Hundreds of primary school children from across Cheshire and Shropshire were inspired by visions of exciting potential futures at Rudheath Senior Academy’s careers fair.  

Year 6 pupils arrived in minibuses from North West Academies Trust (NWAT) schools Delamere CE Academy, St Martin’s Academy, Oak View Academy, Ellesmere Primary School, Weaverham Primary Academy, Grosvenor Park CE Academy, Acresfield Academy, Calveley Primary Academy and Acton CE Primary Academy.  

They were treated to a delicious lunch and enjoyed playtime in the school grounds before looking around the interactive stalls which included representatives from some of the country’s biggest employers in the fields of medicine, technology, law and education. Children got hands on with 3D glasses, life size model skeletons, a remote-control car, aeronautical parts and goody bags.  

Lee Barber, Headteacher at Rudheath Senior Academy which runs an extensive careers programme to prepare students well for life after they leave the school, said: “Children can be inspired to start along a career path at a very early age, especially if you work hard to show them the options that are out there and catch their imagination. 

“We’ve invested more than £8m in the school since it joined NWAT in 2018 and we’ve really focused on giving pupils the skills and knowledge to choose the right educational and career path.”  

Kay Cook, Director at Oliver & Co Solicitors, spent time talking to youngsters at the fair. She said: “They were really engaged and I was surprised how much they knew about solicitors, although we did have some confusions between a barrister and barista! They were particularly interested in what my wig was made from – suggestions included woolly mammoth and penguin!”  

Vicky Jackson, an NHS orthoptist, said: “The children were great and had lots of questions which is good. They all have their eyes tested but they know very little about what we do, as there are only three places with specialist orthoptists in the country. To be able to see their enthusiasm and tell them all about this profession was a pleasure.”  

Rudheath, like the other NWAT schools, place a high value on providing all children with a wide variety of opportunities and opening their eyes to a world of possibilities.  

The Headteachers at the schools who visited felt it was a very worthwhile experience for their pupils. 

Mike Dixon, Headteacher at Chester-based Acresfield, said: “This was a great opportunity for the children to begin to consider life beyond school and potential career options. It was also great to see so many Acresfield parents who were willing to take part and share their professions. Many thanks to those who took part!”  

Jo Price, Headteacher at Weaverham, said: “The children enjoyed finding out about different careers and their behaviour was exemplary. It is great to see how Rudheath Senior Academy has transformed too, and we really appreciated the work that went into the fair.”  

Fiona Whittaker Executive Headteacher at Oak View added: “The careers fair opened some of the children’s eyes to the importance of doing well in Maths and English for careers that they are interested in.  It helped them to understand the relevance of such subjects in practical jobs.”

Head of School at Calveley Primary Academy Rachael McKinlay added: “The children found the event to be extremely beneficial. It very much opened their eyes to their world of work and how skills taught in primary school can be used for different careers. A huge thank you to the team at Rudheath and the professionals that gave up their time for the event.”  

It was a case of love at first sight for new Calveley Primary Academy headteacher Ray Rudd.

Having built an impressive career in education, specialising in helping children with additional needs and standing out as a passionate and natural teacher, her priority is to be in the classroom.

Despite her obvious credentials to lead a school, giving up working with youngsters on a daily basis was not an option.

But at Calveley, Ray has found her perfect match. Set in picturesque countryside near Tarporley, the rural primary offers the opportunity to lead AND teach.

Now Ray has started to build a new school community dedicated to raising standards and attaining results with a fresh team of enthusiastic staff.

“I have always had a vision of being part of a school that is one big family,” she said.

“Somewhere small and rural where I know all the pupils and their families, where my dog Fin comes to school with me.

“Seeing young children thrive is where my enjoyment lies. The children are the beating heart of this school, they’re polite, engaged in learning and motivated. They love coming to school and arrive with huge smiles every day.

“I want to give them really rich inspirational learning opportunities. Being part of that gives me great satisfaction.”

Ray, who has 16 years of experience in education, is a passionate advocate of an inclusive and child-centred curriculum that caters for children of all abilities and learning styles.

A Lead Special Educational Needs Reviewer for the local authority, she has also been accredited as a specialist Lead of Education in the area of Phonics and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). She supports other schools and mentors other Special Education Needs Coordinators (SENCo).

Ray is keen to apply this expertise at Calveley to ensure each child leaves with a developed sense of resilience, independence and confidence.

The dyslexia specialist and a trained yoga teacher added: “We want build strong links with the community and establish open lines of communication and for them to feel a genuine part of their children’s learning journey here. Myself and the team are very excited about the future.”

Calveley is part of North West Academies Trust (NWAT) which runs schools across Cheshire and Shropshire.

NWAT schools share resources and best practices and place strong emphasis on giving children experiences outside the classroom and opening their eyes to a ‘wonderful world of possibilities’.