On Tuesday 14th May the Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary State for Education, Graham Stuart MP and Emma Hardy MP hosted a cross-party event in the House of Commons which brought together MPs from across the country and political divide to help primary aged children.
MPs were asked by Paul Whiteman the General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers to help primary schools in their constituencies by supporting Primary Futures.
The scheme set up in partnership with the Education and Employers Charity aims to broaden primary aged children’s horizons, raise their aspirations, challenge stereotypes and improve academic attainment. It does this by providing schools with free access to local volunteers from the world of world via a state-of-the-art on-line matching portal. Nearly 50,000 people have all volunteered – from all levels – apprentices to CEOs and all sectors – architects to zoologist.
Due to the success of the scheme and demand from schools many more volunteers are needed.
MPs were asked to send out a letter to people in their consistencies encouraging them to volunteer an hour a year and go into a local school and chat informally to children about their job.
These two clips show what Primary Futures is all about and the impact volunteers make on:
70 MPs have already agreed to be Primary Futures Parliamentary Champions and encourage local volunteers from the world of work to participate in the programme and take part themselves and visit local primary schools and talk about their roles and chat with children about their job and career route.
The number of Parliamentary Champions is expected to grow rapidly in the next few days.
Damian Hinds MP commended the programme as he had taken part in an event earlier in the year at Barham Primary School
“please get involved and support Primary Futures – it adds so much value to children as I can vouch when I visited Barham Primary School. We need as many MPs as possible to sign up as we know that volunteers visiting schools spark curiosity amongst children. It is also really important for them to understand how what they are learning at school can have relevance to a successful future.”
Graham Stuart MP who organised the event with his neighbouring MP, Emma Hardy, commented:
“The aim of the Primary Futures Parliamentary event was to encourage MPs to promote Primary Futures in their constituencies. I was pleased to see so many of my colleagues from all parties at the event, and the Secretary of State for Education’s speech was extremely supportive.
Children’s career aspirations are formed at a young age and influenced overwhelmingly by who they know. Quality teaching about the world of work can play a huge part in opening a child’s eyes to what’s possible in their future while meeting people from wide-ranging careers can spark curiosity and make all jobs seem accessible.
Emma and I may represent different parties, but we launched the Parliament programme together as we share the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to a fulfilling career that is not limited by their background. We also agree that Primary Futures is an excellent means through which to achieve this.”
Emma Hardy, MP for Hull West and Hessle, commented:
“I was pleased to launch the Primary Futures Parliament programme with Graham. Graham and I have both focussed on improving opportunity through our involvement in the Education Select Committee. It’s also significant that as regional MPs we’re working together. Our combined efforts to boost volunteer sign-ups across the region will hopefully benefit schools in our constituencies by broadening the range of volunteers available to inspire local children. As a former primary school teacher, I certainly would have loved to have something like Primary Futures for the students that I taught.”
Pupils from Barham Primary School in Wembley accompanied by their teachers including head teacher, Karen Giles demonstrated how valuable it is for young people to engage with the world of work from a young age.
Primary Futures is backed by robust research that shows children’s career aspirations are formed at a young age and influenced overwhelmingly by who they know. Meeting volunteers from across the world of work can be decisive in demonstrating to a child what’s possible and what they can achieve.