100,000 sign up to state “old school tie” networks

A 100,000 strong army of former state students is marching back to school giving state students across Britain access to the ‘old school tie’ networks favoured by many private schools.

From bankers to lawyers, plumbers to choreographers, ex-state school everyday heroes are boosting the career opportunities of the current generation at their old state school by acting as inspirational and relatable role models.

The initiative is run by the leading education charity Future First, the only organisation to set up alumni networks in the state sector. The scheme has been cited in government guidance as the sort of careers programme state schools should follow.

During National Careers Week from March 2nd to 6th, Future First alumni will be returning to their former state schools and colleges from the South West to the North East to motivate young people to career confidence and academic success.

Christine Gilbert, Executive Chair of Future First and a former Chief Inspector of Ofsted, said reaching 100,000 alumni sign- ups in just three years exceeded all expectations and showed how much schools need and value the expertise of former students already in careers who can support the current generation.

She added: “Schools across Britain know that alumni are crucial in promoting student motivation because they provide relatable role models. If students see that someone who comes from the same background, perhaps had the same teachers has gone onto achieve a fulfilling and satisfying job, they are more likely to believe they can too. Private schools have harnessed the talent of alumni for generations and now state schools students have that same valuable opportunity.”

Warden Park Academy in Cuckfield, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, has more than 300 former students signed up to its Future First alumni network.  Headteacher Jonathon Morris said, “Warden Park Academy has always valued and used its former students and our work with Future First has taken this to a new level.  The network has enabled us to target and select specific alumni for specific needs in order to generate the maximum benefit for our current students.

“One of our biggest successes achieved through our Future First network was a dyslexic former student who is now a successful local architect speaking to our students with special educational needs  about overcoming adversity, which generated lots of positive feedback from the students involved.

“Most recently we are appointing e-mentors to allow current students to ask questions of people in the jobs they’d like to do.”

Future First works in more than 400 schools enabling the schools to harness the talents of former students as work experience providers, mentors and career and education role models and as governors, fundraisers and donors.

Further information on Future First on www.futurefirst.org.uk.

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