The influence of former pupils
I met James Crisp this week. He opened the new building at Arnold Hill. He was really proud to unveil the plaque as he was a student at the school between 1994 and 2001 before he went on to have a really successful career in which he won 12 Paralympic swimming medals, including 4 golds. James travelled from Sheffield and spent 3 hours at the academy. He met BBC East Midlands and Notts TV - the coverage was great - and he spoke impressively in front of Year 7 students and 20 guests from across the community. It was a pleasure to meet him and I hope we can keep in touch.
A year ago the MP for Barnsley Dan Jarvis visited Rushcliffe (his old school) and made a really positive impression as he wished John Rick well in his retirement. Julian Bennett is an ex-Forest player and former Farnborough pupil and he has returned to join the pastoral team at his old school. He seems to be enjoying himself.
I give these examples because we should not underestimate what people think of their schools. Some people have bad experiences but most don't and the memories stay with them, meaning that when they are asked to contribute in some way they are keen to do so.
The more former pupils we can keep in touch with the better. They have forged careers and developed skills which can inspire those who are following. If anyone knows of any ex-pupils who are keen to talk to groups of current pupils then please let me know. Engaging with the alumni matters.