Ex-pupils join education scheme to inspire others

Lowestoft Sixth Form College. Picture by Sophie Laslett.

Lowestoft Sixth Form College. Picture by Sophie Laslett. - Credit: Archant

Former pupils at Suffolk schools and sixth form colleges are joining a scheme to inspire pupils into higher education.

The Take Your Place programme, run by national education charity Future First, features schools building a community of alumni who can return as positive role models to talk to and inspire pupils to follow their career paths.

So far six schools and two sixth form colleges in the county – including Lowestoft Sixth Form College – have joined the scheme, which is run by the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (Neaco).

It aims to increase the number of young people from under-represented backgrounds into higher education.

Christine Gilbert, executive chairman 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.

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'Future First helps schools and colleges build and use a network of their former students in active support of the current generation.

She added: 'Alumni are unique because of their connection with current students.

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'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.'

The project aims to particularly target children who may not have even considered university as an opportunity for them, either because of family finances, or because no other family members have previously attended. The schools to join so far are Ipswich Academy, Northgate High School, Chantry Academy and Stoke High School in Ipswich, Felixstowe Academy, Castle Manor Academy in Haverhill, Mildenhall College Academy and Lowestoft Sixth Form College.

A database of alumni is already being built up, before workshops will begin in schools.

Craig D'Cunha, Chantry Academy principal, said: 'I think there is nothing more powerful than someone saying 'I was in your chair', and there's that real connection.

'It is such an opportunity for our kids. We talk about part of our mission statement which is to provide students the opportunity to exceed their own expectations.'

To find out how to get involved or for more information, visit www.futurefirst.org.uk

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