What Works? Career-related Learning In Primary Schools

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What works?Career-relatedlearning in primaryschoolsBy Dr. Elnaz Kashefpakdel, Jordan Rehill(Education and Employers) andDr. Deirdre Hughes OBE (DMH Associates)The Careers & Enterprise CompanyDecember 2018

ContentsAbout this paperIForewordIIIExecutive SummaryVLessons learned for practiceIV1. Introduction12. What does career-related learning inprimary schools look like?83. What impact does career-relatedlearning have in primary schools?124. Challenges195. Lessons for practice226. Developing the evidence base277. Conclusions288. References30

AcknowledgementsEducation and Employers would like to thank theschools and teachers that agreed to be interviewedfor this report. We would also like to thank Liz Reece,Anthony Barnes, Barbara McGowan, Susan Scurlock,Dr Julie Young, Andrew Moffatt, Luke Richardson andSteve Iredale for their invaluable contributions whichshaped the report and helped define what ‘success’should look like for primary schools providing careerrelated learning.We would also like to thank Max Haskins for hiscontribution to this project. His work on datacollection and analysis was a huge support to thecompletion of this study.

What works? Career-related learning in primary schoolscareersandenterprise.co.ukAbout this paperThis paper provides evidence of the benefits of career-relatedlearning (CRL) for children in primary school. The term 'careerrelated learning' includes early childhood activities in primaryschools designed to give children from an early age a wide rangeof experiences of, and exposure to, education, transitions andthe world of work. The research compiles evidence on thecareer-related learning of primary aged children’s decisions,aspirations and attitudes. In doing so this paper maps keyactions being taken by primary schools to support children’stransitions to secondary school and beyond. It considers howprimary schools approach career-related learning and offersguidancon evidence-based practice.The paper draws evidence from academic and ‘grey’ literature(such as programme evaluation reports and policy papers),and interviews with primary teachers and leading experts.It aims to clarify the impact that can be expected for childrentaking part in career-related learning activities. The paperhighlights lessons that can be drawn from the existing evidenceso that children and schools can be effectively supported whenembarking on a programme of career-related learning.While the literature firmly places childhood at the centre ofcareer development, early childhood career-related learning isrelatively under-researched. By synthesising current literature,alongside new and emerging evidence from teachers and otherleading experts, this paper sets out to critically assess careerrelated learning in primary schools in order to better understandand support evidence-based practice.It is hoped the findings will help to inform policy, research andpractice, outlining how primary schools and their partners canfurther strengthen career-related learning both within andoutside of the classroom.I

What works? Career-related learning in primary schoolscareersandenterprise.co.ukForewordWe were delighted to have been commissioned by the Careers &Enterprise Company to write ‘What Works? Career-related learningin primary’ which builds on the research we and the NationalAssociation of Head Teachers (NAHT) have done over the last 5years. It is great now to see the level of interest and enthusiasm forcareer-related learning at primary by a range of organisations andpolicy makers. As you see in this report, the evidence is clear - thatexposing children to the world of work has a significant impact ontheir aspirations, motivation and confidence. It helps broaden theirhorizons, challenge stereotypes and gives them the opportunity toconnect their learning with their future.Nick Chambers, CEO, Education and EmployersThe importance of appropriate exposure to the world of work atprimary level cannot be understated. Children form stereotypicalviews of the world from an early age. Biased assumptions lead to anarrowing of career aspirations and an inability to relate learningto a world beyond school. I am delighted that a real interest inproviding support to younger children is developing. But that supportmust be sensitive to the needs of children as young as 5. ‘What Works?Career-related learning in primary’ further develops the work of theNAHT and the charity Education and Employers, showing that anearly and fully inclusive start, supported by good leadership withthe involvement of external organisations, works. Embedding youractivity within the curriculum will support learning outcomes too.Paul Whiteman, General Secretary, NAHTII

Ignoring the processof career developmentoccurring in childhoodis similar to a gardenerdisregarding the qualityof the soil in which agarden will be planted.11. Niles, S. G., and Harris-Bowlsbey, J. (2017). Career Development Interventions. (5th ed.). Toronto: Pearson.

