Children from Percy Main Primary School, North Shields took over Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths & Museum for a day, as part of a programme to support pupils to think about career options from an early age.

Year 5 pupils took on the roles of staff at the museum, welcoming their parents and fellow pupils. The takeover day was the culmination of several visits to the venue, where the pupils learnt about different jobs in the museum and the skills you need to do them.

Watch a short film of them in action here. 

Percy Main is one of 70 primary schools in the North East taking part in the North East Ambition Career Benchmarks Primary Pilot. The two-year programme is testing how the government’s Good Career Guidance Benchmarks can be adapted for primary schools.

The eight Good Careers Guidance Benchmarks are already used by secondary schools and colleges as a framework to provide pupils with the best possible career education, information, advice and guidance.

This is the first time the Benchmarks have been tested at primary level.

The project, led by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), is supported by the EY Foundation and European Social Fund (ESF).

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East LEP explained: “We know that children start to make judgements about their future options from as young as five years old, and some of these judgements can have an impact on their future social mobility. We developed this pilot to test how we introduce careers guidance to primary school children in an age-appropriate way and build aspiration from an early age.

“This takeover day is an inspiring example of how schools can work with local employers to deliver experiences that can raise pupils’ aspirations and help them discover the wide range of career options that are open to them. It’s been great to see parents getting involved, too.”

During the takeover day, pupils worked alongside the museum staff to find out how to welcome visitors to the museum, lead activities for their parents and fellow pupils, and act as curators, explaining about some of the Roman artefacts on show.

Rosie Reynolds, teacher at Percy Main Primary School, said: “It’s really important that the children have access to these kinds of sessions so that they can experience the roles themselves and aren’t just being told about them. Looking at the artefacts, the children realised that it was somebody’s job to be an archaeologist and go and find them and I think that’s been quite a powerful idea for them.”

Cole, a year 5 pupil said: “My favourite part was actually doing the adults’ jobs”, and Liberty, also a year 5 pupil said: “I was interested in doing an archaeologist’s [job] because they find things that people have left at the forts.”

Claire, Liberty’s mother, said: “Liberty today has said that she’d love to be an archaeologist, so it goes to show that doing these projects gives children ideas of what they can possibly do later on in life and that you can achieve anything.”

Kirsty Walker, Assistant Learning Officer at Segedunum Roman Fort, said: “The children have been working front of house, they’ve been doing bits of curators’ jobs, they’ve been going round as tour guides and telling people about the museum. It’s about getting them involved.”

The Careers Benchmarks Primary Pilot is part of North East Ambition; an education and skills programme delivered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership that supports all schools and colleges in the North East to achieve the government’s Good Career Guidance Benchmarks by 2024.

Working in partnership with education and industry, it aims to ensure each and every young person in the North East has access to quality careers education.

Find out more and watch a short film about the project at northeastambition.co.uk.