Ministers back campaign to help state students

Launching today, the i's Back To School campaign helps professionals inspire state school students

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The Independent Online

The Schools Minister and the shadow Education Secretary have endorsed i’s Back to School campaign, which returns today.

Back to School tries to help people from all trades and professions to go back to classrooms in a bid to inspire today’s state school students. More than 90,000 people have signed up, offering to return to their old schools or colleges or help with arranging work experience. Today the  The National Union of Students (NUS) will email 50,000 students asking them to join the campaign.

i is working with the social enterprise charity Future First to build alumni networks in state schools – emulating private schools’ success.

David Laws, the Schools Minister, said that the campaign has the potential to bring about real change.

“I am delighted to support Back to School Week again this year,” he said. “The campaign has the potential to create a culture of volunteering in our state schools and colleges that can change young people’s lives now, and be a resource that teachers can call upon long after.

“Education and career role models, whether a former student of the school, a student from a local university, an apprentice or a nearby employer, can inspire young people about the options available to them when they leave  and give them up-to-date information to give them the edge in a competitive jobs market. I urge everyone to get involved.”

Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Education Secretary, echoed Mr Laws. “I am delighted to throw my weight behind Back to School week,” he said. “Guidance, inspiration, information on the world of opportunities that await young people: we all have to do our bit to support young people to find the path that is right for them. This is a brilliant initiative. The message is clear: get back to school, do your bit.”

Last year, a range of famous faces from the worlds of business, diplomacy, culture, sport and politics went back to school to offer advice on achieving success.

The UK currently has the lowest levels of social mobility in the OECD, while many young people have struggled to enter the job market since the economic downturn.