'Championing the rights of children'

Alumni networks: the benefits missed by state schools

Garry Wed 12 Nov 2014 10:22

Research suggests that state schools could be missing out on thousands of pounds of untapped alumni donations, not to mention volunteer hours. Is it time to change this?

On the face of it, there seems something quiet altruistic about going back to your former school to dispense career advice to current students.

For teenagers, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, former pupils can be easier to relate to than careers advisers – particularly when there is no obvious career path to talk about.

Simply seeing and getting the chance to question someone who, while they may not have trod in your shoes, may literally have sat in the same seat, can be an inspiring experience.

The ‘if she can do it, why can’t I’ attitude is a powerful motivator.

Yet, it doesn’t have to be completely selfless on the part of the alumnus either. There’s certainly something to be said for the pride – I imagine – you feel when invited back to impart your wisdom on sixth formers.

It’s a vote of confidence, a badge of honour, an affirmation that you have something worth saying.

However, whether a selfless or selfish endeavour, there is little doubt that interaction with successful past students can be beneficial to both the school and pupils, past and present.

Traditionally, independent schools have recognised this benefit and have worked hard to engage alumni, both within the school system – providing careers guidance and work experience opportunities – but also through funding.

Read more... (Daily Telegraph – 12 November)