The North East Parental Engagement: Career Related Learning Strategy

The North East Ambitions’ Primary Pilot has recently appointed Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Director of dmh associates and Lauren Croll, Outreach Special Projects Manager at Learn by Design, to work with selected primary schools in the North-East region on the design and development of a new career-related learning (CRL) Parental Engagement Strategy and Good Practice Guide. This work complements and supports ongoing work on the ‘Good Career Guidance’ Benchmarks ( in primary schools.

The commissioned research and development work involves:
  • A review of the evidence-base for career-related learning, in particular national and international research on effective approaches to parental engagement.
  • An analysis of recent results from a major survey of primary schools in the North-East and in-depth case studies to take account of school circumstances and needs.
  • An in-depth assessment of ‘what works’ best, drawing on practical experiences from primary schools in the North-East.
  • A focus group session(s) to share early findings, to test out ideas and to identity good and/or interesting parental engagement policies and practices.
  • A dissemination event to provide practical information and support to school leaders, teachers and careers champions.
4 key questions
  1. What is the most successful method used for communicating and engaging with parents of primary school children?
  2. Do you have any practical examples that could feed into this work?
  3. Might a parental engagement strategy differ or be the same for parents of children in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2?
  4. What would you ideally like to see happen when it comes to parental engagement, for example, ideas for action?

CALL TO ACTION: To feed in your ideas and responses, visit:

Please note the closing date for responses is : 12th November 2021

Meet the team

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE (Research Director). Deirdre is an international and national specialist in careers, employment and skills. She has led a 3-year research programme working with Lauren Croll on the impact of career-related learning in 33 primary schools in Derby city. She is the founding director of the International Centre for Guidance Studies (ICeGS), University of Derby (1998-2008). She was a Commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment & Skills (2011–2015) leading on careers policies, labour market intelligence and use of open data, reporting directly to ministers across the UK. She was Chair of the National Careers Council in England, (May 2012 – September 2014). She is currently acting as a consultant to the OECD ‘Career Ready’ programme reviewing international careers research findings in schools. Deirdre is passionate about improving life chances for children and young people.

Lauren Croll (Education Specialist) –Lauren has a successful track record and experience of setting up and managing a range of partnership programmes across the social enterprise, youth and education sectors. Since 2015 Lauren has worked as a free-lance consultant providing project management, capacity building support, training, delivery and workshop design and facilitation. Currently contracted by Learn by Design, Lauren is programme managing ‘Our future’, a Derby City Council and Department for Education’s Opportunity Area funded programme to inspire children and connect primary schools in Derby with the world of work. She also led the delivery of the curriculum enrichment programme for L.E.A.D. Academy, a Multi-Academy Trust of 25 schools.  

For more Information – Contact: Deirdre Hughes                                   

Email: [email protected]                                                

Phil Graham – Primary Facilitator North East LEP