Inspiring the Future Primary


Welcome to Primary Futures - raising our children's aspirations

What is Primary Futures all about?

Primary Futures aims to widen the horizons and aspirations of primary school children by helping them make the connections between their lessons and their futures.

Primary Futures has been developed by school leaders' union NAHT in partnership with the Education and Employers charity. It is completely free to all state primary schools across England and is part of the successful Inspiring the Future programme which has already registered 16,078 volunteers and 6,731 teachers representing nearly 75% of state secondary schools.

Through the free Primary Futures programme primary schools can access a vast network of volunteers from different backgrounds and professions - from apprentices to chief executives, archaeologists to zoologists or employees from small, medium sized or multi-national companies.

The Primary Futures project is led by the National Association of Headteachers, the largest school leaders association in Europe in partnership with the Education and Employers charity, whose mission is to 'ensure that every school and college has an effective partnership with employers to provide its young people with the inspiration, motivation, knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to help them achieve their potential and so to secure the UK's future prosperity'.

Russell Hobby, NAHT General Secretary says; "For children of primary age, making a connection between what they learn in the classroom and how it relates to the world of work isn't easy.  Primary Futures is intended to change that. It is not about specific careers advice, or fixing on one path for the future at age 11. It is about raising and broadening horizons about what can be achieved. Children also benefit from understanding the practical requirements of the working world so they can be motivated to improve their literacy and numeracy. "

We need to give our children and young people a vision of the opportunities available to them, so that they understand the value of learning and in doing so raise aspirations. It is never too soon to start this. We also need better connections between schools and the communities and businesses they work with. Working with charity the Education and Employers Taskforce helps achieve both goals at once. We value working with other organisations on projects that give children the best start in life".

How does Primary Futures work?

Through Primary Futures you can access a growing network of volunteers from different professions and sectors waiting to be invited into school to talk, work and share with children. Once your school has registered the service allows teachers to view profiles of different volunteers and directly message any they would like to come into their school.

When volunteers sign up, they are asked if they would mind being approached by local schools to talk about their current job and why reading and numeracy in their primary school days were so important in achieving their current status.

Volunteers will also have the option of indicating their interest in becoming reading or number partners either as part of a session talking about their job or on a separate occasion.

Who are the volunteers?

Volunteers might be apprentices, graduate recruits or Chief Executives. They could be from small, medium sized or multi-national companies. Thousands of volunteers have already signed up and dozens more register every day. As time goes on, the number of activities will be expanded making it easier than ever to work with employers and other community members to support the learning, progress and aspirations of the children.

What could the volunteers do in my school?

  • Talk about their jobs and enthuse the children about the
    range of opportunities open to them and how important reading and numeracy were in their school days.
  • Talk about the different background and cultures they come
    from and in doing so help broaden young people's horizons and raise aspirations
  • Read with or listen to individual or small groups of
    children in non-expert capacity and in doing so contribute to improving literacy.
    Maybe even read an excerpt from their favourite book?
  • Take part in a numeracy activity  with a small group of children in non-expert
    capacity and in doing so contribute to improving numeracy
  • To act as judges in projects and competitions e.g. enterprise or environment schemes
  • Think about taking on the role of a school governor

Every volunteer signed up has committed to providing at least one hour once a year to a state school in their area. How the volunteering works in your school will be down to the conversation between the two parties as will the role they play in reading or numeracy. The school is responsible for managing and leading the process and discussing the programme requirements with the volunteers.

Talk to our Schools Manager, Charlotte, on 0203 206 0510 or email her at if you have any questions about how to register.

For more details on how Inspiring the Future volunteers can get involved with your primary school, and resources and hints for making a visit a success, click here.

Primary school case studies from 2014

The National Association of Headteachers has been working with the Primary Futures programme on regional pilots. The case studies below highlight the aims, experiences and outcomes of these primary schools around the country.

These classroom events aimed to link learning in school - especially literacy and numeracy - to the world of work, raise aspirations and break down job stereotypes.

Athersley South Primary School, Barnsley, Yorkshire

Cadland Primary School, Southampton, Hampshire

Carville Primary School, North Shields, Tyne and Wear

Hudson Road Primary School, Sunderland

Wigan Primary Futures pilot

Oak Meadow Primary School, Wolverhampton and photos from their school event.

