Aspiratio…..nope, we are ‘Developing Cultural/Social Capital’
I’m often told how valuable the work is here at Inspire2Learn to raise aspirations. On the surface, that is reasonably accurate but it actually belies the real impact that our work has. The vast majority of pupils that we work with have aspirations, a clear hope of what they might do in life. Yes there are many dreaming of playing Premiership football or packing out Wembley on a six night run but beneath that there are also lots of hopes that reach into a whole range of local careers. Today we had Y5 from Brambles attend a fantastic morning meeting people from a range of companies. Health Education England, PD Ports, EDF Energy, Sirius Minerals and Teesside University all hosted short presentations with around 15 children at a time to really get some close interaction between the children and the adults. We have a pretty strong indication from the growing research evidence, much of it over long periods of time, that these sorts of opportunities have a lasting impact on the pupils. That is what our events are really based on. Children may have aspirations but often they lack the belief that that could actually be something they could do, it feels a world away. Creating more awareness of what they could be doing in their future careers; giving them the opportunity to recognise the skills that they will need in the future through challenge based learning activities; making them aware of what jobs exist and on their doorstep…that is what will have a long term impact. The evidence form research is backing up what our experience of working with 40 000 odd pupils over the last few years has been telling us.
So no, we don’t ‘raise aspirations’ here.
We give pupils the belief that the world of work is something they can be part of, on their terms, if they work at it. Days like today are one part of a bigger jigsaw, but a vital one. One that helps children to expect to get a great job. Once you begin to expect that you will get a good job, it becomes the norm, that is what you will do and you will work towards it, even if the direction changes over time. Without knowing what even exists, how can we expect children to want and know that working hard opens up so many possibilities?
That is what today was about, developing a mindset that expects to get good things in life through effort. Judging by their feedback today, I think we had mission accomplished.