What works? Career-related learning in primary schoolscareersandenterprise.co.ukIVExecutive SummaryCareer-related learning in primary schools is abouthelping children to understand who they could becomeand helping them to develop a healthy sense of selfthat will enable them to reach their full potential.1 Earlyinterventions can bring a lasting impact on children’sdevelopment and perceptions of different occupations,and of the subjects enabling access to them.Starting career education early is important.As longitudinal studies have shown, holding biasedassumptions and having narrow aspirations caninfluence the academic effort children exert in certainlessons, the subjects they choose to study, and thejobs they end up pursuing. Research has also shownthat the jobs children aspire to may be ones thattheir parents do, or those of their parents' friends,or that they see on the TV and/or social media. Lowexpectations are often shaped by biases or commonlyaccepted stereotypes, such as ‘science isn’t for girls’ or‘university isn’t for the working classes’. These societalexpectations act to restrict children’s futures by limitingwhat they believe they can do.In this report we refer to ‘career-related learning’ (CRL)which includes early childhood activities in primaryschools designed to give children from an early agea wide range of experiences of and exposure toeducation, transitions and the world of work.Career-related learning encompasses activities thatinvolve: employers’ raising aspirations and broadeningchildrens’ horizons (through careers insights and‘what’s my job’ events etc) and careers in the curriculum(through topic-based activities, discrete lessons and/or themed weeks) designed to motivate children, togive them self-belief and to connect learning to life.Also, this includes children learning to improve theirnon-academic skills (i.e. activities often based inthe curriculum but geared more towards improvingenterprise and life skills, financial awareness, socioemotional skills and behaviours).There are a small number of robust evaluations thatuse a variety of controls to measure the associationbetween primary activities and certain outcomes;however, most evidence in this sphere is basedon qualitative evidence or small-scale evaluations.Additionally, it must be noted that the literature isparticularly weak on the comparative value of differentcareer-related learning activities for different keystages. More large-scale evaluations are neededto draw out career-related learning activities andprogrammes that have an observable, consistent andreplicable impact on children.Since its inception, The Careers & Enterprise Companyhas focused on the effectiveness of different careersand enterprise activities and, in doing so, helpedschools, employers, careers and enterprise providersto use evidence to shape their work in preparing andinspiring young people for the world of work. To date,the overwhelming focus of the ‘What Works’ serieshas been on secondary and further education.This review assesses the evidence base for careerrelated learning activities and programmes in theprimary school phase, in the hope of providing reliableinsights for practitioners.

What works? Career-related learning in primary schoolscareersandenterprise.co.ukLessons learnedfor practiceThe evidence included in this review helps provide arange of key insights for practice, as discussed below.Successful leadershipEvidence shows that positive impacts from careerrelated learning are greater when a consistent andwhole school strategy is in place.Start earlyThe literature has shown that perceptions about thesuitability of different sectors and career paths areembedded in the minds of children from an early age.It is therefore important that career-related learningstarts as early as age 5.Ensure activities are age dependantMake this open to allCareer-related learning in this phase should notbe targeted at a particular group or groups(for example; girls, disengaged learners or highachievers) – instead it should be offered universallyto all pupils in primary schools.Embed career-related learning in thecurriculumSchools and senior leaders should make therelationship between career-related learning and theaims and ethos of the school explicit, thereby ensuringbuy-in from curriculum staff, subject leaders and thesenior leadership team.Involve external organisations and employersIt is important that the person imparting knowledgeabout jobs and careers brings real-life, authenticexperience of the workplace. When employersengage with children, they are perceived as havingreal authority and authenticity. Local schools shouldalso focus on sharing best practice and signpostingother schools in their network to organisationsand programmes that can support the delivery of aconsistent career-related programme. The evidencesuggests that being able to draw on online and offlinebrokerage services can help to formalise connectionsto employers and give teachers the ability to invitevolunteers from a wide range of backgrounds.There is evidence to suggest that primary careerrelated activities are most effective when they areplanned, delivered and adapted depending on theage group.V

