Madolyn Bartlett, Teacher at Parklands Primary School

Why did you sign up?

I’m a year 2 teacher and in my role as history subject leader I made it a target to get more volunteers into school. I had heard a lot about Inspiring the Future and thought ‘I wish there was something like this for primary’ and then discovered there was!

So far this year we’ve had 10 visitors come and visit, and have got lots more booked for summer. For us it is all about making our topics more exciting. A recent topic was travel and adventure. It can be so hard to do such a broad topic in the classroom so we wanted volunteers to make their learning an interactive experience.

We’ve had volunteers in classrooms across the whole school, for every age, to inspire their learning, and bring what they learn to life and into the classroom for free. Volunteers we’ve had visit include pilots, train drivers, geologists for science and foreign language speakers. There are volunteers for all areas of the curriculum!

What do your pupils most enjoy about Primary Futures events?

They love seeing all different age ranges, genders (they’d never seen a female train driver, the kids were over the moon, it was magical), taking loads of pictures, speaking face to face with volunteers and coming up with lots of questions, making it a real event. Recently we’ve been talking about highlights of the year and it is always the visitors! They go home and tell their families about the people they’ve met. It makes you think will they be doing those careers in 20 years?

Why would you recommend Primary Futures to other schools?

First of all it is very, very easy to use. When I found it I thought it was amazing. I could type in a key word like ‘pilot’ and see everyone available in my area. Volunteers are easy to contact through the online messaging, and you can pass on all details to volunteers easily as well as keeping up a conversation. There is also a huge array of visitors. There isn’t any other service like it!

What is the biggest advantage of our online system?

There is a whole range of visitors (no matter what your subject you will find someone right for you) and it is free. Now we know about it we can use it from now on and the contacts we’ve made want to stay in touch. It’s a great way to build relationships with volunteers in the local community and the children are inspired even after the visit. A whole week of learning can come from one visit! The pre-event reminder messages with helpful tips are also very useful.

Describe Primary Futures in three words?

Inspirational, engaging, interactive.