i Editor's Letter: Back to school


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The Independent Online


Back in November, the Prime  Minister called on Britain’s business leaders to head back to school  – for 1,000 of them to visit state  secondaries around the country to encourage and inspire students.

I’m pleased that i is now working with the Confederation of British Industry and different professions to support this fine initiative. Today the first tranche of leaders offer their backing: the advertising and creative industries are quickest off the mark, great credit to them. Others will  follow their example.

i and the Advertising Association are partnering to support the charity Speakers for Schools,  founded by the BBC Economics Editor Robert Peston. It provides state  secondary students around the UK with talks from “inspiring, industry- leading figures” for free. We at i are building on our Back to School  campaign with the superb social enterprise charity Future First  (see ind.pn/backtoschool). Today’s batch of eager executives includes figures from Google, M&C Saatchi, Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

The director-general of the CBI, John Cridland, delivers a call to arms in i: he asks for hundreds of businesses to come forward to  “support schools and young people to raise ambition and achievement”. As for what the speakers get out of it, he says they can be “inspired by the ideas, energy and creativity that abound in schools”. (I vouch for this.)

Yesterday the president of the Royal Television Society and chair of the Arts Council England, Sir Peter Bazalgette, went back to school to speak to students. His first-person account will run in Monday’s paper.

We have plans afoot to work with other industries on the initiative – we’ll run case studies of interesting and inspiring careers along the way – and we welcome your ideas, as ever.


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