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Disadvantaged pupils aim for high-flying careers

The school is trying to build students' confidence. Photo: ITV West Country

Teachers at a Somerset school are using a new approach to help inspire their students.

Staff at St James's Church School in Taunton have become worried about a lack of ambition amongst pupils.

The school catchment area includes one of the country's most deprived ares. Credit: ITV West Country

Many of the students live in a part of Taunton that's historically been one of the most deprived areas of the UK.

Staff say this has a noticeable effect on the young people's self confidence.

"It's sometimes disappointing and you feel a little bit like they could achieve so much more. For example, if they would say that they wanted to work in a shop, not that that's a bad job but when you know a child is capable of so much more and it's really down to their self confidence and their lack of experience."

– Maeve Clark, Teacher

The school has invited in professionals from a range of occupations to show the pupils the type of jobs they could do.

Pupils learned about safety equipment from a firefighter. Credit: ITV West Country

The students are also discussing the jobs they would like to take up when they are older.

Headteacher Jason Eveleigh says it's the school's responsibility to promote aspiration.

"We are in a socially deprived area and it's about opening children's eyes to the future and potential that they could have and that's why we're in the job. It's a privileged job and we get to see or help to shape where the children could end up."

– Jason Eveleigh, Head Teacher

According to the school, the program is a success, with a number of students saying that they want to take up new jobs as a result of the day:

  • "When I grow up, I would like to be an engineer."
  • "I want to be an actress."
  • "When I grow up, I want to open a bakery because I love baking."
  • "When I am older I would like to be an astronaut."
As well as jobs, the school wants pupils to think about their education. Credit: ITV West Country

The company running the event says the workshops are even more effective because of the pupils' young age.

"(It is) Really really unusual that this happens at primary age. The earlier these young people can learn to shake hands, to speak confidently to other adults before all those teenage inhibitions set in can only benefit those young people."

– Jenny Vince CSW Group Ltd