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.

Maybe it’s time you joined us as a school or as a volunteer?

By Steve Iredale

Thanks for a great day at Mayflower Primary School!

IMG_3579Our letter of thanks sent to all our fantastic volunteers who gave up some of their time to help to inspire the next generation of children.

…………….A huge thank you for taking part in the Primary Futures event at Mayflower Primary School yesterday. The feedback from the school has been amazing and Head Teacher, Dee Bleach has said how positive all of the teachers and children have been about the experience.

Now that you have had a taster of what Primary Futures can offer young people, we urge you to spread the word and encourage colleagues, friends, relatives, neighbours etc to volunteer an hour a year. Simply send them this link to primary Futures and the on-line registration And of course and if you haven’t signed up yourself please do so if you want to take part again. Here is a one minute clip explain how the online match making service works –

Here are the photographs from yesterday and if you have any more great shots of your own please do send them over. We have tried to add everyone’s name to the pics but we are missing a couple – do let us know if you recognise them.

Below is one of the news stories on the event which we hope you enjoy reading

In the futures please help us spread the word by tweeting about your expereinces @PrimaryFutures and by encouraging your company to do likewise – we rely heavily on word of mouth to help us grow our numbers of volunteers. Many thanks to all of you who have already tweeted along the lines ….Please give an hour a year to inspire children in primary schools via– see it in action

Apprenticeship project with the Skills Funding Agency – In the near future we are running a project with the Skills Funding Agency across the South East and East of England delivering apprenticeship awareness events in schools with young people aged 16-19 years old. We would really welcome you and your colleagues involvement in these events. Please let us know if you are interested so we can send you more information.

We would love to get your feedback on the apprentices and Primary Futures day at Mayflower Primary School so please feel free to send us a few lines describing how you found the experience and talking to the children so we can add your comments to our blog.

Thank you once again for supporting Primary Futures.

Best wishes,

Sophie and the team at the Education and Employers charity

By Steve Iredale

Prime Minister’s Apprenticeships Tsar launches scheme to get Apprentices into primary schools

Media Release: embargoed until 1am 25th January 2016.

The Prime Minister’s recently appointed Apprenticeship Tsar, Nadhim Zahawi MP, is launching a scheme to take Apprentices into primary schools with an event at Mayflower Primary School in Poplar. The event will see 30 apprentices from different sectors join Nadhim to chat with primary school children about their jobs, bringing learning to life and broadening aspirations.

This is a unique event in that it allows primary age pupils to talk directly with Apprentices about what they do which has never been done before on a large scale in the UK.

It is important at an early age that young people are aware of all routes open to them in later life. Many are familiar with the concept of university and successive governments have attempted to encourage young people think about enterprise and starting their own business, but the link has not previously been made between primary and apprenticeships.

We know that for children of primary age, making a connection between what they learn in the classroom and how it relates to the world of work isn’t easy. Primary Futures Apprenticeships is intended to help change that. This event aims to broaden horizons of primary schools children, help them see the links between their lessons and their futures and reduce gender specific stereotyping.

The Prime Minister’s Apprenticeship Tsar, Nadhim Zahawi MP, says: “It’s so important for primary school children to meet with apprentices and I was delighted to have the opportunity to be involved with this at Mayflower Primary School. Many of us develop our idea of a dream job while we’re at primary school, and apprenticeships are a great way of achieving these dreams. As the Government seeks to hit the target of 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020, school pupils should be aware of future options they have from a young age, so they’re familiar with the system and what the possibilities are as they shape their future.”

Russell Hobby, the General Secretary of school leaders union the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT), says: “It’s clear 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; about how important their primary school learning really is in terms of future opportunities. Providing the right kind of inspiration can broaden horizons, which is where Primary Futures is proving to be so successful. Children are introduced to people from all sorts of jobs and can see the different paths to success, whether that’s degree, apprenticeship or any other route. Detailed guidance may come later but careers inspiration shouldn’t wait until children get to secondary school. Involving apprentices in Primary Futures is a great extra angle to explore. Apprentices may well be closer in age to the children they’re speaking to, and as a result they may be more approachable and easier to identify with. Equally, it’s important to demonstrate that apprenticeships are a credible route for future employment.”

The charity is also running an Inspiring the Apprenticeship campaign in secondary schools supported by the SFA which enabled 244,000 young people from more than 1,000 state secondary schools and colleges to meet volunteers with first-hand experience of being an Apprentice. To continue and support the promotion of more apprenticeships in school and colleges they have just launched a more advanced apprenticeship volunteer matching service to the existing platform, allowing volunteers with knowledge about apprenticeships, to choose in what capacity e.g. apprentice, recruiter, and allow teacher to search down and select the appropriate apprentice specialist they are looking for.

How Primary Futures works
Primary Futures uses on-line matching technology to get people from a wide range of professions and different backgrounds – from apprentices to CEOs, archaeologists to zoologists – to 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. Teachers, employers and individual apprentices register and are matched via Follow the campaign on Twitter: @Edu_Employers

 For media enquiries and to arrange interviews please contact Carol Glover, Communications Manager, Education and Employers Taskforce on 07939 061 850 or email  
NOTES TO EDITORS represents more than 29,000 school leaders in early years, primary, secondary and special schools, making us the largest association for school leaders in the UK. We represent, advise and train school leaders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We use our voice at the highest levels of government to campaign positively and to influence policy for the benefit of leaders and learners everywhere. Our new section supports, develops and represents middle leaders in schools
By Steve Iredale

Primary Futures and Apprentices at Mayflower Primary School – 25th January

Raising the profile of apprenticeships and their importance has recently been highlighted by the Secretary of State and leaders of industry. I guess one of the many challenges faced by schools is helping to raise this profile whilst being continually battered by a succession of policies from governments of all persuasions which perhaps haven’t exactly encouraged this approach. Hopefully the tide is turning?