South Cave CE Primary School, North Humberside

The South West pilot involved two primary schools in urban

Tipton Green Junior School, Sandwell, photo montage of their

Key Stages

Key Stage 1

Key Stage 2

Primary Futures Week letter to MPs

Here is our letter to all MPs inviting them to visit a primary school in their constituency as part of Primary Futures Week 2014.

Primary Futures letter to MPs


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Adventure Journalist
I am a writer, photographer and all-round adventurer. I have written for the likes of the Royal Geographical Society's 'Geographical' magazine and the esteemed international travel publication 'Hidden Europe' and my photography was recently shortlisted as a Finalist in the Travel Photographer of the Year Awards.
Aerospace Engineer
Winner of the 2010 Women in Science and Engineering Special Judges award for my commitment to inspiring young women into engineering.
Airline Captain
I have worked in the aviation industry all my life. I trained in the Royal Air Force and I have served with three major international airlines in UK and abroad. I was responsible for the training and integration of all crews under my command.
I'm an Architect and Director of the multinational design company Aedas. I manage an office of about 70 designers in the city of Manchester. We are involved in the design all types of buildings from schools, hospitals, large commercial buildings, and train stations etc.
Assistant Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
I support the Prime Minister on a range of policy issues. This includes providing advice, accompanying him on visits, and developing policy on his behalf.
Assistant Private Secretary to Leader of the House of Lords
I am a Fast Stream civil servant, currently seconded to the Cabinet Office working for the Leader of the House of Lords. I manage one other member of staff and help run Lord Strathclyde's office, dealing with Whitehall departments, peers and MPs on a daily basis.
I am a QC specialising in criminal defence and am a member of 25 Bedford Row in London; one of the premier criminal barristers chambers in the country.
Bridge Designer
I have spent my career designing bridges, of all shapes and sizes, in many parts of the world. I have been a director of a large consultancy, but my role has been mainly technical.
I am a Carpenter working for a Housing Association, I have been through an four year apprenticeship worked as a tradesman for 25 years and now for the last 3 years I have moved into management overseeing 13 tradesmen and am looking after the Apprentices on the trades side.
I am responsible for the strategic direction and overall management of the Company including, systems, processes, marketing, networking, training, quality and environmental management.
Chief Executive
I am Chief Executive of KC, the market leading telecommunications and internet service provider in East Yorkshire.
Consultant Neurosurgeon
I am a brain surgeon specialising in the removal of brain tumours and the treatment of pain and movement disorders using deep brain stimulation. I work in an NHS hospital.
Consulting Psychiatrist in Addictions
I work as a doctor and psychiatrist in a health team providing treatment for people of all ages who are seeking help for alcohol and drug problems.
Demolition Consultant
I advise people on how to demolish buildings, ships, oil rigs, bridges anywhere in the world, using machinery and explosives.
I am practising as a dentist at a busy NHS practice in Littleborough. My duties include providing care to patients with the support of my nurse and other members of the staff.
Detective Sergeant
I work in a busy ethnically diverse London borough and manage a team of 4 investigating incidents of violent crime (including serious assaults and arsons).
Diplomatic Service Officer
I'm a negotiator, a diplomat, and work to get the best deal for Britain. I've served in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over 10 years and have worked in Turkey, Afghanistan, the United Nations, the European Union and for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry
Director of Political and Social Research
I am responsible for all the political and social polls that are produced by YouGov. Everything from voting intention to which sauce people like on their bacon sandwich. In addition I appear regularly in the media as a commentator on public opinion.
Director of Strategy & Public Relations
I am responsible for both engaging with the media for my organisation and developing a UK Strategy to address the reputational issues facing the financial services industry.
I am an Assistant Economist, working for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. I conduct analysis to help develop and evaluate Government policies.
I am the editor of Soundsphere magazine / which covers alternative music and art in the North of England and worldwide.
Electrical Engineer
I am an Electrical Engineer Designing the services and providing the Electrical Infrastructure to provide and control electricity to a new building or industry.
I am a state school educated former Investment Banker (Mergers and Acquisitions at UBS) who set up one of the UK's few successful biotech companies, Stabilitech, whose technology allows vaccines to work at room temperature.
Executive Chef
