Speakers for Schools has long worked with Inspiring the Future to complement our programme of high-profile, inspiring figures who can help students hear from those influential figures shaping today. Offering volunteers from all levels of their careers and a range of industries, InspiringtheFuture.org connects state schools with volunteers to talk about their careers and offer careers activities, free of charge. Like us, their aim is to help improve connections to inspiring conversations with outside speakers and level the playing field.
We asked the Assistant Vice Principal of Castle View Academy, Emma McDermott to share her experiences of using Speakers for Schools and Inspiring the Future…
How did you work with Speakers for Schools?
“We have had the pleasure of hosting Speakers for Schools events this academic year. We have used speakers to support programmes with specific groups of students. For example, developing communication skills with year 8 and 9 students and as a motivational speakers for students in year 11. We have also used speakers to support curriculum areas through discussion of progression routes and careers linked to GCSE subjects.”
How did you work with Inspiring the Future?
“As part of our careers programme, we host weekly Careers Insight talks. Through Inspiring the Future, we have been able to access some fantastic speakers to support this element of our careers provision. This programme has been particularly beneficial in accessing speakers in careers which we have previously struggled to engage.
For example, a lot of our students have an interest in careers in health care and Inspiring the Future has provided us with a wider range of speakers from this sector including an obstetrician, a social worker, a paramedic, an intensive care consultant, a surgeon and an anaesthetist. Through these we have developed relationships which have led to ‘spin off’ activities including workplace visits, student workshops and subsequent speaker visits to support the delivery of lessons and activities within curriculum areas.”
What were the benefits of the programmes and how did they each help your students?
“The programmes have inspired our students and helped them to gain an understanding of a wider range of careers. They have also helped students apply their classroom learning to the world of work. The quality of the sessions has also improved attendance at the Careers Insight talks which are run on a voluntary basis.
The programmes have also benefited our staff with guest speakers returning to support teachers in the delivery of their curriculum. For example, our guest obstetrician delivered a session to GCSE Child Development as part of their revision programme and a series of CPR workshops were arranged by our intensive care guest speaker. Staff have also attended the careers talks to support their professional development.”
Did the programmes complement each other within your school’s setting and help with your wider strategic goals?
“Our aim at Castle View Enterprise Academy is for all students to achieve their personal best. In careers education, we support students in making well-informed decisions by providing access to information and guidance to help them to achieve their ambitions. Inspiring the Future and Speakers for Schools have been instrumental in supporting us to do this; through these programmes students have had the opportunity to hear inspirational career stories first-hand and think ‘I can do that’.. The programmes have helped us to achieve Gatsby Benchmark 5 as students have been provided with the opportunity for a meaningful encounter with an employee; Gatsby Benchmark 4 as speakers have worked within curriculum areas and Gatsby Benchmark 6 with opportunities for workplace visits.”
Why do you think it’s important to have external speakers come in and share their experiences with students?
“Many of our students do not have the personal networks to allow them to find out about the wide verity of careers that are available to them. We, as an Academy, therefore have a responsibility to help them to develop these networks and to support them to find out more about the world of work and the vast range of exciting opportunities available to them. Having external speakers come in to talk to them can ignite that spark of interest that the student never knew existed.
Through Inspiring the Future, curriculum areas have benefited as students have been able to ‘see the point’ of what they are learning in the classroom.
Speakers for Schools has helped to raise the aspirations of our students with the speakers reinforcing that they were ‘once like them’ and dispelled many myths about, for example, what type of student gets to Oxford, what type of person can become a Chief Executive.”
Many thanks to Emma for her support!
If you are a secondary school, academy or college that has high-need students without access to great speakers in media or beyond, then please get in touch today.
Our sister charity Inspiring the Future connects schools and colleges with appropriate volunteers from a range of sectors and professions that match their particular requirements.
Teachers register their school or college on the platform and can then search, select and invite people who best meet the needs of their students from a range of sectors, professions and experience.