In the world of primary education we fully recognise the importance of helping to raise aspirations giving children a taste of future possibilities helping to bring their learning to life by supporting teachers through Primary Futures. This week we are holding one of our flagship events at Mayflower Primary School in Tower Hamlets as part of the apprentices agenda. The invitation below provides a flavour of what the afternoon holds. Watch this space for our national press release and photos and comment from the event itself. For more information about Primary Futures please check out this link

Dear XX
We are delighted to invite you to join us for a special event on 25 January from 13.00 – 15.00 with the Prime Minister’s recently appointed Apprenticeship, Advisor, Nadhim Zahawi MP, at Mayflower Primary School in Tower Hamlets.
The event will see 30 apprentices from different employers join Nadhim Zahawi MP and other guests to chat to primary school children about their jobs.
We know that for children of primary age, making a connection between what they learn in the classroom and how it relates to the world of work isn’t easy. Primary Futures is intended to change that. Children who can see the relationship between what they are learning and the possibilities it opens up for them in later life are likely to be far more motivated achieve.
This event aims to broaden the horizons of primary schools children, help them see the links between their lessons and their futures and reduce gender specific stereotyping. We welcome your support with this!
Primary Futures sees 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.
At the event you will get the opportunity to visit classrooms to meet groups of children, chat about your job and answer their questions. This informal approach encourages children to engage with you, which in turn broadens their horizons and builds on their communication skills

By Steve Iredale

Our YouTube videos …………….. time to register?

If you haven’t yet had the chance to get involved with Primary Futures from either a school or volunteer perspective why not check out some of our videos of recent activity? They show you some of what we get involved with and hopefully will help to inspire you to consider joining us in 2016?

Other useful links
• Website
• Primary Futures video released at the NAHT Conference May 2015
• Teachers guide to using Inspiring the Future technology
• Twitter @PrimaryFutures @SteveIredale

IMG_2662 v1

Help, advice and contacts
For further help, advice or support please contact Charlotte at the Education Employers charity via email charlotte.lightman@educationand or

By Steve Iredale

Pint and crisps …………….. £5.80?

The first day back on the road in 2016 was a great way to start the new year as I met with Edwina and Julie from Edison Learning to discuss partnership working between Edison and Primary Futures and links to the NAHT and Edison led ‘Aspire’ programme  The venue, The Wellcome Collection cafe on Euston Road was a pleasant change from the usual hotels and the occasional coffee establishment! It began with an opportunity for me to vent my opinions on the latest carnage which is being apparently thrust upon schools care of a press release in the usual Sunday papers!! Old habits die hard!
Having got that off my chest ……….. we had a really positive discussion about Primary Futures, the history, our aims and plans for expansion and the ongoing success and impact of Aspire on the schools that are part of the project. It was really encouraging to hear how this school led model is impacting across the clusters and of course the children. Unsurprisingly we have much in common with a shared belief about raising children’s aspirations in providing opportunities for them to develop their skills for life which are so essential in today’s world. No one doubts the importance of academic excellence however it should not be the only measure of success as we all know only too well! We departed our separate ways to have a further think about how we can develop our partnership not only sharing materials and website information but also the possibility of sharing the platform at future events. Lots to think about! If the rest of the year is as positive as this bring it on!
Can’t say I was impressed however at having a pint and a bag of crisps for the princely sum of £5.80 ahead of my return journey. When I asked the barman if the price was correct he pointed out it was a large bag! Well that’s okay then!

By Steve Iredale

2016 Promises to be an Exciting Year! 

As 2015 slowly becomes a distant memory the Primary Futures team are all looking forward with tremendous optimism to 2016. We achieved a great deal in what was our first full year of Primary Futures. Over 2000 schools have joined us with 26,000 plus volunteers and teachers sending nearly 10,000 messages to volunteers. Whilst we continued to hold a series of high profile events across the country it has been exciting to see so many local events and activities being organised and led by schools which is one of our key aims. We have also seen more schools recognising the added value volunteers can make in inspiring their children as they looked at their curriculum and identified opportunities to use volunteers across the school year. Our curriculum resources developed by teachers helped to support this development

So what have we got planned for 2016?

We remain determined to register more schools and volunteers supporting the development of both single events and series of activities working with individual and groups of schools. We’re also optimistic we can expand the team to provide more support on the ground across the country although we need to find the money to help us achieve this! Primary Futures is due to launch later this year in Wales led by NAHT Cymru with similar developments across the water in Northern Ireland. We are planning a SEND version of Primary Futures to join the Inspiring the Future family The approach may be different bearing in mind the specific needs of the children and young people but will still be focused very much on raising aspirations through employer engagement. Our coastal towns project will gather pace with a major series of activities planned for Blackpool ……..other areas to follow we hope! We are also looking forward to developing activities with the Reach2 Academy Trust in Essex and East Anglia, the Birmingham Education Partnership and with colleagues in the North Tyneside Trust to name but a few! High profile events will continue as we seek to share the potential of Primary Futures beginning with an apprentices focused day in East London in January. 2016 will indeed be an exciting year! Maybe it’s time your school or business joined us to help raise the aspirations of the next generation. Why wouldn’t you?

By Steve Iredale