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Growing the reach of the FT Schools programme

Krishan Puvvada approached the FT with an idea in 2016 about how journalism could be used to help students prepare for university and life beyond the classroom. Having helped to get this project off the ground, Krishan returned to spearhead the initiative in September 2018 after finishing his A-Levels.

By Krishan Puvvada, FT Schools Lead

In May 2019, the FT’s free for schools initiative, in partnership with MUFG Bank, reached over 37,000 students in 2,600 schools across 101 countries.

During the past nine months, we have worked tirelessly to better understand the needs of students and teachers, and demonstrate how the FT can be a valuable asset in the classroom. Feedback from surveys, interviews and school visits tell us that students use the FT to achieve more in school and prepare for their career.          

The market research we’ve done also made us realise the importance of audio and visual content. In order to ensure the FT addresses these needs, we are planning to launch our very own FT Schools YouTube channel which will host dedicated careers content to help sixth formers make more informed decisions about their future. It has been interesting to see how the FT editorial machine operates and witness first-hand how an idea develops into a high quality piece of content.

In the careers space, we haven’t just worked with our own team, but some third parties too. For example, I have enjoyed helping to coordinate a partnership agreement with InvestIN Education. InvestIN Education is an organisation that offers careers workshops and internships to teenagers, helping them to decide which career is right for them. As part of our partnership with them, all school leavers, who have previously booked a course through InvestIN, will be offered an FT subscription at a reduced price.

Another highlight was working with four successful ‘Study Tubers’ from the world of YouTube who visited the FT at the end of last year. As part of the project, we recorded a podcast together on the topic of productivity - and were lucky enough to quiz the FT’s Editorial Director Robert Shrimsley on how to get the most out of your day.

The idea of using ‘Study Tubers’ came from a sixth form student, Lauren Hulme, who did a period of work experience at the FT last year. Now an intern, Lauren is helping us to build a network of ‘Student Advocates’ who will promote the FT in their school communities. She found her experience at the FT “not only surprising, but immensely enjoyable,” noting that it “struck the perfect balance between helping and leading, and most importantly, that it welcomed the ideas of people who are very young and relatively inexperienced.”

Serving as Project Lead for the Schools Initiative has been extremely fun, and I have learnt so much through meeting lots of new people, getting stuck in with exciting projects, and even travelling with the FT to Tokyo and Tel Aviv. This year promises to be equally fruitful, and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the world of FT Schools!

FT.com is free for secondary schools anywhere in the world. Teachers can register their schools and 16-19 year old students can create their own login at www.ft.com/schoolsarefree to access the FT and receive a weekly schools newsletter with FT content that is recommended by journalists and teachers.