Over the course of this project, Primary Futures enabled over 50,000 children and over 1,300 teachers to participate in over 970 activities with volunteers. The project also supported the recruitment of an additional 12,000 volunteers from a range of employers available for all schools to access.
Primary Futures brings employees into schools where they can talk to children about their job, their career route and how subjects they studied at school help with their work. Particularly popular are the “What’s my line?” events where children have an opportunity to question a guest panel of volunteers to try and guess their job. Seeing real people from a range of occupations helps breakdown gender and sector stereotypes and raises awareness of potential career paths from an early age.
Primary Futures also offers thematic campaigns directed at particular issues such as Women in Science or arts and creative careers – areas not easily recognised by the primary age group and most recently have developed an online interactive offer meaning schools can continue to connect children to volunteers whether they are in the classroom or learning from home..
Primary Futures is supported by NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers).
Based on new in-depth research, insights and surveys, Starting Early: Building the foundations for success makes the case for career-related learning in primary schools. This report provides the evidence behind a low-cost approach that is underexploited in addressing the challenges of ingrained stereotypical views and narrow aspirations of primary aged pupils – and is especially vital during the post-Covid ‘recovery curriculum’ period.
Primary children, who are among those who have missed the biggest proportion of their schooling during the pandemic, can be motivated and inspired through live, interactive virtual events where they meet and question a diverse range of working people across the UK from electrical engineers to Antarctic explorers.
Starting Early shows that the potential of career-related learning in primary schools is far greater than today’s practice. We can give children access to role models from the world of work and empower teachers to connect directly with employer volunteers to organise high-quality career-related learning. These activities reduce stereotypes, enhance confidence, foster a positive attitude towards school, and improve attainment.
Findings from a national pilot and a survey of 10,000 children shows that the Primary Futures programme results in improved motivation for maths, science and English and increases children’s future aspirations and desire to learn. The biggest impact has been on children from disadvantaged backgrounds who often don’t get access to a diversity of role models. This has been especially the case during lockdown.