Local volunteers needed to help launch new initiative to widen children’s horizons in Wakefield

18 December 2017

An innovative approach to helping schools raise the aspirations of primary age children with regards to their futures and boosting social mobility is being pioneered in Wakefield with a series of inspirational events and activities taking place in 14 primary and infant schools across the city in spring 2018. Schools and volunteers from the world of work working in partnership are a powerful force for change!

The exciting new initiative, ‘Inspiring Wakefield’, will be launched on 13th February 2018 at Ossett South Parade Primary School and is designed to raise and broaden the aspirations of children helping them to achieve their full potential, provide a clear link between their learning in school and their futures whilst providing them with a better understanding of the many opportunities open to them.

The intention is that the Wakefield model will form a blueprint for other parts of the country to follow.

Schools already signed up to take part:

Ossett South Parade Primary

Flanshaw Junior Infant and Nursery School

The Mount Junior Infant and Nursery School

Park Junior Academy

Wheldon Infant School and Nursery

Half Acres Primary School

Pinders Primary School

Lawefield Primary

Grove Lea Primary School

Altofts Junior School

Normanton Junior School

Streethouse Primary

Glasshoughton Infant Academy


For primary age children, volunteers from the world of work can help bring learning to life, help them to see the relevance of their learning and how this opens up possibilities for them in later life. Volunteers can also play a key role in providing children with positive role models and tackling stereotyping around both gender and ethnicity that often starts in primary school.

The NAHT, in partnership with the charity Education and Employers, ran a pilot in 2014 that looked at inviting volunteers into primary schools to share their journey through school and into the world of work. The project started in a number of schools including a primary school in Barnsley, situated in the middle of one of Europe’s largest council estates and a former mining community. The impact on many of the children in terms of changing attitudes and raising achievement soon became apparent. The pilot, initially run by NAHT Past President Steve Iredale at his school, has now developed into a national scheme  ‘Primary Futures’ which has already seen over 3200 primary schools register and become involved. The project uses the innovative matchmaking technology ‘Inspiring the Future’ which connects volunteers with schools nationally. Over 39,000 people have so far volunteered from all walks of life - apprentices to CEOs, from all sectors- archaeology to zoology, and in all parts of the country. It is a model that has also attracted international interest and has been replicated from Australia to China! Primary Futures was also referenced recently in the long awaited governments Careers Strategy ………. ‘Excellent programmes like Primary Futures give primary schools access to a wide range of professionals’

Tracey Lake, headteacher at Wheldon Infant School and Nursery who is coordinating the project locally commented ‘It’s fantastic to be involved with such an exciting opportunity to help to raise the aspirations of children in our city. Primary Futures is a really brilliant way to invite willing volunteers into our schools to share their life journeys and to help to encourage the children to aim high and to chase their dreams. The response from local schools, the council and local authority has already been so positive as we all work together to make this happen.  Now we need to find ways to invite more of our local workforce to register as volunteers so together we can inspire the next generation ’

The series of school led events in Wakefield not only aims to inspire the children but also to encourage more local people to volunteer and to see more schools inviting volunteers to inspire their children via the free national Inspiring the Future service, which connects schools and volunteers.

Local employers and volunteers interested in being part of this exciting initiative can sign up on the website call 0207 566 4880 or contact any of the names below for more information.

Media contacts:

Tracey Lake - Headteacher, Wheldon Infants and Nursery School – 01977 553528

Steve Iredale - NAHT Primary Futures manager -

Victoria York -

Gillian Wallace- Wakefield Council