VALE sixth formers are to be helped to win places at top UK universities under a nationwide programme designed to boost Welsh state students’ academic potential.
The programme will harness the skills and experience of former students to inspire and support the high achievers of the current generation to gain places at Russell Group universities across Britain.
The initiative will be run by the education charity Future First and is commissioned by the Welsh government. The partnership will be the start of a national culture of Welsh university alumni engagement enabling Welsh schools to build sustainable long term networks of professionals in a range of careers.
Future First will work with the Seren network’s regional hubs linking Welsh alumni from prestigious UK universities with state school students in their home regions.
The former students will volunteer in schools alongside teachers and careers staff by acting as career and education role models, motivational speakers and mentors.
Future First will train hub co-ordinators on how to build and engage a ‘former student network’, support hubs to trace alumni and maximise their impact and run assemblies and workshops with former students in each of the hubs.
The initiative builds on Future First’s proven work in more than 400 state secondaries across the UK enabling schools to harness the untapped experience and skills of alumni and encourage students to understand the relevance of their studies to their future working life.
Future First research shows alumni are vital in motivating students to succeed with 75 per cent of students hearing from alumni at Future First events saying they are immediately inspired to work harder in school.
Christine Gilbert, executive chair of Future First and a former Ofsted Chief Inspector, said there was a huge need to support state educated students to achieve their potential.
“Every state school student should have the opportunity to succeed in the world of work, regardless of their background.
“Our work with the Seren network will enable schools to harness the skills and experience of alumni as role models who inspire and motivate current students. If students see ‘people like me’ have succeeded, they are more likely to believe they can too.
They work harder and have higher expectations of success.”
Nisha Shukla, youth engagement and progression officer at the Vale Council, said: “Working with Future First is an excellent catalyst to start building on the existing alumni connections in the Vale to one central point for all sixth form schools to access.
“It is important that we track the journey of our students once they leave sixth form schools to go on to leading Universities, moving into chosen professions thereafter and become positive role models for our future students.”
The Vale of Glamorgan regional hub wants to hear from alumni of top UK universities who grew up in the region on http://hwb.wales.gov.uk/seren.
The hub is made up of the following partner senior schools and colleges: Barry, Bryn Hafren, Cowbridge, Llantwit Major, St Cyres, Stanwell,Ysgol Bro Morgannwg and Cardiff and Vale College.