On 7th January 2021, children from Years 1 to 6 at Bentley High Street Primary School in Doncaster took part in a virtual ‘What’s My Line?’ assembly. Despite school lockdown restrictions being announced just two days before the activity, the teacher was still keen for it to go ahead and so children were able to join from home and in school.
The headteacher wanted to highlight jobs that were accessible within their community context, and she is hoping to embed careers progression within the school. The activity allowed the children to meet interesting role models from a variety of backgrounds, and although it was a virtual event, the teacher was able to connect with volunteers who were local to Doncaster.
The three volunteers were a Police Inspector, a Flights Standards Officer and a Managing Director within the Builders Merchants and construction industry. The children asked the volunteers insightful yes-no questions to try and guess their jobs, including: “do you use a computer?”, “do you work in healthcare?”, “do you help people?”, “is your job highly pressured?”. The children correctly guessed the policewoman’s job, guessed that the Flight Standards Officer was a pilot and that the third volunteer ran a business and worked in building!
When talking about their jobs, each of the volunteers made references local to the children – detailing their experiences working in a Bentley police station, at the Finningley Air Show and with suppliers in Doncaster. After listening to the volunteers, the children asked them follow up questions: “what is the hardest part of your job?”, “how has Covid affected your business?”, “has anything gone wrong in an air show and what do you do?”
A recurring theme from each of the volunteers was that an important part of their job was to look after people’s wellbeing and to keep people safe, be that employees or the public. While this was a really important responsibility, they also told the children that they had fun in their jobs.
Headteacher Rebecca Austwick commented, “We were very fortunate to be able to have Primary Futures lead a What’s My Line assembly at our school. The careers featured were engaging and perfectly matched to our context. Despite children accessing this remotely, pupils were hooked and inspired. They were given first hand insight into varied careers and industries and were given the time to explore this in a supportive, fun forum.
The volunteers were knowledgeable and help to inspire pupil’s engagement. Feedback has been excellent and this has been from parents too who were also able to watch alongside their children at home. The assembly has inspired further learning and has energised the ambition of some of our hard-to-reach pupils.”