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Introducing a curriculum focused on aspirations and careers

Introducing a curriculum focused on aspirations and careers

In 2016, Fulwell Junior School held a one-off Careers Week for its pupils. By September 2019, this had grown and developed to become a fully embedded part of the school’s weekly curriculum.

Using feedback gathered from local employers, colleges and universities alongside local labour market information, the school had identified three areas which were ripe for further development in its pupils: communication, critical thinking and aspiration. 

In order to address these areas, a bespoke curriculum was introduced for years 3 to 6, with dedicated time each week, in the form of ‘Faculty Fridays’. 

The aim of the new curriculum is to give pupils a clear understanding of the broader skills and knowledge that employers are looking for, enable them to develop and use these skills to enhance their work in and out of school, and establish a strong foundation for future aspirational pathways.

Each term focuses on one of the three areas of development – communication, critical thinking and aspiration – which are then embedded into the wider curriculum. As part of the continuing drive to raise pupils’ aspirations, a Further Education-style framework has been adopted, using elements and language relating to university and college life.

Impact beyond the school gates 

“We are already beginning to see significant impact on pupils’ ability to communicate more effectively,” said Lucy Hill, Deputy Headteacher at Fulwell Junior School. 

“In a recent Faculty Friday session dedicated to pupils delivering a one-minute presentation on a topic of their choice, we observed improved engagement and confidence in the task, which is supported by teachers’ assessments.”

“We are delighted that the impact of this curriculum is beginning to permeate beyond the school gates, with a Year 6 pupil gaining her first Guides badge - ‘Personal Brand’ - where she was required to deliver a presentation about herself. She accredited this to her increased confidence and skill in communication developed through our Faculty Fridays.”

Three top tips for success:
•    Make it a whole-school initiative, driven by the senior leadership team
•    Allow dedicated time to deliver and embed skills
•    Ensure consistency across each year group in terms of expectations and outcomes

Biggest challenges:
Time, which is always a critical factor in a primary school. However, senior leaders driving and developing this initiative from the top demonstrates a commitment and valuing of these essential life skills and therefore an afternoon a week is dedicated to the programme.  

What next?
As this is not a one off activity, the school is confident that this unique part of its curriculum will continue to develop and progress year on year and plans are underway to refine pupils’ progression in the three key areas of communication, critical thinking and aspiration.

For more information contact Lucy Hill on [email protected]