Alumni networks crucial to Covid recovery

Future First has called for policy makers to make alumni networks “a fact of life for all state schools” as the country emerges from the Covid crisis.

Writing for a policy pamphlet looking at how Britain rebuilds following the pandemic, the charity’s Chief Executive, Lorraine Langham says “one of the most depressing realities” of the crisis “has been the discriminatory nature of the virus, on health and in education”.

She argues that Covid-19 had been “a wake-up call that must be heeded” so “every child gets a fair chance to succeed”.

In the article entitled “How to break the public school grip on the City”, published today by Labour in the City, Lorraine says: “For the 7% of pupils who attend independent schools, repeated lockdowns have had a relatively modest impact on their education.”

“For the 93% of pupils in state education, the experience has been far less consistent. Poorer families struggled to access the technology, pay data charges, and provide the space needed to support learning at home.”

Pointing to evidence that the education of more disadvantaged children has suffered most during lockdowns, the article argues alumni networks for all state schools are crucial to redressing the existing imbalance in favour of those from privileged backgrounds pursuing financial services careers.

With Future First working with 400 schools and over 70,000 pupils, the charity already provides a workable model for closing the social gap in City careers.

Lorraine adds: “The alumni opportunities offered by independent schools… make a huge difference to their students. We need to help state schools to establish the same thriving alumni networks, giving all pupils the information, tools and connections that can help them succeed.

“For every student to benefit from the positive influence of alumni, role models and interactions with leading employers, proactive policy action by government is needed.”

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Lorraine Langham: ‘COVID-19 is a wake-up call that must be heeded’