Former students of Suffolk state secondary schools are being urged to use their experience and skills to boost current students’ chances of going to university.
The project, in six schools and a sixth form college, is run by the national education charity Future First. It is part of the Take Your Place programme, delivered by the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (neaco), which aims to increase the number of young people from underrepresented backgrounds in higher education by 2020.
Future First will help participating schools build thriving alumni communities, bringing back former students with experience of higher education as positive role models so the current generation is more motivated, confident and equipped to go to university.
Schools and colleges taking part are Northgate High School, Ipswich Academy, Chantry Academy and Stoke High School in Ipswich, Felixstowe Academy, Castle Manor Academy in Haverhill, Mildenhall College Academy and Lowestoft Sixth Form College. The charity is urging former students of the participating schools and college to sign up online at www.futurefirst.org.uk/register to support the programme, which could change young people’s lives.
Under the scheme, Future First will work with careers staff and teachers in each school to build a sustainable alumni network registering hundreds of university students and recent graduates as volunteers and engaging them to inspire thousands of today’s students immediately.
The charity will run workshops with alumni in each school helping to inspire students about the different courses available to them and enabling them to make a more informed decision about choosing the right university for them.
Tom Levinson, Project Manager for neaco, said: “We are delighted to be working with Future First to help show young people the array of higher education options available to them. A network of past pupils, with their higher education experience, is a valuable way to engage the region’s young people and motivate them to take their education further.”
Christine Gilbert, Executive Chair of Future First and a former Ofsted Chief Inspector said, “We are delighted to be supporting neaco’s important work in encouraging more young people in the area to benefit from the many opportunities higher education can bring. Future First helps schools and colleges build and use a network of their former students in active support of the current generation. Alumni are unique because of their connection with current students. The young people in these schools will truly benefit from working with former students, who will show them what's possible from a future in higher education and open their eyes to a world beyond their own."
Future First, along with the Take Your Place programme, is also offered in schools across East Anglia including Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Take Your Place is a programme offered by neaco, a consortium of five universities including the University of Suffolk and eight further education colleges across East Anglia.
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