Radio host Nick Grimshaw backs alumni networks in Oldham state schools

Former state students in Oldham are to help transform current students’ opportunities and give them a better start in life by going back to their old schools in an initiative to build an alumni network in schools and college in the town.

The programme, run by the education charity Future First and funded by the government’s Careers and Enterprise Company, has been backed by the TV and radio broadcaster Nick Grimshaw who went to Our Lady’s RC High School in Royton, now known as Blessed John Henry Newman Catholic College.

Future First is urging alumni of the participating schools and colleges to sign up online at to support the programme, which could change young people’s lives.

The initiative will encourage more schools to see alumni as a valuable resource in broadening the jobs horizons of the current generation and preparing them to navigate the difficult transition from school to work. Private schools and universities have long seen the value of keeping alumni in close contact after they have left.

Oldham schools taking part are Failsworth School, Oasis Academy Oldham, Royton and Crompton School, The Radclyffe School, Oldham Sixth Form College and Blessed John Henry Newman Roman Catholic College which Nick attended from 1995 to 2000 when it was known as Our Lady’s RC High School.

Nick said, “It’s great to show the students of Oldham that the world is their oyster. You can do whatever you want in your life and career – you just need to figure out how to do it and how to make it happen. By taking former students back into the classroom, Future First is doing a fantastic job of showing young people the huge range of jobs out there which will broaden their horizons. ”

Christine Gilbert, Executive Chair of Future First and a former Ofsted Chief Inspector said, “Every state school student should have the opportunity to succeed in life after school, regardless of their background. Alumni help give them a better start in life.  If students see ‘people like me’ have succeeded, they are more likely to believe they can too. They work harder and have higher expectations of success. We want more schools to see the benefits of using their alumni as a powerful resource.”

Future First has worked with more than a thousand schools and colleges up and down the country to set up alumni networks. These harness the wealth of talent and experience from former students in a range of jobs, from law and banking to plumbing and catering. More than 220,000 former students nationwide are already registered to support their old school.

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