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Online networking sites can help schools connect with and mentor past pupils

Independent schools' alumni relations growing

UK independent schools are following universities' footsteps by turning their attention to alumni networking

Posted by Stephanie Broad | December 05, 2015 | People, policy, politics

Universities in the UK have long been using alumni networking as a source of mentoring, jobs and funding for current students. The last twelve months has seen a new trend in UK independent schools beginning to look beyond the traditional tools of alumni relations.

“Whilst secondary schools for many years have tried their best to maintain alumni databases, many lose contact with their former students when they move on beyond university,” says Daniel Cohen, CEO of networking platform Graduway. “This is a wasted opportunity for schools to keep in touch, raise funds, and provide mentors for their current students.” 

“Recently, we have seen a new trend in independent schools seeking to renew ties with their alumni.”

UWC Atlantic College, which is located in the 12th Century St Donat’s Castle in Wales, has recently launched UWC Atlantic College Connect in partnership with Graduway. The school has approximately 350 students from more than 90 countries.

“Scattered around the globe, our alumni are part of a 55,000 member UWC alumni community,” says Gerard Kennedy, Development Manager at UWC Atlantic College.

“UWC Atlantic College Connect allows former students to both re-connect with old classmates and use the trusted UWC Atlantic College environment to expand their professional network. 

“25% of alumni have already joined, with an incredible 80% agreeing to mentor a current student. Reflecting the ethos of our school, UWC Atlantic College Connect is cultivating a culture of helping and giving back, and we urge all former students to sign up.”

Other schools launching an online networking and mentoring platform include Sutton Valence School in Kent, JFS comprehensive school in North London, Study Group’s Bellerbys College and Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools in Scotland. 

Manchester Grammar School - the largest independent day school for boys in the United Kingdom – will launch its new platform at the culmination of its 500th anniversary celebrations in early 2016. 

“Our new Graduway networking platform will maximise alumni-to-alumni engagement,” says Simon Jones, Director of Development at Manchester Grammar School. “It will enable us to take our successful communications strategy to the next level.’’ 

‘’It makes sense for secondary schools to focus on alumni, just as much as universities traditionally have,” says Cohen. “Many alumni are willing to give back to their school, and can be a great source of inspiration to students aspiring to better their lives through education.”    

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