Alumni programs at public high schools in Australia have a positive impact on teacher attitudes, skills, and capacities, according to an international survey of educators.
The study surveyed educators in Australia, Kenya, Pakistan, and the UK whose schools are involved with organised alumni programs and networks.
It found alumni programs for high schools have a positive impact on the professional capacities of teachers and the ability of teachers and schools to strengthen school culture and community ties.
The study, “Positive Outlooks, Stronger Community Ties, was conducted by inHive, a London-based, not-for-profit organisation, in partnership with four non-profit organisations delivering alumni programs to schools – Ourschool (Australia), CARE Foundation (Pakistan), Future First Kenya and Future First UK.
Teacher skills and satisfaction
Ninety per cent of all educators surveyed in Australia, Kenya and Pakistan said the alumni networks at their schools made them feel more positive about their role as an educator. The report said this was a significant finding when many school systems worldwide were struggling with low teacher morale, teacher burn-out and high staff attrition rates.
The study also found:
- 93% of educators said alumni networks gave them access to inspirational role models for their students
- 86% of educators said alumni networks increased their capacity to enrich the curriculum and student learning
- 84% of educators said alumni networks gave them and their students access to professional expertise that they do not have time to access themselves
Strengthening community ties within and beyond the school
The report revealed that alumni networks for schools increased community ties within schools and beyond the school gate:
- 91% of educators said the alumni network fostered a stronger sense of community within the school
- 88% of educators said the alumni network builds stronger connections between the school and its broader community
It found that investing in organised alumni networks for schools provided clear, practical benefits for teacher professional practice, pride, and morale.
Careers teachers said alumni programs helped them link the school curriculum with the contemporary workplace. One hundred per cent of careers teachers said alumni networks helped their professional development and the subject they teach.
Country by country breakdown – Australian results
The report included a country-by-country breakdown of the survey results. Some of the key findings from teachers surveyed in Australian high schools were:
- 100% of teachers said the alumni network at their school made them feel more optimistic about opportunities for students beyond school.
- 96% of teachers said the alumni network made them feel more positive about their role as educators
- 96% of teachers said the alumni network gave them access to inspirational role models for their students
- 85% of teachers said the alumni network increased their capacity to enrich the curriculum and student learning
- 96% of teachers said the alumni network builds a stronger connection between their school and the broader community
- 93% of teachers said the alumni network fosters a stronger sense of community within their school
Schools surveyed in Australia, Kenya and the UK were public (state) high schools, while in Pakistan, the schools were a mixture of state and low fee private schools.
In Australia the study surveyed public high school teachers in Victorian schools. The schools are establishing their own alumni programs with help from Ourschool, a non-profit organisation.
Caroline Milburn, Ourschool’s CEO, said the report revealed how alumni programs that brought former students back to school to enrich classroom learning delivered benefits for teachers as well as current students.
“It’s important for teachers to feel valued by the community,” Ms Milburn said. “Alumni programs are a practical way to support teachers in their role shaping young people’s futures.”