Pinsent Masons has worked with 12 primary and secondary schools across the UK to improve pupils’ academic achievement and confidence, while supporting the firm’s objectives to recruit and retain motivated employees and develop their skills.
- Pinsent Masons has helped raise attainment, with an average improvement of 12% in GCSE performance in the secondary schools it has supported during the 12 year relationship.
- Employee volunteers have provided positive role models and helped ensure students are prepared for the world of work, with 294 volunteering in the current year.
- Awareness of the importance of businesses and schools working together in the wider community was raised, which has inspired other partnerships.
- The programme supported HR objectives of recruiting, retaining and enabling employees and encouraged team working and cross-team collaboration.
- Offered skills-based volunteering opportunities such as school governance to support employees’ personal development.
- Created opportunities to raise the firm’s profile in the local business community and develop deeper relationships with clients.
Inspiring Young Lives began 12 years ago and is part of Starfish, Pinsent Masons’ community investment programme. It represents a long-term commitment to improving academic achievement, raising aspirations and creating better life chances for children in some of the most socially deprived areas of the UK. In the English secondary schools involved in the programme, 58% of students are eligible for the pupil premium.
Improving academic performance
Pinsent Masons has worked with each partner school to identify its specific needs and develop a programme which uses the firm’s employees’ skills to make a difference. As well supporting academic improvement, employee volunteers provide positive role models and make students more aware of career and higher education opportunities.
Initially, most schools wanted Pinsent Masons to support students who were not achieving expected levels in literacy and numeracy. If children are to achieve their potential, poor academic performance needs to be tackled at an early stage so the firm works with both primary and secondary schools, with pupils from year 3 to year 11. In the academic year 2013/2014, an average of 95% of pupils on Pinsent Masons’ maths and reading mentoring programmes in England met or exceeded expected levels of progress. Other initiatives include careers mentoring and training for staff and governors. The firm has a staff member on the governing body of 33% of the partner schools.
Each school partnership is managed by an internal relationship manager, with overall supervision from a relationship partner. This mirrors how Pinsent Masons manages client relationships and ensures school partnerships are treated with equal importance.
Building confidence and improving reputation
Over 12 years, Inspiring Young Lives has supported more than 3,500 pupils and in 2013/14 the programme helped 688. Although the primary focus is on literacy and numeracy, Pinsent Masons’ staff say they find the visible increase in pupils’ confidence most rewarding. In a survey of staff who volunteered for the schools programme, 98% rated their experience as good or excellent and 98% said would participate again.
The school partnerships have attracted positive press coverage including in the national CBI magazine, Business Voice, The Sunday Times, the Telegraph and the Yorkshire Evening Post.
What Pinsent Masons' Senior Partner said:
"Pinsent Masons is committed to doing business responsibly and to making a positive contribution to the lives of our people, clients and the communities in which we work. One of the aims of our local community investment programme, Starfish, is to galvanise Pinsent Masons’ people to inspire young lives through volunteering. We believe that it is vital to support young people in gaining the key skills which will help them to find a route into employment and we are proud to see the results of our school partnerships programme" - Richard Foley, Senior Partner