From education to employment

Peer backs crowdfunding campaign to create alumni programme in every state school

In the week that students received their #GCSEresults2020, Lord Porter of Spalding (@GaryPorterCBE) is backing charity @FutureFirstOrg’s initiative to help close the gap between state and private schools.

With fears the coronavirus crisis could have widened the already-huge gap between state and private schools, charity Future First has launched a crowdfunding campaign to create an alumni programme in every state school across the country and reassure every pupil they can succeed.

Thousands of young people have now received their GCSE results in an unprecedented year for exams and the charity – which is committed to making sure a young person’s start in life does not limit their future – is redoubling its efforts to set up alumni links in every school.

Lord Porter of Spalding, a former Chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA) and Leader of South Holland District Council, is backing the initiative:

“If I can make it into the House of Lords after a career as a builder there’s no limit to what every child, in every school, can achieve.

“The support I needed to succeed didn’t come when I was at school but much later when I entered politics. Politicians get support from their peer group all the time and that is especially true of the LGA. I want to see all young people have the chance to build their lives on it.

“This has been a very difficult year for pupils, especially those taking exams, so it’s vital they have the opportunity to hear from people who’ve left their school and made a success of their lives.

“It’s something private schools do extremely well and it’s vital children in state schools have the same opportunity.”

Future First already works with hundreds of state schools and colleges to link young people with alumni and employers, but there are many more schools that do not benefit from the opportunity.

The charity’s CEO designate, Lorraine Langham, said:

“Alumni networks have made a huge difference for the 7% of pupils attending private schools over the years. If we are ever going to close the gap between the very privileged and the other 93% of children attending state schools, these networks need to exist in every school.

“Alumni show children a world of opportunity and a future that could be theirs. We want to give them hope for the future and the confidence and motivation they need to succeed.

“We want everyone out there to sign up and give back to the students of today who are following in our footsteps. Whoever you are, your life story, your journey and your experiences can help today’s students with theirs. We know that meeting past students can make a significant difference.

“It would be wonderful for every young person, whatever their circumstances, to have the reassurance that comes from hearing what it took for someone who sat in the very same classroom to make a success of their lives.

“So please sign up to our crowdfunding effort to help us show every young person out there that their future will be bright once we’re out of this most difficult of situations.

“If you can’t give money, please sign up to give pupils at your old school some time or just send a message of hope by sharing your journey with them.”

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