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New Education and Employers' research shows career-related learning could play a key role in schools’ recovery

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As the government considers a range of options to help children’s education recover from covid, such as longer school days, changing school holidays and tuition, a new report from the charity Education and Employers offers an innovative and inspiring option.

Findings from a national pilot and a survey of 10,000 children (launched 24 March) 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 have access to a diversity of role models. This has especially been the case during the lockdown.

After taking part in Primary Futures activities, 88% of children agreed that doing well at school would help them in the future and 82% of children now understood how learning maths, science and English could be useful in many jobs.

The report shows that the career aspirations of seven-year-olds are often relatively unchanged by the time they reach the age of 18 and are worryingly influenced by gender, ethnicity and social background stereotypes. The research also shows that children are heavily influenced by the people they either meet every day or see on TV.

This results in far too many young people ruling out options for themselves from a young age, simply because they do not realise the full range of opportunities open to them.

However, following inspiring sessions with people from the world of work, 84% of children understood that boys and girls can do the same job and 80% agreed that ‘people like them’ can be successful when they grow up.

NAHT general secretary, Paul Whiteman said “Now is the time for us to ignite our children’s aspirations. We need to help them see what’s possible and the opportunities open to them. Primary Futures does that and NAHT has been a proud supporter from the start. It is truly incredible how much impact this scheme has had.”

Find out more and read the Starting Early report here.  

First published 24 March 2021