What works? Career-related learning in primary schools
Career-related learning in primary schools is about helping children to understand who they could become and helping them to develop a healthy sense of self that will enable them to reach their full potential. Early interventions can bring a lasting impact on children’s development 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 biased assumptions and having narrow aspirations can influence the academic effort children exert in certain lessons, the subjects they choose to study, and the jobs they end up pursuing. Research has also shown that the jobs children aspire to may be ones that their parents do, or those of their parents’ friends, or that they see on the TV and/or social media. Low expectations are often shaped by biases or commonly accepted stereotypes, such as ‘science isn’t for girls’ or ‘university isn’t for the working classes’. These societal expectations act to restrict children’s futures by limiting what they believe they can do.
In this report we refer to ‘career-related learning’ (CRL) which includes early childhood activities in primary schools designed to give children from an early age a wide range of experiences of and exposure to education, transitions and the world of work.