• Learn by Design

Derwent Primary School are 'Aiming Higher!'

Updated: Feb 18

The Our Future Derby programme

Learn by Design team joined Derwent primary school, Derby, to support their ‘Aiming Higher week’ last week; a career-related school project for all year groups to learn and experience the different career opportunities available within their community and the world of work.


Derwent Primary school is a selected primary school chosen for the Our Future Derby programme; a research programme dedicated to chosen primary schools in Derby, funded by the Department for Education Opportunity Area Programme. The programme’s aims are to help raise children's aspirations and open a world of greater possibilities to them, their families, and their teachers. With Learn by Design coordinating and delivering workshops to the schools, this is the opportunity for children to connect with local employers and learn about the many different and diverse jobs out there in Derby.


Throughout the time of this programme running, various workshops and engagement days are involved, including aspiration days.


The day

A school assembly kicked off the school day, which comprised of an introductory guessing game, also known as ‘What’s my line?’ assembly, which was then followed by an hour session including the following interactive activities:

> 20 minutes of questions and answers sessions with the volunteers exploring their aspirations and career journeys.

> 20 minutes of aspiration day activities (Shield of pride).

> 20 minutes of communication games.

The volunteers


We were thrilled to have employer volunteers who kindly dedicated some time and supported the session. (left to right):

• Graham Byers - Primary School Teacher and Union Secretary

James Jennison - Area Manager for Premier Education Group / Sports Coach

• Eric Belshaw - Retired Engineer/Navy Officer


What’s my line? assembly


For the introductory session, our volunteers sat at the front of the assembly and the children were asked to think of questions that they could put forward to the volunteer panel.


As the assembly room filled with excitement of a ‘game’ occurring, hands were raised to ask the first round of questions to guess what each of the volunteers do/did.

Some of the questions asked were:


Do you work?

Do you fix things?

Do you work as part of a team?

Do you work in different countries?

Are you an astronaut?

Are you a teacher?


After a selection of questions were asked, our volunteers left the room for the pupils be given the chance to narrow down their choices of exactly what they thought their job titles might be, before they re-entered the room to reveal all.


Aspiration Day sessions


Our first and second sessions of the morning were in Years 1 (before break time) and Years 2 (post break time) for their chance to take part in a 1-hour session to ask the volunteers any questions they would like to learn more about each of their job roles.

The enthusiasm of young people was clear to see and provided the ideal platform for the pupils to ask more questions, be inquisitive and delve deeper into possible careers.

Sample questions asked by Year 1 pupils:

For Graham: “Do you have to stay in the same job all the time?”

Response: “No - not at all! You can have as many jobs as you want to in your lifetime.”


For James: “What was your favourite subject in school?”

Response: PE! That was my favourite subject in school and it’s what I used for what I wanted to do in my job.


For James: “Why do you like teaching kids?”

Response: “For lots of reasons! They make me smile!”


Sample questions asked by Year 2 pupils:

For James: “How did you come to owning your own business?”

Response: “I want to America for 4 months to train and coach children, then after 10 months of being back in the UK I decided to start up my own business as a coach.”


For James: “Why did you chose to be a sports coach and not a footballer?”

Response: “The reason why I chose to be a sports coach was because I wasn’t good enough to play football as a professional.”


For Eric: “What was your favourite subject in school?”

Response: The best time to learn is now! I had to learn something that I was good at which was history, and that was my favourite subject.”


Sample questions asked by Year 4 pupils:

To all volunteers: “Have you had a memorable moment in your job?

Eric’s response: “Rescuing an owl in London!”

Graham’s response: “I remember coaching one of my first football teams and we won!”

James’ response: “Working with children brings lots of memorable moments, but the most memorable thing was how I got into my job when I went to America for 4 months.”


To all volunteers: “If you could change your job, what would you be?”

Eric’s response: “I would have wanted to be an astronaut!”

Graham’s response: “I can’t think what I would have liked to be.”

James’ response: “Something involving travelling.”


‘Shield of Pride’ activity


After the question and answer sessions, the pupils then took part in an activity called ‘Shield of pride’. The activity aimed at pupils reflecting on their own and fellow classmates achievements . Giving young people the chance to champion themselves and their peers raises aspirations and gives insight into their learning.


Communication and Observation games


The final 20 minutes of each session was led by a series of communication and observation games, facilitated by one of our Learn by Design staff member. These simple games were delivered to help illustrate how important soft skills are in the workforce.


Quotes from the day

We asked a selection of Year 4 pupils ‘what they enjoyed most about the day?’

Their answers:

Age 8 girl: “Talking about what jobs they volunteers had and learning new stuff.”
Age 9 girl: “Seeing all the people doing different jobs and what they do.”
Age 9 boy: “Guessing what their jobs would be in the assembly.”

A quote from one of the volunteers after the day:

James: “I think it’s really interesting to learn what children want to be when they grow up!”

Quotes from teachers:

“This is a great experience that has enabled the children to think positively about the world of work.” - Year 4 Teacher

“The children have got great value out of our aiming higher week and we’ve had numerous volunteers visit our school this week which has helped them see a vast range of opportunities for them.” - Year 6 Teacher

The additional workbooks


Following from these engagement days, all the pupils from Derwent have been doing additional work in their Personal, social and health education (P.S.H.E.) lessons.

With the focus on careers and related learning, the pupils have been looking into each of the different careers their volunteers do in greater detail, with some even becoming inspired to take on these careers for their future.


If you would like more information on volunteering at any of these future sessions please contact Darren Kimberly here


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