Making the time to broaden your student’s horizons: It’s worth it

12 March 2017

Victoria Armitage, Assistant Head Teacher at Beckfoot Upper Heaton in Bradford shares her experience of hosting illustrious speakers via Speakers for Schools and why she continues to prioritise it for her students.


It is not every day you can access quality speakers for free and in particular high profile speakers, especially when you are based in the North of England.  This is why I have been so delighted to work with Speakers for Schools in order to bring influential people into our school to talk with our students


Too often students struggle to contextualize their academic and personal development into life beyond school so having the opportunity for someone to do that and endorse what their teachers are saying is an opportunity too good to miss. Most importantly they can support the work we are all already doing to raise our students aspirations by showing them that there is a land of opportunity out there for those who work hard and dream big.


Despite scheduling challenges and demands, I have hosted 4 talks to date, for students from year 9 through to 6th form, which all have been fantastic. Giving my students an appreciation of what hard work, determination, endless ambition and aspiration can bring to their lives, their family and in many cases community, both local and global.


Whilst I have learnt that in order to make things work I have to be well organised and flexible for the speaker, this legwork can really pay off.  Speaker Ian Stuart (CEO, HSBC) agreed to spend the day with us, which as well as the main talk and Q and A, also allowed a smaller selection of students to spend time with him asking specific questions targeted at the theme of the talk.  We have even been lucky enough to be invited to Canary Wharf HSBC headquarters for a day. Ian very kindly arranged for the students to get a once in a lifetime experience ranging from a CV workshop with their recruitment team to an insight into the world of banking. I nearly had a career change!


These are once in a lifetime opportunities for our students.


So make it happen. Take time out of the structured day to day learning, as it’s worth it in opening minds and driving aspirations. I can’t wait to see who we will host next year!