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Five North East primary schools recognised for outstanding careers guidance

Five North East primary schools have been recognised for the standard of the careers guidance they provide for their pupils.

Cleadon Academy in Sunderland; Fellside Community Primary School in Whickham; Lingey House Primary School in Felling; and Bothal Primary School and Central Primary School, both in Ashington, have all been awarded the Career Mark Primary accreditation.

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP), said: “All five schools were already leading the way in careers guidance for younger children, as part of our pilot project to adapt the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks for primary-aged pupils.

“This recognition of their determination to deliver high quality careers guidance, and help raise the aspirations of children in our region, is wonderful to see.”

The Good Career Guidance Benchmarks help schools to place employer engagement at the heart of the curriculum, helping children and young people to make informed decisions about their futures. The primary school pilot project involves helping children learn about their options from an early age.

At Bothal and Central Primary Schools in Ashington, Northumberland, pupils have access to spaces like the Primary Engineers Room and a Technology Suite which give them a taste of careers in a range of sectors.

Executive Headteacher, Andy Roberts, explained: “We create a world that children can enter and feel that they’re working towards their own futures. Something to support their ambitions and plant seeds about what they might want to do in the future.”

Fellside Primary in Whickham has linked careers to its school values and all areas of the curriculum. Ruth Thornber, Careers Leader said: “There’s a buzz amongst the pupils, especially after they learn about a new opportunity, like when Siemens came and talked to them about wind turbines and demonstrated the roles available in the company, when we had visits from apprentices, or when our Year 6 pupils experienced a day at Nissan. It really does make our pupils stop and think about what they enjoy, what skills they have and what they could do.”

And at Cleadon Academy in Sunderland, Vice Principal Gary Scott has worked with his team to reshape the school’s previous careers offer, creating a new framework which makes sure that children in every year get the opportunity to learn about their future options through contact with a range of employers and education providers, from the fire brigade to Sunderland University.

“We were identified along with four other schools to receive the Career Mark Primary accreditation. Not many schools have it and we wanted to celebrate what we’ve done.

The assessor came in and was blown away. Watching our pupils talking to him – our reception children talking about careers, what their parents do, and what they want to do themselves - was amazing to see. And talking to year six, they knew what they wanted to do and the route to get there. It was pretty mesmerising,” said Gary.

Gary Longden, who conducted the Career Mark assessments in the five schools, commented: “In talking with the pupils on my visits I was impressed not so much by their knowledge of the world of work, which was outstanding, but by the joy in which they talked about their world of work activities and their optimism about their working future.  

“All five schools are to be commended for their commitment to this area of work. Their high quality programmes are innovative, tailored to the needs of their community, inspirational and effective. They provide a beacon for others to follow and they raise the standard for what primary schools can deliver in this curriculum area.”

Find out more about the North East LEP’s work to support schools in the region at