What works? Career-related learning in primary schools1careersandenterprise.co.ukIntroductionWhy is career-related learning inprimary schools important?The concept of careers and careerrelated learning in the primaryschool phase typically provokes acautious reaction. Terms such as‘careers learning’, ‘careers education’or ‘careers lessons’ are oftenconflated with careers guidancewhich is often understood to befocused on careers choice. Manyparents and teachers have concernsabout directing children towardsa particular career or job at a timewhen their aspirations should,rightly, be tentative.2In a recent article published by Education andEmployers, a review of research in the past 5 yearshas highlighted the importance of career-relatedlearning in primary and why it is crucial to intervenein primary but with the aim of raising aspirations andbroadening horizons.3 Practitioners are often fearfulof making children ‘grow up too fast’ at such a youngage. Yet, many education and career developmenttheorists highlight the formative years of childhoodas integral to the overall understanding of the self(‘who am I?’) and opportunity awareness (‘whatdoes the world of work look like?’). It appears thatchildren begin to understand the world, and theirroles within it, from a younger age than previouslythought.4 5 6 Gottfredson highlights that a child’scareer thoughts and decisions during this periodinvolve elimination; by certain ages children begineliminating potential careers, jobs and interests basedon who they perceive themselves to be.7 As a result,children may limit their educational and occupationalchoices at a time when their views are too narrow andexperiences too limited to make a sound judgement.The work of education, psychology, sociology andcareer development theorists converges around a viewthat career-related learning at a primary school phaseshould emphasise career exploration over makingconcrete decisions.8 9 It should not be designed in away that allows children to make premature choicesover future careers; rather it should be a process thatencourages children to broadly consider a multitude ofoptions that are available, and to not restrict or limitpossibilities for their future aspirations.6 7 102. Chambers, N. (2018). Primary career education should be broaden children's horizons. Available from: should-broaden-childrens-horizons [accessed 30/11/2018]3. Education and Employers. (2018). Starting early - the importance of career-related learning in primary school. Available from ed-primary/ [accessed 30/11/2018]4. For example, Super, D.E. (1990). A life-span, life-space approach to career development. In Brown, D., and Brooks, L. (Eds.) Career Choice and Development. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, pp.22-35.5. Bandura, A., Barbaranelli, C., Caprara, G. V., and Pastorelli, C. (2001). Self‐efficacy beliefs as shapers of children’s aspirations and career trajectories. Child Development, 72(2), 187–206.6. Gutman, L. and Akerman, R. (2008). Determinants of Aspirations. London: Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning.7. Gottfredson, L. S. (2002). Gottfredson’s theory of circumscription, compromise, and self creation. In Brown, D., and Brooks, L. (Eds.) Career Choice and Development. San Francisco, CA: Jossey‐Bass, pp. 85‐148.8. Sultana, R.G. (2014). Rousseau’s chains: Striving for greater social justice through emancipatory career guidance. Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling, 33(1), 15–23.9. McMahon, M., & Watson, M. (2017).Telling stories of childhood career development. In McMahon, M., & Watson, M. (eds.) Career Exploration and Development in Childhood: Perspectives from Theory, Practice and Research. Abingdon:Routledge, pp.1-8.10. Herr, E. L., Cramer, S. H., and Niles, S. G. (2004). Career Guidance and Counseling Through the Lifespan: Systematic Approaches (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.1

