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Independent Schools’ Inspectorate, 2010 (Girls’ Division)

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Career Inspiration from Alumni

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Six Old Boys and Old Girls returned to School to talk to pupils in the Junior Schools about their work as part of an exciting Careers Carousel. This annual event brings together Year 6 pupils from the Junior Girls’ and Junior Boys’ Schools to give the children a few ideas about where they might end up in the future. With inspirational speakers from a diverse range of careers, the event certainly gave the Year 6 pupils plenty to think about.

The Junior Girls’ Headmistress, Carol Laverick, welcomed the Junior Boys and the alumni to the Hesketh House for the afternoon. Before sending the boys and girls to their first sessions, she also thanked the guests for kindly agreeing to give up time in their busy schedules to come and talk to the pupils about their work.

Old Girl Deanne Cunningham talked to pupils about being a television and film producer and script editor. She has been working in television for seven years and has worked on a wide range of programmes, from EastEnders to Tracy Beaker Returns. Deanne led an interactive session, in which she asked the boys and girls to read out parts of a script and then think about what would be needed to turn the words on the page into a piece of television. As they came up with ideas – such as actors, cameras, and props – she explained who is responsible for acquiring each of these things and how their job is linked to the producer. This was a really interesting session that gave pupils lots of behind-the-scenes information about making television programmes.

Karen Diggle talked to pupils about entrepreneurship and some of the qualities it takes to be successful in creating a business. She asked the Year 6 boys and girls to recognise various well-known brands and to try to name the entrepreneurs who came up with them, and also talked about her own role within her company. She ended her session by attributing a different quality to each of the letters in the word entrepreneur – from ‘enterprising’ to ‘risk-taker’ – and left behind some newspaper articles about young entrepreneurs, some as young as 12, who had started their own businesses already, to inspire the Year 6 pupils.

Fashion designer Flo Hughes works for Topshop designing handbags and accessories. She described her journey through education, from leaving Bolton School, through an Art Foundation course and on to her degree. She also talked about her experiences working for famous brands and designers such as Katie Hillier and Mulberry, and some of her career highlights, including seeing her graduate collection on the catwalk at Westminster Fashion Show and having it photographed for LOVE Magazine. She showed them her portfolio of work and the boys and girls were amazed at the colourful designs inside and the hard work that went into making them a reality. Flo had also brought with her one of the outfits from her degree show, which the pupils were able to admire.

Old Boy Chris Jones is the Creative Director at video production company Sitcom Soldiers, and was joined by Malcolm Smith, the company’s Logistics Director, to talk to pupils about this interesting business. They talked pupils through the many different roles that are involved with producing a video, from filming to post-production, and all the jobs that go on in the background and might not be as obvious. They also went into some detail about the day-to-day tasks involved and what qualities suit the different roles, from the director to the gaffer. This was another great behind-the-scenes look at a highly creative industry.

Janette McCormick is now Deputy Chief Constable for Cheshire Constabulary and was able to give the Year 6 pupils an overview of all the things that police officers do. She began with what the children know about the police from the television, and talked about how that differs from the reality of helping people. She also brought with her some of her equipment and allowed some of the boys and girls to try on a body protector and hold a pair of handcuffs, which in turn inspired lots more questions from the children.

Architect John Wood held an interactive session for the Year 6 pupils. He began by showing them three different houses and asking them to imagine what the person living there might be like. They came up with some really good ideas. He could then reveal who the houses belonged to, from members of the royal family to Justin Bieber! He explained that understanding people’s likes, dislikes and needs are some of the most important things about being an architect, and then asked the pupils to become architects, coming up with a sketch of a house for a famous person or character of their choice. This was a great introduction to the skills and qualities needed to become an architect, and also allowed John to talk about his own career path while the children were sketching.

The Year 6 pupils attended four sessions in total. They were really interested to hear about the Old Boys’ and Old Girls’ careers and were full of questions for the alumni in all of the sessions. The Careers Carousel certainly got the pupils thinking about possible future careers and opened their minds to the wide variety of possibilities ahead of them.

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Janette shows pupils some of the gear a police officer wears

Janette shows pupils some of the gear a police officer wears

Flo talking to Year 6 pupils about her portfolio designs

Flo talking to Year 6 pupils about her portfolio designs

The speakers: Karen, John, Janette, Deanne, Chris, Malcolm and Flo

The speakers: Karen, John, Janette, Deanne, Chris, Malcolm and Flo