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Primary World of Work – Ipswich

Ensuring the primary children can access a full range of career-related learning and world of work opportunities, aiming to raise aspirations of children, tackle gender stereotypes and give an insight into the careers for the future.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, School Teachers

Aimed at

KS1, KS2


Careers & Aspirations


Whole School

Why was the project needed?

As part of Suffolk County Council’s Raising the Bar initiative (2014-2017) the Council worked with a small number of primary schools to develop World of Work (WoW) days.  The Oaks Primary School were early adopters and particularly committed to this approach.  Following on from the first two years, where just one school worked with a handful of local employers, involving 30 students, to deliver a WoW session in the school, the model then expanded to work with seven primary schools, two feeder high schools and 20 employers.  This became known as the IP2 World of Work day.  (IP2 is a particularly disadvantaged area in Ipswich, noticeable for poor secondary school attainment, low progression to Higher Education and large number of pupils from disadvantaged and low socio-economic backgrounds). This event took place in the feeder secondary schools, thus aiding the transition process. Approximately 400 pupils were involved in this event, with over 30 employers as well as the local further and higher education providers.  This proved that leading by local example is an effective way of embedding good practice. 

What happened and what was the impact?

As a result of this success, Ipswich Opportunity Area, provided additional funding to roll out the model with primary schools in Ipswich.  From September 2018, a part time primary WoW co-ordinator has been in place supporting all schools to develop their own WoW day working within their clusters and their feeder schools.   

Take up has been very positive with over 20 schools highly engaged.  The Primary WoW co-ordinator is working with these schools to share experiences of the IP2 model, develop their own cluster WoW day and build their employer contacts to support the event.  This is done by utilising the team’s network of employers and connecting with organisations such as the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Careers Hub, Chamber of Commerce, DWP, Opportunity Area cornerstone employers, rate card providers, FE and HE organisations and STEM Learning.  

As this work has progressed, the Primary Gatsby benchmark has been developed as well as a baseline attitude survey for individual pupils to assess their feelings about work, work rules and career ideas before and after the WoW events.  

From 2020 schools are using the Skills Builder framework to assess and build on pupil’s key employability skills: listening, presenting, problem solving, creativity, team building, leadership, staying positive and aiming high. 

What did and didn't work?

The following options were offered to schools:

  • World of Work Day: a range of employers invited to carry out activities with children, hosted at pyramid high schools  
  • World of Work lessons: a series of lesson plans focusing on the world of work; a 5 week scheme of work with incorporation of employer visits where applicable.  
  • Primary Futures: a national programme enabling  schools to connect with local volunteer employers quickly and easily, revolutionising the way in which children get insights and inspiration about the world of work and their futures. 
  • STEM Learning: a focus on STEM and the career pathways and opportunities.  
  • Further and Higher Education experiences: taster days at local FE/HE institutes focusing on different subject areas and career pathways. 
  • Employer visits and sessions within schools: via assemblies, lessons and enrichment afternoons.


Employer engagement has been challenging at times, especially at the start of the project. This is something developed over the two years and has required a lot relationship building with local employers. For the future more links with New Anglia LEP would be useful with a shared database for Primary use also.

  • School / Teacher evaluations – A lot of focus has been on pupil perception and evaluation in the previous year, development of school/teacher evaluation is in place for the forthcoming year.  
  • Employer engagement – continue to gain more employers/professionals to work on the WOW project.  
  • Gatsby benchmark assessment trialled in a range of schools.  
  • Engage Primary schools – some schools have still not engaged with the project from the IOA.  
  • Uptake of paper-based evaluations has been good but will also look at options of computer-based evaluations.  

How did you measure success?

20 schools engaged with the WoW programme, equating to 70% of Primary schools within the Opportunity Area. In total 2130 children benefitted from the programme.



Ingredients For Success

We feel the right approach was taken for the project with the funding and time we had committed to this, all schools in the IOA were offered a place on the project, with most taking this up.   

More time give to the project would enhance and upscale the amount offered to schools. Although with two days a week the project has been successful, allocating more time to this project would give us a chance to further grow this and dedicate more time to this, resulting in more school involvement and upscaling activities that we offer in schools.  

How is the Project Sustainable

  • Development of Resources – lesson plans and evaluation tools 
  • Development of a culture of school and meaningful Employer Engagement by creating strong relationships, CPD and links with existing employer facing organisations and initiatives
  • Access to local Labour Market Information via icanbea site

Area Most Impacted

Careers and Aspirations

Next steps to do something similar yourself

These are a list of Big Idea resources that you can use to implement in your setting:

Primary Gatsby Benchmarks

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Social and Emotional Learning here

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