What works? Career-related learning in primary schoolsRobust longitudinal studies have shown that havingnarrow occupational expectations and aspirationscan, and do, go on to influence the academic effortchildren exert in certain lessons,11 the subjectsthey choose to study,12 13 and the jobs they end uppursuing.14 15 Research has also shown that the jobschildren aspire to may be ones that their parentsdo, their parents' friends do or that they see on theTV and/or social media.16 Career-related learning inprimary schools is about helping children understandwho they could become and helping them developa healthy sense of self that will enable them toreach their full potential. Early interventions canbring a lasting impact on children’s developmentand perceptions of different occupations, and of thesubjects enabling access to them.careersandenterprise.co.ukGottfredson (2001)Age 6–8: Children grasp the concept of a set ofbehaviours belonging to each sex and thereforebegin seeing jobs and future pathways asintrinsically gendered.Age 9–13: Children begin to see their socialvalue based on perceptions of social class andintelligence. By this age children abandon ‘fantasy’careers associated with the very young and startto become more aware of potential constraints ontheir futures.6The concept of identity capital, first conceptualised byCote, is a useful theoretical framework to understandhow career-related learning in primary schooling works.17It refers to various resources and personality traitsand/or strengths needed to understand and negotiatepersonal obstacles and opportunities for childrenas they grow up. Identity capital includes having anexpansive social network, financial support, self-efficacy,motivation, adaptability and resilience. Career-relatedlearning can be seen as a mechanism that informs andsupports a child to develop their sense of self and away of developing a positive and meaningful identity.Childhood experiences are grounded in the constructionof identity; observations of attitudes towards workwithin families, cultural stereotypes, and examples inthe media may influence children’s understanding ofwork and the range of pathways to the future and,in turn, their occupational identities.1811. Flouri, E. and Pangouria, C. (2012). Do Primary School Children’s Career Aspirations Matter? The Relationship Between Family Poverty, Career Aspirations and Emotional and Behavioural Problems. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.12. Kelly, P. (2004). Children’s experiences of mathematics. Research in Mathematics Education, 6(1), 37-57.13. Archer, L., Osbourne, J., DeWitt, J., Dillon, J. & Wong, B. (2013). ASPIRES: Young People’s Science and Career Aspirations, Age 10-14. London: King’s College.14. Akerlof, G. A., and Kranton, R. E. (2000). Economics and identity. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(3), 715-753.15. Breen, R., and Garcia-Penalosa, C. (2002). Bayesian learning and gender segregation. Journal of Labor Economics, 20(4), 899–922.16. Chambers, N., Rehill, J., Kashefpakdel, E.T., and Percy, C. (2018). Drawing the Future: Exploring the Career Aspirations of Primary School Children from Around the World. London: Education and Employers17. Côté, J. E. (1997). An empirical test of the identity capital model. Journal of Adolescence 20(5), 577-597.18. Skorikov, V. B., and Vondracek, F. W. (2011). Occupational identity. In Schwartz, S.J., K. Luyckx, K., and Vignoles, V. (Eds.), Handbook of Identity Theory and Research. New York, NY, US: Springer Science and Business Media, pp.693-714.2

What works? Career-related learning in primary schoolsAs a consequence, primary school teachers and leadersplay a vital role when it comes to improving socialmobility. By challenging stereotypical views aboutcertain jobs and careers via various forms of careerrelated learning, they can broaden the horizons forchildren and change perceptions about what they canand cannot pursue.19While raising aspirations is an undoubtedly worthy goalof any career-related learning programme, a narrowfocus on this, risks distracting from the underlyingstructural challenges and obstacles children face.Simply asking children to raise their aspirations canbe perceived as shifting the burden of overcomingdisadvantage onto the children themselves. Children’sconceptions20 of who they are and what they couldbe are products of their wider socio-economicsurroundings: influenced by social capital (who theirfamilies and friends are) and cultural capital (what theyconsider a reasonable and possible future to be).careersandenterprise.co.uk3DefinitionsCareer development is a maturation process that beginsvery early in life. It refers to the ongoing process of aperson managing their life, learning and work. It involvesdeveloping skills and knowledge that not only equipchildren for the next stage of their lives, but also enablesthem to plan and make informed decisions abouteducation, training and career choices.The wider literature, evidence from interviews withprimary school leaders, and interviews with experts inthis field, suggest that career-related learning in primaryschools is effective in developing knowledge about workby exploring a number of careers, learning pathways andsectors. Literature also suggests that it can be effectivein developing knowledge, skills and attitudes for workand life. Specifically, developing non-academic skillssuch as enterprise skills, financial awareness and socialemotional skills and behaviours, can benefit individuals’well-being and the well-being of others. The evidencesuggests that these activities are also useful in engagingparents and carers.Many teachers in primary schools are aware of theimportance of expanding each child’s understanding ofthe work that adults do and of challenging their attitudesabout gendered work roles. We have used the phrase'career-related learning' as it includes early childhoodactivities in primary schools designed to give childrenfrom an early age a wide range of experiences of, andexposure to education, transitions and the world ofwork. It also aligns with the terminology used in existingliterature and guidelines21 and was confirmed throughinterviews with schools involved in this research.19. Howard, K. A., Kimberly, A. S., Flanagan, S., Castine, E., and Walsh, M. E. (2015). Perceived Influences on the Career Choices of Children and Youth: An exploratory study, International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 15(2), pp.99-111.20. Francis, B. (2010). Gender, toys and learning. Oxford Review of Education, 36(3), 325-344.21. Career Development Institute. (2012). A Framework for Careers and Work-Related Education. London: CDI.