I am a Private Chef working for clients in house. I also work for large corporations in an advisory and sometimes hands on demonstration situations usually for advertising. I also am a food historian and work on TV and Film productions producing authentic period foods.
Executive Creative Director
I work in a communications agency, creating advertising and marketing on behalf of healthcare clients. My job has two main functions; to help run the company and to ensure that the quality of the ideas we create for our clients are of a high and inspiring standard.
Film Publicity Manager
I am responsible for strategic management of film publicity campaigns and premieres. I manage 4 staff permanently and up to 30 internal staff and 50 external staff from around the world on the red carpet, as well as up to 200 international press at any one time.
Freelance Wildlife and Documentary Cameraman
I work freelance as a cameraman on series like Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Operation Iceberg etc.
General Practitioner
I am a salaried general practitioner working part time in a practice of 10 doctors. I teach medical students and doctors training to be GP's and also run a study group.
Head of Digital Communications
I lead on digital marketing and communications for a Government department, using websites and social media.
I am a hydrogeologist for a large infrastructures company. I work on all types of projects which relate to groundwater, well, boreholes, aquifers, pumps and so on.
I produce artwork/ Illustrations for National Newspapers and magazines – inc The Guardian/ The Telegraph/ BBC World Wide/ The Economist.
Investment Banker
I work within the Corporate Finance business in Dubai and currently on a 1 year contract in London setting up a GBP 100M Unemployment fund to help address rising youth unemployment.
Manufacturing Manager
I am responsible for running a manufacturing and assembly plant. I recruit for and manage the company apprenticeship programme of around 15 apprentices.
Materials Engineer
I provide forging and casting technical support for suppliers of Titanium and Nickel superalloy parts for aerospace engines. I also advise on new possibilities for materials and manufacturing routes.
Member of Parliament
I represent the 70,000+ residents of East Dunbartonshire in the House of Commons. In addition to scrutinising legislation, asking questions and campaigning to improve my constituency as an MP, I am also Deputy Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister.
Ocean Rower
I am the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. I use my adventures to raise awareness of environmental issues.
I diagnose and treat patients with a number of conditions mostly around the muscular and skeletal systems. I combine this career with working as a marketing co-ordinator at a large university.
I run my own company providing commercial photography, web and interactive design. I have worked in the creative industry in a number of companies for over 20 years.
Political Correspondent
I'm a political correspondent at the Guardian. I have spent 18 years doing political journalism for newspapers, but now I mostly write a political blog.
Principal Design Engineer
I apply mathematics to the construction of hardware for smartphones and mobile devices. I manage 4 people and am doing a full time industrial PhD as well as working full time.
I'm the Publisher at an independent publishing company of around 30 people. My job is partly about connecting ideas with authors and then making books happen.
Research Scientist
I am a planetary science researcher, working to understand Mars by building instruments to look at its atmosphere.
Senior Broadcast Journalist
I find and choose the news stories you get to watch, read and listen to. I write the words presenters read and choose the pictures you see. I have travelled extensively overseas, sometimes working in disaster areas like Japan.
I am corporate lawyer for an international law firm. I specialise in mergers and acquistions: essentially I assist with the sale and purchase of companies and businesses.
Sound Recordist
I am responsible for recording high quality location sound on film and television productions. I also work as a staff writer for a high-traffic online film news site.
Speech and Language Therapist
I provide speech and language therapy for a small caseload of children, who have had an acquired brain injury, as part of their placement of intensive neurorehabilitation.
Technical Evangelist
I am a technical evangelist at the world's largest software company. It's my job to inspire young people to do amazing things with technology, and show that a career in technology is attainable by all.
I am a technology strategist in the team which looks after technology for most of the TV-making parts of the BBC. We ensure that the BBC has the tools it needs to make great content and operate its business.
Travel Writer
I travel worldwide and write guidebooks and travel features. I'm multilingual and use my languages on a weekly or monthly basis.
Vice President
I am part of a five person team that supports asset finance transactions globally. My job is to understand a proposed transaction and then liaise with all stakeholders (credit, risk, legal, equipment, etc.) to structure and execute it.

We have people doing the following jobs: