Primary Futures: Key Stage 2

Volunteers talking about their jobs and how is so important for children to develop their skills in literacy and numeracy.  

Teachers can invite volunteers to give careers insight talks in a range of different formats. Some do these as classroom sessions, and some do them as assemblies, as job cafes or speed dating about jobs and careers. This can give KS2 pupils a chance to connect what they are doing in the classroom to the adult world as they start continue their learning journey through education. It is also an opportunity for the volunteers to share the importance of their primary school learning as key drivers in their success. Raising the aspirations of all children is a central theme of Primary Futures.

Volunteers could be asked to bring in their favourite book and as well as talking about the jobs they do, can be asked to explain share why literacy and numeracy are so important in their work and relate this to their primary education.

What could be better …… volunteers from different industries simply coming in and talk to the pupils about their jobs to inspire and enthuse. It’s easy to find who is available in your area.

We have produced a PowerPoint presentation including a step-by-step guide for teachers using the system, as well as the rationale behind the Primary Futurestalks.

More examples of possible approaches to volunteer sessions will be posted in the resources section as the project develops.

How does a career insight talk look?

Inspiring the Future gives guidance to volunteers about what they might cover in career insight talks. These are not meant to be formal careers lectures; rather they are insights into a job or profession from ‘an insider’ who can share their experience. They could be one-to-one sessions or assemblies, depending on the needs of the school.

Volunteers giving a career insight talk to young people in a school or college are encouraged to address the following:

  • What they do. They might talk through ‘an average day’.
  • What learning route they took and how important learning has been in their career pathway.
  • What advice would they give young people hoping to get into the field now?

With primary school pupils, volunteers might bring in props or objects from work to creative a more interactive presentation. KS2 pupils are starting to think about what they might like to do in the future, and how they can get there, so career insight talks can both broaden horizons and show the importance of qualifications in creating a career path.

Employee volunteers are keen to engage with schools and colleges and contribute to their local communities. Many schools have built up fruitful and longstanding relationships with their visitors.

Where to start

  • Put someone in charge. A single point of contact, will keep the communication simple right from the start.
  • Decide what support your school/college needs. Decide which pupils would benefit most.

Choosing a volunteer

On the Inspiring the Future website schools can view brief details that volunteers have entered about themselves, their jobs, and what they can offer. Private email addresses and phone numbers are not visible to either party.

Making contact and creating an ‘activity’

From the Inspiring the Future ‘My Matches’ page, they can email appropriate volunteers and ask them to get involved in an activity they have coming up. After discussion through the email messaging system, schools create an ‘activity’ giving a few more details of the event – the date, number of pupils, ages of pupils and other useful information. Volunteers can choose to ‘accept the event’, and once it has taken place schools ‘close it’, triggering feedback.

The visit

  • Ensure the volunteer arrives with time to prepare
  • Let everyone know that the visit is happening and what to expect in the session.
  • Organise car parking if required
  • Let your volunteer know how the visit went. Through feedback they can develop their communication and presentation style.

Feedback afterwards

Inspiring the Future asks four or five questions of both volunteers and schools about how the event went. We strongly recommend that this is completed, as it allows us to keep an eye on the quality of volunteers and whether the service is working for both parties. We also use your feedback to report to funders, which will help to keep this service completely free to schools and volunteers.

Visit our FAQs section for more details about the volunteering and registration process.

Click here to read what the Head of St. Joseph’s Primary School in Wiltshire says about the experience of having a brain scientist come in to talk to KS2 pupils.

Our teacher survey, sent out to all teachers who use Inspiring the Future, found that 85% of teachers would recommend the service to a friend or a colleague, while over 80% agreed that it was easy to find relevant volunteers for their requirements.

Teachers who had used Inspiring the Future also said:

Quality people from hard to reach careers which supports students in understanding where they can go or be

Simply an outstanding service. A website that has allowed, amongst others, Google and Bloomberg to visit the school. Incredible and devoted volunteers. Best website our there for master classes in key subjects. Superb.

Easy to use service. I had a very good success rate of volunteers saying “yes” to helping out …Would easily recommend the service

Research has shown that events and activities that give pupils insight into different careers at KS1 and KS2 can not only help to raise aspiration, but can also increase pupil enjoyment of other career-related activities at school and reduce future chances of being unemployed.

A comprehensive study in this area is an evaluation carried out in 2010. It was funded by the former Department for Skills, Children and Families (DSCF). It evaluated the effect of a career insights pilot run across 38 primary schools in seven local authorities, and used 120 other schools for comparison. This allowed them to measure the real impact of the programme on pupil attitudes, aspirations and understanding of career options.

NFER were commissioned to carry out the research; they found that career insight activities in primary schools had a significant impact, particularly because children begin to form stereotypes about occupations, careers and universities from the age of six:

  • Pupils showed increased understanding of the link between education, qualifications and careers and a more positive attitude towards school and education
  • They also showed increased awareness, knowledge and understanding of different types of employment
  • School staff felt it helped to broaden the horizons of pupils, increasing their confidence and resilience; and
  • Pupils also showed a decrease in stereotypical thinking in relation to gender

For more details on how the pilot worked, and its results, click here.

Visit the Teachers Guide One-Stop-Shop for advice on how to get started and plan your work with employers.

We have produced practical guidance to help teachers use Inspiring the Future volunteers: Practical Guidance for Schools and Colleges

Please see our FAQs section for more details about the volunteering and registration process.

Reading partners

Many schools already use reading partner schemes to link up volunteers with individual and groups of children in primary schools pupils to help improve their basic reading skills.

Through Primary Futures Inspiring the Future, they have access to a quick, free and easy way to find, contact and stay in touch with volunteers in their local area.

Through Inspiring the Future’s online platform you can search for volunteers in your area who are willing to get involved in a reading partnership scheme. You can contact them directly and discuss exactly what kind of scheme you would like to run and how they can get involved. They will be untrained adult volunteers who are willing to commit time to provide extra reading support to pupils.

There are various ways of running reading partnership schemes and a scheme might include:

  • A one-off event, such as a sponsored “readathon”, where volunteers commit to one day or a few hours over a week to meet with a pupil
  • Extended reading partnerships, where a volunteer attends for 30 minutes to an hour weekly or fortnightly to work with the same pupil on their reading
  • Monthly group reading sessions, where a group of volunteers come to hear the pupils read, after school or at lunchtime

Some volunteers will have more flexibility than others; some will be happy to commit to a weekly meeting, and others will only be able to attend one-off events. It may depend on their work commitments, and in some cases committing for extended periods of time will be difficult.

A DBS check (previously CRB) will not be needed if volunteers do not have unsupervised access to pupils (see here for Ofsted’s guidance on DBS checks and safeguarding).

Top Tips for Reading Partner Schemes

Where to Start

  • Nominate one teacher to manage the scheme, to be the point of contact for potential and existing volunteers. A single point of contact will keep communication simple
  • Decide which pupils will benefit most, and get parental consent for their participation
  • Assign time and space in the school for the scheme, ensuring a nominated teacher is present at all times, meaning that volunteers do not need DBS checks
  • Before contacting a volunteer, ensure that you know what kind of time commitment you are requesting, and make that clear in the first communication

After contacting a volunteer

  • Prepare resources and information for volunteers so they know the level of their reading partner, which texts to use and how best to help the pupil learn
  • Offer an hour of training for volunteers committing to weekly or fortnightly sessions (training resources can be found here)
  • Assign two volunteers to every pupil for extended schemes so that busy work schedules do not leave a pupil without a reading partner

Feedback

Inspiring the Future asks four or five questions of both volunteers and schools about how activities went. We strongly recommend that this is completed, as it allows us to keep an eye on the quality of volunteers and whether the service is working for both parties. We also use your feedback to report to funders, which will help to keep this service completely free to schools and volunteers.

Visit our FAQs section for more details about the volunteering and registration process.

