Educators, you inspire us: reflect, celebrate and look ahead

In a year of incredible challenges, we’ve been inspired by teachers’ passion and commitment to keep children’s education on an even keel. When you’ve had a chance to catch your breath, this article catches you up on some of the things Primary Futures schools have achieved this year and whets your appetite with all the ways you can use Primary Futures to raise children’s aspirations and integrate with your curriculum.

We’re keen to hear your intentions for virtual, face-to-face or blended engagement with visitors next year so we can inform volunteers. Take the (very) short poll.

Scroll down to book into our 16th September teacher CPD or have us in for a staff meeting or INSET day in the autumn. 

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our fantastic volunteers for the time you have generously given to inspire children. During this challenging year, sharing your stories has meant more than ever.

And now for that end-of-term feel good factor, here’s a word from the children at our Teacher Ambassador schools, reflecting on meeting volunteers in this tumultuous year.

Looking back

“[Meeting adults talk about their job] made me feel more brave and happy because I knew I had more chances and more choices for what job I wanted to have when I am older” – Pupil, Landau Forte MoorheadAt Primary Futures, your efforts have resulted in nearly 200,000 children making thousands of volunteer connections through live interactive activities and using pre-recorded video resources making the most of 10,000 virtual volunteers to broaden children’s horizons and link with the wider world.

In rural Cornwall, young polar explorers connected with an Antarctic explorer based in Edinburgh, Corby infants toured an airport hanger via screen, learners in Bradford linked with legal minds in London on their civil rights topic, children in Doncaster met a suite of accessible role models with strong local links whilst at home during lockdown, and Derby children linked social-emotional learning to the world of work through the Our Future Derby project we’re running with local delivery partners. Based on teacher requests, we curated a library of pre-recorded video resources and learning activities, paying homage to NHS staff, turning gender stereotypes on their head and looking to future-focused tech jobs.

In the autumn, look out for the launch of our ‘Travel & Transport’ pre-recorded resource taking children on a voyage with a female pilot and aircraft engineer and a male ship captain and deck officer.Almost 70,000 pupils from 370 schools up and down the country took part in our pilot to scale Primary Futures nationally.

The impact of this fed into the seminal report synthesising why Starting Early in career-related learning is a no-brainer. Last week we launched Scaling Up, a detailed look into the impact of that project showing that Primary Futures works! Feedback from children and teachers has demonstrated that meeting relatable role models can benefit social mobility and counter the ingrained stereotypical views children of have about the jobs people do based on their gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background – and the more jobs children link with, the better.

Looking ahead

One of the very big advantages of virtual is that our volunteers can widen children’s worlds no matter where in the country you are, taking them on imaginative journeys into their future, all from the classroom or a home device. Next year we continue our partnerships with NHS, Maritime sector, Amazon Web Services, ITV, Royal Horticultural Society and Bank of America featuring a range of volunteers with hugely diverse jobs from inventing the ‘tomtato’ hybrid potato/tomato plant to producing famous TV shows, as well as have thousands of people working in smaller organisations with both familiar and unique jobs.  So you’ll have plenty to choose from yourself, and we’ll be offering schools facilitated showcase opportunities along the way.

We’re also working with groups of schools to fully exploit Primary Futures to link volunteers with curriculum and enrichment initiatives and bring learning to life with some schools embedding career-related learning and aspirational thinking into every aspect of school life.

When planning the learning for next year, don’t forget to consider how it all relates to real jobs in the real world and how our massive database of volunteers could help:

Examples of units of learning and how volunteers can suit the lesson - a British Museum worker or architect for a Ancient Egypt class, an engineer for Space, flood management for Natural Disasters, volunteers from Maritime and Aviation for Transport activities

Example jobs from Primary Futures portal that link to topics

“The pupils had interacted with three people who, in 45 minutes, had made them feel like they could achieve anything! Our children need this and we owe it to them to build these talks into our Curriculum!” – Louise Robinson, Hill Top Academy, Doncaster

Next steps

To help maximise these learning links, join us for our next teacher CPD on:  September 16th at 3.40pm – 4.50pm: Putting Career-Related Learning into Practice – register for the CPD.

We’ll explore how career-related learning is much more than just jobs. Unpack what the evidence says and what it means for you as a practitioner committed to raising aspirations and school improvement. We’re also offering limited slots to introduce Primary Futures in staff meeting or INSET days to support a whole-school approach. Contact us at enquiries@inspiringthefuture.org with your dates. Need help using Primary Futures? There are a series of ‘Getting Started’ resources when you sign up or log in and if you’re stuck, get in touch.