What works? Career-related learning in primary schoolsCareer-related learning is not about askingeight-year olds what they want to do inthe future - children must be allowedtheir childhood It is work that builds onchildren’s growing awareness of themselvesand the world of work, and weaves whatthey know into useful learning for now andlater (p.13).22careersandenterprise.co.uk4Historically, policy-makers, schools and awardingbodies have used a number of terms to describeactivities or coordinated programmes that worktowards similar outcomes as ‘career-related learning’.Examples include: Work-related learning: ‘planned activity that usesthe context of work to develop knowledge, skills andunderstanding useful in work, including learningthrough the experience of work and working practicesand learning the skills for work’ (p. 3).23 Career learning: ‘helps young people develop theknowledge, understanding and skills they need to makesuccessful choices and manage transitions in learningand work. (p.4).24There are other words that feature in the academicliterature such as: career adaptability; career awareness;career construction; career dialogue; career education;career exploration; employability; entrepreneurship;occupational interests; work-related learning, careerdevelopment and so on. It is recognised that thereis no consistency in terminology as this is a multidisciplinary subject spanning education, developmentalpsychology, human resources, sociology and lifecourse approaches. Despite an appetite for using theterm ‘career education’ amongst some academics, thiswas contested by primary school teachers and seniorleaders who participated in the study. Their preferencewas to focus on career-related learning (CRL) to reflectmore accurately on how teachers in the classroomembed careers activities in a wide range of curriculumsubject areas.22. Watts, A.G. (2002). Connexions: Genesis, diagnosis, prognosis. In Collin, A., and Roberts, K. Career Guidance: Constructing the Future. Stourbridge: Institute of Career Guidance, pp.150-172.23. Crause E., Watson, M., and McMahon, M. (2017). Career development learning in childhood: Theory, research, policy and practice. In McMahon, M., and Watson, M. (Eds.) Career Exploration and Development in Childhood:Perspectives from Theory, Practice and Research. Abingdon: Routledge, pp.186-198.24. Department for Education. (2017). Careers Strategy: Making the Most of Everyone’s Skills and Talents. London: Department for Education.

