools.”

See also: www.inspiringscotland.org

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By Steve Iredale

North to Newcastle and colleagues from the North Tyneside Learning Trust

Getting up at 5.30am in the morning is not a good idea!! Expecting traffic trouble on the journey north to Hadrian’s Park Primary School http://www.hadrianparkprimary.org.uk/index.html an early start was the order of the day. Shame it didn’t work as I was still delayed on both the A1 and the Tyne Tunnel.

IMG_3413My morning (eventually) was spent working with colleagues from the Churchill family of schools who are all part of the North Tyneside Learning Trust, a group of 40 plus schools http://ntlearningtrust.org.uk/ looking at the possibilities that Primary Futures might offer the schools and children. It was ever really positive to meet like minded, enthusiastic colleagues and to be a part of their discussions. Lots of interesting ideas were discussed but as ever it is now left with the schools to decide what is best for them and how their ideas could perhaps work across the trust. Getting schools in the trust registered would be a great starting point! After the presentation I had the opportunity to tour Hadrian’s Park to meet the children and to hear all about the progress the school is making. I was impressed! Onward and upward!

Then it was the short journey to Stephenson Memorial Primary School  http://www.stephensonmemorial.co.uk/to hear more about the trust and to meet a member of staff who has a lead role in raising children’s aspirations working with external bodies and employers amongst others. Hopefully Primary Futures will be able to support her in the development of appropriate learning programmes with our volunteer database being a key component. Before departing I had the chance to look round the school with the boss to hear and see their really innovative approach to tackling the challenges of the latest new curriculum. I love the enquiry and question based approach! As ever I cannot fail to be inspired by the determination of those in the profession to make the questionable policies of successive governments work for the benefit of all children. I can’t wait to see how Primary Futures can help to support their development.

By Steve Iredale