 

Click here to see Sheila Jones, the Head of a primary school in Wiltshire, talk about the importance of reading partner work in her school

Read a case study here from Brenda Bigland, who used literacy partners in her school, Lent Rise Primary.

From the Tower Hamlets Partners programme in primary schools, 100% of (n=27) teachers felt that pupils had developed confidence and become better at expressing thoughts and ideas as a result of the programme, as well as all of them improving basic skills. 96% also felt pupils had learnt how to listen more effectively.

One teacher explained that ‘Our business partners are fantastic and very understanding with our busy school life. The children look forward to them coming.’

Research has found that reading partner programmes not only improve basic literacy and comprehension skills, but they can also contribute to improving confidence, behaviour and pupils’ enjoyment of school. Some reports also find that working with successful adult mentors as reading partners can also help to raise aspirations.

In 2012, NFER conducted a survey of 323 teachers who had first-hand experience of running reading partner programmes with non-expert volunteers. Teachers were asked what impact the scheme had on pupils’ literacy attainment target for the year:

  • 23% of teachers believed it very much increased their chance of reaching a target
  • 68% believed it slightly increased their chance of reaching a target
  • Only 7% believed it had a negligible effect or no effect at all
  • Less than 2% believed it reduced their chance of reaching a target

From the VOSC Schools Survey, only 33% of schools had been involved in volunteer literacy programmes – yet 50% of teachers who had said it had much improved pupils’ reading skills, and 42% said it had slightly improved them.

One evaluation of a Northern Irish reading partner programme was done in 2009, with unusually reliable evidence where control groups were used as comparisons to assess the effectiveness of the programme and measures its impacts upon pupils. It found strong evidence that these kinds of volunteer reading schemes improve core reading skills, confidence, aspiration for the future and enjoyment of reading. A summary of the report’s findings can be found here.

Research on the effectiveness of literacy partner programmes

Tower Hamlets EBP Partners Programme

What Works for Struggling Readers?

Northern Irish Reading Partners Evaluation

Click here for a 2012 review of various UK and US literacy and numeracy interventions and their effectiveness for low attaining pupils

Visit the Teachers’ Guide One-Stop-Shop for advice on how to get started on using employee volunteers

For a resource pack for teachers running additional reading programmes, with useful hints and tips, see this pack from the National Educational Psychological Service

To check whether you need to DBS check volunteers for your reading partner programme, see Ofsted’s guidance for schools

The Welsh Government’s guidance on literacy catch-up programmes provides a useful step-by-step guide to different reading partner and number partner programmes, and can be found here

Key Stage 2 career-related learning pathfinder evaluationhttps://www.nfer.ac.uk/nfer/publications/91037/91037.pdf

Number partners

Number partner schemes usually consist of volunteers doing being involved with number games or basic number based activities with primary school pupils children on an individual or group basis to help them improve and develop their core number basic numeracy skills and confidence.

Primary Futures Inspiring the Future helps to connect the teachers schools with responsible enthusiastic volunteers through the Inspiring the Future programme who are willing to give that extra help to pupils who need additional support to develop their numeracy skills.

Inspiring the Future’s online platform will allow you to search for volunteers in your area who would be willing to be involved in a reading partnership scheme. You can contact them directly and discuss exactly what kind of scheme you would like to run and how they can get involved.

There are various ways of running number partner schemes and a scheme might include:

  • A one-off event, such as a number day, where volunteers work with one pupil on number games and activities that improve their basic numeracy
  • Extended number partnerships, where a volunteer attends for 30 minutes to an hour weekly or fortnightly to work with the same pupil on their maths skills, particularly through the use of number games
  • Monthly number sessions, where volunteers come to work with struggling pupils individually, after school or at lunchtime

Some volunteers will have more flexibility than others; some will be happy to commit to a weekly meeting, and others will only be able to attend one-off events. It may depend on their work commitments, and in some cases committing for extended periods of time will be difficult.

A DBS check (previously CRB) will not be needed if volunteers do not have unsupervised access to pupils (see here for Ofsted’s guidance on DBS checks and safeguarding).

