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Ages 11-16

This is an easy way to inspire pupils who are disaffected, have lost direction or who simply have low self-esteem.

Get in touch with ex-pupils who have been successful at whatever they have chosen to follow in terms of further education or careers. Invite them in at a lunchtime together with your key pupils and lay on a smart lunch.

Let the ex-pupils talk briefly about what they have done since leaving school and get your pupils to ask questions, such as: "What is college really like?" and "Does it matter how many GCSEs I get?"

The buzz from such a meeting is more than you could ever get from you telling them about the future yourself.

Some may even know the ex-pupils via siblings and this has its own draw.

If you are not in touch with ex-pupils start this year with your leavers and keep in touch via email with your best, brightest and most outgoing. They will be great role models for future pupils.

Sara Sullivan is head of languages at Woodlands School in Basildon.

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