Scaling Up: Developing and extending career-related learning in primary schools

This report by looks at the impact of Primary Futures and explores how the programme can be scaled up.

Executive Summary 

Primary Futures connects primary schools with volunteers from a wide range of diverse backgrounds,
with different career journeys and doing different jobs. Schools are connected with volunteers via a secure state of the art online technology platform, empowering schools to organise events in which
volunteers chat to children about their jobs and show how their time at school is relevant to their future lives and the opportunities open to them, regardless of their gender, social or ethnic background.

Key Findings

The evidence from children’s feedback echoes post event forms from teachers. This shows gains in attitude to school and learning, which can support engagement and attainment, as well as positive impacts on children’s ambition, confidence, and ideas about future careers:

  •  82% agreed “I now understand how learning maths/ English/science can be useful in many jobs”, rising to 84% among children from the most deprived primary schools.
  • Investigating attitudes towards jobs, school, and skills, around three quarters or more of pupils typically report that the event helped them learn more or improved their motivation.
  • 25% of children said they had changed their mind about what they want to do when older as a result of interacting with volunteers.
  • For children participating in the targeted model providing baseline and end line survey data, the
    strongest shifts in attitude over time were in young people knowing about a greater range of jobs (10.8%pts net positive shift), thinking they can do anything when they grow up (9.1%pts), and considering that science and engineering are for people like them (7.4%pts).

Next Steps

With consistent qualitative and quantitative feedback from teachers and children, reinforced by pre/ post and dosage response analysis, the next step in demonstrating impact requires the operational support and funding to drive comparison group trials. Such trials, if a priority for funders, can be embarked on with confidence, with research able to strengthen understanding of the scale and duration of positive effects, how career-related learning interacts with other activities, and how best to support disadvantaged groups.

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