David Cameron, Lily Cole and Eliza Manningham-Buller to inspire secondary students as 'Speakers for Schools' returns


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The Independent Online

Politicians, supermodels and sports stars will be blitzing state schools next week in the hope of passing on some of their tips for success to the next generation.

This initiative marks the second anniversary of the founding of "Speakers for Schools" - set up by BBC economics editor Robert Peston as an attempt to provide young people in secondary schools across the UK with access to inspirational speakers.

The glittering array of the speakers will include Prime Minister David Cameron, his deputy Nick Clegg and Labour’s shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, from the world of politics, as well as supermodel Lily Cole, Nicholas Hytner, the executive director of the National Theatre, the former director of MI5 Eliza Manningham-Buller, ex-England rugby player Will Greenwood and tennis coach Judy Murray - mother of Andy.

The week coincides with the launch of the i’s campaign to persuade more state schools to make use of inspirational alumni to inspire the current generation of young people in our schools.

“The more confident and ambitious our young people can become, the better placed Britain will be to meet the profound economic challenges ahead,” said Mr Peston. 

Andrew Law, chairman of the charity’s board of trustees, who will return to his old school, Cheadle Hulme High in Manchester, added: “Young people today face many challenges and this research shows that, while remaining optimistic about their futures, many lack the confidence to aim high and unlock their full potential.”

The week-long series of visits also coincides with the results of a survey of 15 to 18-year-olds showing there is still optimism amongst those approaching the school leaving age about their prospects for the future. 

While 69 per cent were anxious about the future and 62 per cent were not confident about finding jobs, four out of five (83 per cent) have faith that hard work will allow them to achieve in life. In addition, seven out of ten still want to go to university.