The second strand of the project focused on young people imagining their futures, in particular what they thought their working lives had in store for them. This part of the project is a based on a previous study carried out by Ray Pahl and colleagues at the University of Kent on the Isle of Sheppey in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1978, with the assistance of local teachers, Pahl asked pupils in their final year of school to imagine what their futures would be like and to write a short essay as if looking back over their lives. Pahl collected 142 essays from both male and female students which he wrote about in an article entitled, ‘Living without a job: how school leavers see the future’ published in New Society in 1978 (2 November, pp 259-62).
The project team would be very interested to hear from former pupils of the Sheppey School that would have been between 15 or 16 years old in 1978, and took part in the imagined future exercise set by Ray Pahl. If that’s you, please Contact us!
In 2009-10, this exercise was repeated by the Living and Working on Sheppey project and 106 essays have been gathered from school pupils and members of youth groups on the Isle of Sheppey to compare to the earlier ones. Pupils were given similar instructions to those Pahl used as well as a brief explanation of the project and what the essays would be used for, and consent forms for both the essay authors and the project to keep.
You can download the essay instructions used in 2009-10 here :
Living and Working on Sheppey – essay instructions 2009-10 .
You can read some of the 2009-10 essays here :
Or listen to them here