Top Tips for Number Partner Schemes

Where to Start

  • Nominate one teacher to manage the scheme, to be the point of contact for potential and existing volunteers. A single point of contact will keep communication simple
  • Decide which pupils will benefit most, and get parental consent for their participation
  • Assign time and space in the school for the scheme, ensuring a nominated teacher is present at all times, meaning that volunteers do not need DBS checks
  • Before contacting a volunteer, ensure that you know what kind of time commitment you are requesting, and make that clear in the first communication

After contacting a volunteer

  • Prepare resources and information for volunteers so they know the level of their number partner, which areas to cover and how best to help the pupil learn
  • Offer in-house training for volunteers committing to weekly or fortnightly sessions to help them get to grips with how they can best support their pupil partner
  • Assign two volunteers to every pupil for extended schemes so that busy work schedules do not leave a pupil without a partner

Feedback

Inspiring the Future asks four or five questions of both volunteers and schools about how activities went. We strongly recommend that this is completed, as it allows us to keep an eye on the quality of volunteers and whether the service is working for both parties. We also use your feedback to report to funders, which will help to keep this service completely free to schools and volunteers.

Visit our FAQs section for more details about the volunteering and registration process.

The Tower Hamlets EBP partnership scheme for both numeracy and literacy surveyed teachers’ feelings about impacts on pupils. They said that it:

  • Made them feel happier at school (over 75%)
  • Gave them confidence (80%)
  • Helped them to share their thoughts and ideas (80%)
  • Helped them to improve their literacy/maths levels (over 80%)
  • Improved their behaviour (over 75%)

School co-ordinators recognised the benefit, saying that 100% of pupils had improved their basic skills through taking part in the schemes. They suggested having two volunteers per child made it easier to juggle around time commitments as it is important to have consistency for the pupil.

Leicestershire Cares’ Number Partners project teachers, after 12 weeks of number partner work, explained their feelings about the project:

Number partners has been helpful to provide 1:2 practice for pupils who benefit from small group work. Children found the groups enjoyable and fun and a change from book work.

The volunteers are great with the children, whose enthusiasm for maths has certainly improved, as well as their number fact recall and participation in class.

Number partners gives children an ‘I can do’ approach when it comes to maths. This in turn contributes towards their well-being and understanding.

Leicestershire Cares: Number Partners project

An evaluation of the Leicestershire Cares number partners project was carried out. The project provided weekly support from business volunteers to primary pupils who needed additional support their maths. 122 volunteers were involved, supporting 512 children across 40 schools.

The evaluation found that, as a result of their 12 week programme with primary school children:

  • 91% of pupils increased their self-esteem/confidence
  • Pupils on average increased their numerical ability by 1 National Curriculum sub-level in just 12 weeks
  • 84% made good or excellent progress, increasing ability by 1 or more sub-levels, 55% increased by 1 sub-level, 25% increased by 2 sub-levels and 4% increased by 3 sub-levels or more
  • 39% of the pupils made better than expected progress

A summary of numeracy ‘catch up’ interventions in primary schools, conducted by the DfE’s Education Standards Research Team in November 2012, collected evidence from various reports and evaluations, finding that:

  • Earlier interventions can reduce ‘mathematics anxiety’
  • Arithmetical difficulties are highly susceptible to intervention
  • Both partner work and small group interventions are effective for pupils with low attainment
  • Interventions such as number partner schemes are increasingly being used across the UK
  • •Peer tuition is not an effective substitute for adult interventions, including adult volunteer programmes

For tips, hints and resources for running number partnership schemes, see the Number Partners website, and their top tips, and for a case study where Osmani primary school ran a reading scheme with Bank of America Merril Lynch, clickhere

For the Number Partners handbook, including tips for volunteers, click here

Visit the Teachers’ Guide One-Stop-Shop for advice on engaging employers in school activities

To check whether you need to DBS check volunteers for your reading partner programme, see Ofsted’s guidance for schools