Our Purpose

Our vision is a world where a young person’s start in life does not limit their future.

Why we exist

Britain has a deep social mobility problem. We are working to change this.

Only one in eight children from a low-income background is likely to become a high earner as an adult. Across the UK young people’s experience and opportunities are closely linked to the status of their parents and the area they grow up in.

Our research shows that nearly half of pupils from the poorest backgrounds (on free school meals) don’t know anyone in a job they would like to do. We know this affects young people’s perception of their own ability, their expectations of future success, and the extent to which they value their school work.

Meeting former students helps to change this, boosting young people’s confidence and motivation, and helping to transform their life chances.

Our mission is to see every state school and college in the UK supported by a thriving and engaged alumni community.

Access to relatable role models broadens students’ horizons, helping them to imagine a world beyond their own. Having grown up in the same community and sat in the same classrooms former students are ideal volunteers to be such role models.

For generations, private schools and universities have effectively harnessed the talent, time and support that former students can offer. Since 2009, Future First has been making it easier for state schools and colleges to do the same.

How do we we make it happen?

How do schools use their alumni?

Mock interviews and alumni social events at Eggar’s School

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13 December 2019

Mock interviews and alumni social events at Eggar’s School

Sarah McKenzie, Community Liaison Officer at Eggar’s School, talks to us about their Future First membership and working with their alumni network.

We have about 950 students at Eggar’s, serving the east side of Alton and many of the surrounding villages. Our school day runs from 08:30 until 14:30 and we try to encourage our students to participate in extra-curricular opportunities after school with events such as the Lecture Club and our ten-point challenge ‘Eggar’s Experience’. It is designed to give students the chance to develop their abilities, identify talents and learn new skills alongside their academic work. Staff run 50+ after school clubs across a wide variety of topics from photography to beginners Spanish.

Catherine, Eggar’s alumnus, acting as a mock interviewer.

We involve alumni in a lot of our events, especially during National Careers Week which last year saw alumni come in to deliver mock interviews for Years 8s and 10s. We chose Year 8s to allow the students to start thinking about their GCSE options in the following academic year. Year 10s were chosen because we wanted them to think about their post-16 placements with only 18 months left of their time at Eggar’s. Not only did the mock interviews help our students to make informed decisions, they also helped dispel the myth that interviews are a stressful experience. The impact on the current students was immediate; they came out of the sessions saying it wasn’t as scary as they thought it would be, that the interviewer was friendly or that they’d asked the interviewer for advice on what they should do next. It was really encouraging and valuable for all involved. I know that the alumni enjoyed the sessions just as much as the students. We’re planning to repeat the exercise for National Careers Week 2020 – so watch this space!

We’ve also had alumni come in for Lecture Club which is part of the Eggar’s Experience and our careers and guidance programme. The lectures are often interactive with the speakers encouraging students to ask questions. Recently a former student came in and delivered an hour long lecture on future pathways and how to keep going despite unexpected setbacks. It was great to see our students interact with people in the world of work.

In September we hosted our inaugural alumni social event which was well attended. The evening consisted of drinks and nibbles, student led tours and brief presentations from members of staff. The alumni enjoyed being back and seeing the changes in the school. We had an alumnus who was Head Girl at Eggar’s in the 1950s – and she is now coming back to help us choose the next Head Boy and Head Girl! Another former student, Ellora, thanked us for putting on a wonderful event which had brought back many memories. She was even able to find her exact seat in her old English classroom!

One of our alumni wasn’t able to make the social event because he lives and works abroad. However, when I heard that he was over for work and staying locally, I invited him back for a tour of the school. We’re delighted to see any alumni who can’t make our official events. If there’s a gap in my schedule, I’ll happily show them around.

We’re planning another alumni social event in May 2020 and hope it will become an annual event.

If you’d like more information about Future First membership, email us at info@futurefirst.org.uk

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The positive impact of former students at Madani Schools’ Federation

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19 November 2019

The positive impact of former students at Madani Schools’ Federation

Imtiaz Patel, Deputy Head of Madani Schools’ Federation, talks to us about the positive impact of former students.

We are a federation of two schools, Madani Boys School and Madani Girls School. The schools are relatively small, both with ‘good’ Ofsted ratings and high student performance, especially in the Girls School. We’re an Islamic faith school with students from many different ethnic backgrounds and approximately one third of our students on free school meals.

Through joining Future First I’d like to see former students who work in a range of employment sectors and job fields to come in and speak to our young people through events like assemblies, award evenings and careers fairs. It would also be valuable to use our alumni to help our current students in arranging work experience placements depending on the expertise and support the alumni can offer.

The main alumni event we’ve had since joining Future First was during our awards evening where former students were invited back to speak to our young people. They came in and spoke about their challenges and their journeys since leaving the schools which hopefully left the students feeling inspired. The audience was not only filled with students receiving awards but also with parents and other members of the community who could see the impact that bringing former students back could have on the schools.

The alumni who returned to the schools included a GP and an Accountant. They were able to talk about what they’d learned from their time at school and how we supported them going forward with their careers. They’d both left the school about 10 years ago which was good because they were able to give a bit more of a comprehensive journey of their time since leaving.

I want our current students to be aspirational through having access to alumni role models and I want our alumni to be able to support the students in making well informed careers based decisions. It’s great for our young people to see live case studies of former students who once sat in their stools and on their chairs; seeing what they’ve gone on to do, taking different pathways within their career journeys. It’s also a brilliant opportunity for us as a school to be able to see our former students and keep up to date with what they’ve gone on to do.

If you’d like more information about Future First membership, email us at info@futurefirst.org.uk

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Opportunities and Life After School Options at Great Torrington

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13 September 2019

Opportunities and Life After School Options at Great Torrington

Sandra Peters, Personalised Learning Manager at Great Torrington School, explains how alumni can help current students figure out life after school.

Great Torrington School is a predominantly rural school for students aged 11-16. Many pupils bus in from local villages, with a number coming from the small town of Torrington and the larger nearby town of Bideford too. We have lower than average FSM percentages and higher than national average SEN with statement or EHC plan students.

We were lucky enough to receive the Future First support free of charge as part of our partnership with Next Steps SW and started working with Future First in 2018.

Since starting our membership, we have invited alumni in for a number of events including PSHE sessions, careers sessions and for Duke of Edinburgh presentations.

Back in January we had six alumni in to speak to Year 11 during their PSHE lessons about their career journey, the qualifications they gained and their life experiences. Year 11 can be so focused on exam preparation and revision that students can lose sight of the bigger picture, amazing opportunities and life after school options and experiences, so it was great to hear from our alumni about what they’ve gone on to do.

The alumni visitors talked about their experience at GTS and where they went on to study, qualifications they gained and the careers these lead onto. The volunteers were wonderful, all doing different things they could talk about with our students. We had business people, FE/HR students and an Olympic coach!

The Year 11 students were able to ask questions and it was great to see them interacting with the visitors. Their life stories of travel, education, career change and achieving their goals was inspiring and the students gave positive feedback at the end of the session.

Sign your school up to Future First’s alumni network here.

 

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