Alumni Officer placed in state schools

Six state schools in Sussex, Berkshire and Hampshire are to have an alumni officer based on site enabling them to harness the talents of former students to inspire the current generation to career confidence and academic success.

The six schools have signed up to a  scheme run by the national education charity Future First and funded by The Blagrave Trust allowing them to unlock the untapped potential of alumni and use it to develop more ambitious thinking about careers through state ‘old school tie’ networks.

The initiative demonstrates the growing importance schools place on preparing students for their working life and teaching the soft skills employers want.

The schools are Portslade Aldridge Community Academy in Brighton, ARK William Parker Academy in Hastings, ARK Helenswood Academy in St. Leonards on Sea, Churchmead Church of England School in Slough, Blessed Hugh Faringdon Catholic School in Reading and Fernhill School in Farnborough.


Ellie Newbery, an alumni officer with Future First, has been based part-time in the schools from this September. She will develop their alumni networks and work with teachers and careers staff to deliver a bespoke package of support to current students through assemblies and workshops, work experience placements and by providing real life examples of the working world in the curriculum.

Future First already works with more than 400 state schools and colleges across Britain helping them use the talents of former students as career role models, work experience providers, mentors, governors, donors and fundraisers.  The Blagrave Trust funded ‘in house’ scheme extends that work by basing an alumni officer directly in the school, allowing them to work even more closely to meet the needs of the current students.

Alex Shapland-Howes, Managing Director of Future First, said, “Schools across Britain know that alumni are crucial in promoting student motivation because they provide relatable role models.

“Having an alumni officer based in schools, working directly with school teachers and careers staff will enhance the opportunities alumni offer their old school.

“Private schools have harnessed the talents of alumni for generations and now state schools students have that same valuable opportunity. “

Ellie Newbery said, “Nearly 70 per cent of 16 to 19-year-olds feel it will be hard to get a good job when they leave school and nearly 40 per cent don’t know anyone in a job they would like to do.  I’m looking forward to working with all the schools to show every student no job is out of their reach.”

Jo Wells, Director of The Blagrave Trust said, “We have already supported the Future First alumni model and were keen to see whether providing deeper support to schools and students via an on-site alumni officer was possible and if it would make a greater impact. Hence we are happy to be supporting this pilot.”

Itziar Leighton, Director of 16-19 Education at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy added “At PACA, we are passionate about equipping our students with the skills to fulfil their potential in life whether that be further education, an apprenticeship or staring their own business. Through our alumni programme, students have the opportunity to mentor with a previous students to gain an invaluable insight into the world of work and many other activities such as workshops and work experience placements. ”

For further details on Future First visit


Picture caption: Ellie Newbery, Future First Alumni Officer.



For further information please contact:

Sue Crabtree. Press Officer. Future First 0207 239 8933

Melanie Robinson. Director of Operations. Future First. 0207 239 8933


For out of hours queries contact :

Alex Shapland-Howes. Managing Director, Future First. 07432 714226


About Future First.

Future First is a leading  national education charity with the vision that every state school and college should be supported by a thriving engaged community of former students who help schools do more for current students.

Future First works in more than 400 state schools and colleges across Britain enabling state schools to harness the talents of alumni to inspire and support current students as career and education role models, work experience providers, mentors and e-mentors, governors, donors and fundraisers and as volunteers more widely.

The 100,000 former students registered with Future First  to stay connected with their former state school or college include leading employers, celebrities and everyday heroes in a range of careers from the professions of law and medicine to plumbing and photography.


About The Blagrave Trust.

The Trust is dedicated to supporting vulnerable  and disadvantaged children and young people to access the opportunities and gain the skills they need to lead fulfilled lives and meet their potential. The Trust seeks out exciting partnerships with organisations  who put young people at the centre of their work.