What works? Career-related learning in primary schoolsPolicy ContextWhile the literature firmly places childhood at the centreof career development, early childhood career-relatedlearning is relatively under-researched.25 Policy has alsountil very recently focussed overwhelmingly on careersprovision in secondary schooling and college, sometimesdescribed as careers education. The establishment ofThe Careers & Enterprise Company and the governmentendorsement of the Gatsby Benchmarks have correctlyshone a light on establishing a stable programme ofguidance, employer engagement and personal guidancein secondary schools and colleges.Government policy does, however, seem to be shiftingtowards a greater focus on early careers interventions.The 2017 Careers Strategy: Making the Most of Everyone’sSkills and Talents emphasises the importance of earlyprimary years interventions and made a number ofrecommendations to schools about embedding acareer-related programme in their curriculum. It alsoclearly outlines that more research is needed to findout what works in the primary phase, so schoolshave access to the tools they need to understandhow they can start to build activities with employersinto their lessons. The strategy strongly suggeststhat any programme should aim to raise and broadenaspirations, and challenge stereotypes about differentsubjects, jobs and careers.26 In 2018, The Organisationfor Economic Co-operation and Development (theOECD) also recognised the need for schools to beginearly and highlighted the essential role of exposure tothe world of work. The authors note:careersandenterprise.co.ukTo make decisions, students need to have agood picture of work and where they need toput their efforts in studying to be able to realisetheir dreams. For that, schools should encouragea first-hand understanding of the world of workfrom the earliest years (p. 12).27That is not to say that career-related learning activitieshave not been taking place in primary schools, ratherthat this activity has often been invisible and that thereis no clear framework within which it is organised.In 2009–10, the Department for Children, Schools andFamilies (DCSF) funded a pathfinder research projectto discover if planned career interventions for 10 and11-year-olds in socio-economically deprived areas couldhelp tackle problems such as stereotyped thinkingabout subject and careers choice, poverty of aspirationand low attainment, disengagement from school, andunsuccessful transitions.28 The pathfinder projectintroduced some new interventions.The most recent picture of employer engagementin England’s primary schools was undertaken bythe Education and Employers in March 2018. Thesurvey asked 250 primary schools in the UK whichactivities they had organised for their children in thelast year (while this survey cannot be seen to be fullyrepresentative of English primary schools, it indicatesthe ways in which career-related learning activitieshave previously been embedded in the primary schoolcurriculum). Most of the schools in this sample whodo organise these type of activities run them on yearly(43%) or termly (41%) basis. There is a smaller group ofschools that run regular activities every month (9%) orevery week (7%).2925. Musset, P., and Mytna Kurekova, L. (2018). Working it out: Career Guidance and Employer Engagement. OECD Education Working Papers, 175. Paris: OECD Publishing.26. Department for Education. (2017). Careers Strategy: Making the Most of Everyone’s Skills and Talents. London: Department for Education.27. Musset, P., and Mytna Kurekova, L. (2018). Working it out: Career Guidance and Employer Engagement. OECD Education Working Papers, 175. Paris: OECD Publishing.28. Wade, P., Bergeron, C., White, K., Teeman, D., Sims, D., and Mehta, P. (2011). Key stage 2 Career-Related Learning Pathfinder Evaluation. London: Department for Education.29. Education and Employers. (2018). Introducing Children to the World of Work. London: Education and Employers.5

20%29%Other46%Numeracy and literacy activities0%Subject specific activities e.g. languages70%Curriculum-linked activities49%Enterprise days38%Speed networking sessions40%Career insights30%Workplace visits50%Aspiration daysWhat works? Career-related learning in primary schoolscareersandenterprise.co.ukFigure 1: Activities organised by schools2980%74%60%47%39%26%10%8%6

What works? Career-related learning in primary schoolscareersandenterprise.co.uk7MethodologyThis review sets out evidence from four mainsources: Academic literature relevant to the designand delivery of career-related programmes inprimary education (age 5–11) was reviewed,focusing on research from OECD countriespublished in the English language since 2000.The review also considered non-academic andgrey literature to explore why career-relatedlearning in primary schools is important and theimpact of primary interventions on children’sattitudes, aspirations and learning outcomes.Studies were excluded if they focussed oncareer-related learning in secondary education. An audit of different primary programmescurrently being offered to schools in Englandto help inform them about the goals, activitiesand approaches of career-related learning inthis phase. Testimonies from 10 teachers and school leaderswho organised career-related learning activitiesin their primary school. They were interviewedto provide experienced insights into theeffectiveness, impact, design and challengesof implementing a career-related learningprogramme in primary schools. Testimonies from six stakeholders in the areawith a specific interest in career-relatedlearning in a primary school context. Resultsof the interviews were used to challenge and/or complement the findings of the literaturereview and case studies with primary schools.

What works? Career-related learning in primary schools2careersandenterprise.co.ukWhat does career-relatedlearning in primary schoolslook like?Many teachers in primary schools are aware of theimportance of expanding children’s awareness of thework that adults do and of challenging their attitudesabout gendered work roles. As a consequence, manyprimary teachers engage their students in everydaylearning that could be described as career-relatedlearning.30 However, there is a need for greater clarityabout what such work looks like and how it can bestbe delivered. To understand the current arrangementsin primary schools this review includes an audit ofcareer-related activities and programmes. It is worthnoting that the majority of these activities t

The concept of careers and career-related learning in the primary school phase typically provokes a cautious reaction. Terms such as 'careers learning', 'careers education' or 'careers lessons' are often conflated with careers guidance which is often understood to be focused on careers choice. Many parents and teachers have concerns

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