Back to school week highlights value of alumni in state school student success

A national campaign to inspire state students to fulfilment in the world of work launched yesterday as statistics show the crucial importance of alumni in motivating state school students to success.

Research by the leading education charity Future First shows some state schools don’t harness the valuable talents of alumni as relatable role models for the current generation in the way that many private schools and universities have done for generations.

The research comes as Future First launches Back to School Week between October 13th and 17th in state schools across the country during which celebrities and every day heroes – from doctors and lawyers to plumbers and caterers – will return to their former state school to talk to the current generation about their career paths and the skills necessary to succeed in work.

Future First believes alumni can and should play an invaluable role in working alongside teachers, employers and careers professionals in preparing students for the working world. The charity is the only organisation enabling state schools to utilise the experience of alumni as work experience providers, mentors and e-mentors, career and education role models and as governors, fundraisers and donors.

The YouGov/Future First statistics show that:

•             75 per cent of state students are motivated to work harder after hearing from alumni.

•             Only 3 per cent of state school graduates say that they hear from their old school at least once a year compared with 42 per cent of private school graduates.

•             75 per cent of state school graduates didn’t meet anyone who is working the sector in which they now work while they were at secondary school.

•             Only 18 per cent attended a careers event during secondary school featuring someone who worked in the same job or sector in which they now work.

Celebrities returning to their old state school as part of Back to School Week include:

BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce, who went back to her former school in South London on Monday October 13th to talk to sixth formers.

Former ITV weather presenter Sian Lloyd who will go back to her former school in Swansea on Wednesday October 15th.

Future First works in 10 per cent of British state secondary schools enabling those schools to utilise the talents of alumni to support current students. More than 90,000 people have registered with Future First to support their old school. Research shows ten million people are willing to do the same.

Future First Managing Director Alex Shapland-Howes said, “Alumni are invaluable in helping state schools  support their students to make that difficult transition between school and work.

“Many schools are already doing this by using their alumni as inspirational relatable role models who know the background of the students, kicked a ball in the same park, may have had the same teachers. If students see people like them with the same background have succeeded, they are more likely to believe they can too.”

For more information on Future First and to sign up to support your old school, visit www.futurefirst.org.uk.

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