Year 1 pupils from Holy Family Catholic Primary School participating in our Words for Work: Dream Big programme recently visited Barnes Coaches in Swindon. Together with schools and local businesses, like Barnes Coaches, we are supporting Key Stage 1 pupils to develop their literacy skills, raise aspirations and challenge stereotypes.
The pupils were collected from school in a Barnes coach which brought them to the premises on Woodside Road. Excitement spread throughout the group when it was announced that the class were to become detectives and their mission was to discover for themselves what people actually do when they come to work at Barnes. When asked what they thought happened in this workplace, one prediction was that they made coaches. However, through the tour of the work space and their engagement with volunteers from across the company, the children gained a valuable insight into a variety of roles and the work that takes place there.
The detective mission was launched with a visit to the coach wash. This was a memorable experience for many of the young people on board who had not seen anything like it before. There were squeals of surprise and exclamations of wonder as they watched the huge machine at work. Next on the agenda was a tour through the office space where the children continued their task of finding clues to help them solve the mystery of what happens at Barnes.
Five volunteers, each with a different role in the family-run business, supported the session and answered the young detectives’ questions about work. In particular, the volunteers shared examples of how reading, writing, speaking and listening were part of their everyday tasks. The children were able to make links between the skills taught in school and how these can be applied in a workplace.
The young detectives and the volunteers from Barnes enjoyed the morning. The Year 1 class teacher described the visit as “an interesting and different experience for the children”.
Learning about different careers and how literacy is a key element in the world of work will continue for the pupils at Holy Family Catholic Primary School. The resources provided as part of the Words for Work: Dream Big programme include a series of literacy lesson plans linked to storybooks about six different careers. Role play props and backdrops are also included so that the school can set up six ‘businesses’ in the classroom.
With the support from Barnes Coaches, the National Literacy Trust have provided children in Swindon with a real life, authentic experience of the workplace. This allows them to draw better links between their current and future imagined lives (Education and Employers, 2019).
You can find out how your business can be part of Words for Work: Dream Big and how you can open doors for children in your area here.
The activities were well organised and fun to do.Volunteer from Barnes Coaches