Bridging the Gap Campaign – Talk Highlights So Far

23 March 2017

As part of our Bridging the Gap campaign which launched at the start of March, many leading figures have already offered their individual school talks across the country.

See some of the highlights including Baroness Harding, Google’s Matt Brittin, the Prime MinisterJeremy Corbyn and more speaker ambassadors below.

Baroness (Dido) Harding, CEO of TalkTalk spoke with Year 8 and 9 pupils at St Anthony’s Catholic College in Trafford telling them about the advice her war hero grandfather gave her when she was their age: “Never ever give up if you want to be successful.”

Speaking after her talk she said:

“I very much enjoyed talking to the students of St Anthony’s as part of Speakers for Schools. All students should be supported to fulfil their potential, no matter their background or what they dream of achieving. Campaigns such as this one are invaluable in making sure the next generation have the encouragement to know that anything really is possible.”

 

Theresa May, Prime Minister and MP for Maidenhead visited Newlands Girls’ School as part of this talk series.  She addressed the whole sixth form; girls were not informed until a few hours before who their special guest was and were excited to have the chance to hear both from their MP and Prime Minister. Her talk focused on why she chose a path in politics and public service, hoping more young women would aspire to go into public life too and answered questions around what her advice to girls considering politics would be and what were the biggest hurdles in her career.

 

Dame Helen Alexander, Chairman, UBM spoke to 100 year 11 and 6th form students at La Sainte Union Catholic Secondary School, London. Dame Helen focused on her journey and experience being a woman in a male-dominated industry. Students were intrigued by the experiences shared such as going from working in a bookshop to studying a Master’s in Business which gave her the confidence to go on to become a Chief Executive.

Dame Helen expressed the importance of taking calculated risks and forgetting the negative things people said or thought – this was something that occurred to her when she was told she would not get a particular job and then did so in spite of this.

“Helen encouraged the girls to realize their ambitions and not wait ‘til someone else recognised their potential” –  Teacher feedback following the talk

 

Jeremy Corbyn, MP and Leader of the Labour Party talks with students at Ashton Sixth Form College, Tameside.

Principal Anton McGrath said:

“We were very pleased to welcome both Jeremy Corbyn MP and Angela Rayner MP to the college today through the Speakers for Schools charity. The opportunity for our students to listen to their stories and ask questions was a unique experience. The calibre of questioning was excellent with students clearly demonstrating a real passion for politics.”

 

Matt Brittin, President, EMEA Business and Operations, Google attended Green Spring Academy Shoreditch to speak with 100+ Sixth Form and lower school students. He gave some very good advice to pupils. The internet did not exist when he was at school; his job and the specific skills had not even been invented. Students today can face a similar prospect so it is important to be flexible and always ask questions, no one minds if you are keen and wanting to learn.

 

Shirebrook Academy students heard about what it’s like to work at the heart of Government, sit in the House of Lords and even meet the Queen when former education secretary Baroness Estelle Morris came to speak to them.

Mark Cottingham, principal, said:

“We are extremely grateful to Baroness Morris for visiting us and talking about her career in education and politics. It’s only when you hear first-hand from people in the public eye that you realise how success is achieved as much through overcoming setbacks as it is through using talent or ability, which is something we always tell our students.”

 

Of course also out for this campaign is our founder, Robert Peston, Political Editor, ITV and Founder, Speakers for Schools spoke to students as The Boswells School in Chelmsford about recognising and taking opportunities available to them.

A full list of participating speakers can be seen here, and you can see more from our campaign here.  A huge thank you to our speakers and schools for their support!