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Flexible Working Pilot from a Coventry Primary School

These young people have two paths,

one path leads to further education or employment,

Or

(think about what the ‘or’ could be….)

Could You Make a Difference?

Through the Social Inclusion Strategy our aim is to help to re-imagine the original purpose of setting up Warwick in 1965, to ‘increase access to higher education’. Through this strategy we aspire to remove economic, social and cultural barriers that have prevented people from working, studying and succeeding at Warwick.

Through the 'Could You Make a Difference' pilot, we aspire to remove barriers, and be the stepping stone into further education or employment for young people in the local area.

Children growing up in areas of severe social deprivation often suffer from very low confidence and aspirations.

In partnership with Frederick Bird School in Coventry, from September 2022 – July 2023, we will be running a pilot, in an attempt to change the lives of young people.

We know that with your help, it will become possible to build trust and establish positive, professional relationships with the young people we will be working with. This could allow the whole concept of "university" to become normalised to a child during their most formative years.

Our hope is that as the children we work with grow up, they will believe that higher education, and the professions which that unlocks, to be a realistic, attainable goal.

How will this work:

Do you work hybrid?

If the answer is yes, then you would use the school as your workplace for one day a week/fortnight/month, log onto the schools secure Wi-Fi, and agree with the assigned year/class teacher at which points in the day you will interact with the children, for the rest of the day you will work on your laptop – but by just being present and visible, interacting during playtimes/have lunch with the children this will allow you to build trust and relationships which could make all the difference in a child’s life and their future aspirations.

You will get to know the children through conversation, listen to what interests them. Learn if they have aspirations, a passion, hobby, or want to learn more about something - use this opportunity to talk about study and employment opportunities at Warwick, and beyond!

Some of the young people at these schools have little/no direction to go on to further study or even employment – use this time to break down barriers and misconceptions of working and studying. The children may also then share this with their wider family, parents and siblings.

This is an opportunity for Warwick staff to explore and share strengths with the young people – this could be through sport, art, reading, maths, gardening (some schools have a veg patch!), dance, singing…. be guided by the class teacher how you can explore your strengths to share with the children.

The schools are very keen on learning through fun and engagement rather than sat in front of text books 9-3pm every day.

What do we ask from you?

  • Commitment – you will need to commit to participating in this pilot for one school year - consistency is so important in strengthening relationships and building trust. The pilot will start in September 2022 and run until July 2023.
  • Discuss this opportunity with your line manager and agree whether you will attend the school one day a week/fortnight or month. We will also ask you to complete a monthly evaluation, this will help us to guide the pilot, and provide feedback to the school.
  • Complete an enhanced DBS (top level criminal background check) - we will support with this.
  • Read the Safeguarding Policy.
  • Complete EduCare training module.

How will you be supported, Social Inclusion will..

  • Meet with you ahead of the start of the pilot to provide an overview of the importance of this pilot, discuss what you might expect to hear and witness.
  • Liaise with the school and be the main point of contact throughout the pilot.
  • Support you through regular discussion, set up a network, where all participants will meet regularly. This would be a confidential space where staff can support one another throughout this pilot as you may hear and witness things when placed in the school that could be upsetting and thought provoking.
  • Liaise with HR to start the DBS process.

Interested in taking part?

This pilot will initially be limited to 5 places.

Complete the form hereLink opens in a new window, telling us a little about yourself and why you would like to be involved, we will then review all registrations of interest and contact you to discuss further.

If you would like to discuss this opportunity before applying, please contact C.Algar@warwick.ac.uk 

Claire Algar, Social Inclusion Officer.

I have been fortunate to visit and work in a school in a very deprived area in Worcester on a couple of occasions during 2022. I was placed in a class with 6/7 year olds, who initially seemed very inquisitive to me being there, and possibly a little nervous to engage with me.

I was guided by the teacher as to how they wanted me to interact throughout the day, I ensured I was not in the way and didn't want the class teacher to feel they had to 'host me'. I felt this was very important as they have a huge job working with, and keeping the children engaged, so I wanted to make sure I wasn't a burden in the room.

Day one: I arrived at the school to find it was World Book Day, I was greeted by a class of excited children (most in fancy dress) who didn't want to settle down to working, the teacher used a calming technique which worked like magic, and quietly bought a calm to the room for the children to start work. Throughout the day, I mostly observed, and quietly moved around helping the children with their work. Joined them at playtime and during assembly and at lunch chatted with the teachers about the challenges they have faced, especially during and since the pandemic.

As the day went on I visited a couple of other classes and chatted with them about my work at Warwick, why I wanted to visit and listened to their aspirations - this varied from wanting to be an engineer, a cleaner and working in the local corner shop where their mum worked.

Day two (one month later): I arrived and went straight into a dance class, what pleased and surprised me most was several of the children remembered me, and my name... I joined in with a dance class (totally outside my comfort zone!), then in the afternoon we spent 2 hours at Forest School ( a clearing of trees in the school grounds). I spent my time helping (rather being told by the children!) to carry logs, build shelters with string and plastic sheeting, toast bread on a campfire and collect nettles to make nettle chips. What I noticed the most was the team building, and support these young people offered each other, noticing when someone was struggling or sad. They set up a 'camp' shop and sold essential items - fire wood, bricks, string etc dealt in pretend money and I was asked to be part of an interview panel for the position of shop keeper - life/transferable skills they were building without even realising!

I would suggest anybody who really cares about our future generations try this, I did find it emotionally hard and spent my drive home thinking about different things I heard and witnessed and likely will never forget. But if I helped even one of the young people I crossed paths with, it was worth it.

Did you know?

  • 41%of children were living in poverty in Coventry North-East in 2019-20. That is 12,451.
  •  33%of children were living in poverty in Coventry North-West in 2019-20. That is 7,379.
  • At Frederick Bird Primary School, just 5.6 miles from Warwick University, there are 820 primary aged children at one school, which far outweighs the country average. At this school over 51 languages are spoken – only 22.6% speak English as their first language.