City Academy is asking former students to return to its classrooms – after joining forces with a charity whose mission is to create ‘old tie networks’ in state schools to rival those in private education.

The ex-students will volunteer at assemblies and take part in workshops designed to motivate the current crop of pupils and inspire them to broaden their career ambitions.

It’s all part of a campaign by national charity Future First to connect state schools with their alumni, who can act as relatable role models.

City Academy is just one of a thousand schools to sign up to the charity’s vision of every state school or college being “supported by a thriving, engaged alumni community that helps it to do more for its students”.

A statement on the charity’s website reads: “For generations, private schools and universities have effectively harnessed the talent, time and support that former students can offer.

“Since 2009, Future First has been making it easier for state schools and colleges to do the same.”

Across the country, more than 226,000 former students have agreed to stay connected with their old school.

They are motivating young people as career and education role models, mentors, work experience providers, governors and fundraisers.

City Academy is contacting former students in established careers and recent leavers in further education – no matter how far afield they are now.

And the school is keen to hear from any of its alumni who want to get involved in the initiative.

Future First chief executive Matt Lent said: “Students cannot be what they cannot see. It is vital to open their eyes to opportunities beyond their own world and show them the range of jobs available.

“Alumni help schools do this by acting as relatable positive role models. If a student sees someone who has the same background has gone on to achieve success, they are far more likely to think they can too.”

If you’re a former City Academy student and you’d like to get involved, email or register at

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak has meant that the Hackney Citizen has been unable to print a monthly newspaper for the last three months.

The need for quality news and reliable reporting is crucial - however, this is an increasingly challenging time for local journalism.

Our main source of income, print advertising revenue, fell suddenly - and so we are asking you, the readers, for your help.A one-off donation from anyone who can afford it will help our small team get our newspaper back in print and keep the website and social media feeds running through this unprecedented crisis.

Find out how you can donate.

Thanks in advance for your support, and stay safe.