Challenging stereotypes

John Peet, Deputy Headteacher at Cheadle Hulme High School, recently ran an event to help challenge stereotypes.

Originally intending to get girls interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM), the career speed networking event ended up being so much bigger.  It received such a good response that it was widened to ‘Challenging Stereotypes’.

How do you incorporate employer engagement and careers education into your students’ learning?

We try to be explicit with the students.  We have one-off events like the ‘Challenge Stereotypes’ event, but these are part of a bigger scheme that is holistically viewed over seven years (from age 11 to 18).  Therefore, we can prepare the students for the one-off events through introduction assemblies.

We can enhance the links to learning by preparing teachers to make references to the stand alone events in their lessons.  Furthermore, we make contact with our students’ parents so that they know what is being offered and how they can make the most of this through conversations at home.

What impact were you looking for by running this event?

Our aim was to broaden horizons in terms of subject choices and the range of opportunities in the world of work.  We have noticed a narrowing of choices post-16.  Science and maths, for example, are really popular and we haven’t got a problem with uptake on these subjects.

What is missing is an understanding that you do not have to take STEM subjects to be able to work within a STEM field.  For example, there are any number of HR roles within STEM companies that can be accessed via non-STEM subjects.  We are also really keen to impress the importance of networking on our students.

How was the event received by your students?

The students were very positive.  They reported that they recognised the importance of hearing from different people from different careers.  The nicest part was that they were clearly appreciative of the time that all the volunteers had taken to come to the event.  We have had a number of students make contact with the companies that they came into contact with to find out more information.

The students said that they enjoyed the event and that it had broadened their horizons, introducing them to something that they had not heard about or seen before.

What are the benefits of using our online platform?

The online platform means that you are talking to a captive audience who, by definition, are willing to work with you.  It allows you to target requests and open your event to volunteers that you would otherwise have no idea were available.  Furthermore, the online platform allows you to keep track of replies that can otherwise become confusing and lost in an email trail.

A huge thank you to John for sharing your school’s story with us.

If you would like to organise a similar event for your school, register with Inspiring the Future to start inviting volunteers and to have access to loads of resources to help you plan for your event.

Alternatively, you can contact us by emailing