Pandemic response: importance of alumni to deliver the Prime Minister’s ambitions

Future First’s Chief Executive has emphasised the importance of alumni support to deliver the Government’s ambition that ‘no child is left behind’ following the pandemic.

Welcoming new preliminary research by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) into the requirements for an effective education recovery, Lorraine Langham, said: “The EPI has highlighted the disturbing loss to young people’s education and recognised widening inequalities. Quite rightly, it emphasises the need for significant funding not just for core subjects, but to boost extra-curricular programmes, mental health and wellbeing.

“We know that young people’s hopes, ambitions and resilience have been badly knocked during the coronavirus crisis and this has particularly impacted more disadvantaged groups – widening the attainment gap. If a young person is unable to engage with their education, feels hopeless, demotivated or lacks confidence for the future, how can we expect them to succeed?

“Past pupils can play a powerful role in the recovery – they are an effective, inexpensive, underutilised and sustainable resource for every school. Not only can they support the provision and delivery of extra curricular activities, meeting successful ‘people like me’ increases confidence, resilience, motivation to study and engagement with school work.

“Indeed, scientific evidence is now backing up the importance of relatable role models in helping young people to make the most of their education.

“The Government should avoid its education recovery programme focusing too narrowly and must recognise the non-academic barriers preventing many young people from reaching their full potential.

“Encouraging the growth of alumni networks in state schools would be a great place to start. Not only can they assist in delivering recovery, they build social capital and give young people connections for life. Surely it’s time for the “old boys’ network” to include everyone?

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