A SCHEME to get Bradford pupils to raise their aspirations is asking them to consider the benefits of a good education.

The Community Champions scheme sees local people from different walks of life visit schools and talk to pupils about how they have made a success of their lives.

It was set up by Gill Arnold, the Deputy Chairman of the West Yorkshire Magistrates Branch, who felt young people would have more motivation to perform well in school if they could see then end result - local success stories who have got where they are today through hard work.

Among the community champions are Nirmal Singh, chairman of property developers The Sekhon Group, Bingley born Chief Superintendent Scott Bissett, Bradford District Commander for West Yorkshire Police, Sharon Jandu, director of TechATP, a Microsoft Education Partner, and world champion boxer Tasif Khan.

The champions visit schools and show the real world benefits of performing well in school.

Mrs Arnold said she was inspired to set up the project due to her work in youth courts, where she regularly sees young people who have left school without qualifications fall into a life of crime.

She said: “Some young people are just not interested, they think there is nothing out there for them. They treat school like it is a youth club that opens from 8.30am to 3.30pm.

“They don’t see the connection between working hard and having a successful, fulfilling life at the end.

“It is important to get them to look at education in a different way.

“I see it as an educational bank account. The more you invest and put in it, the more you have at the end.

“We want to inspire these people, make them realise if they do well in school then they will be more likely to have a good life, achieve the things they want, have the money to buy the things they want. Young people don’t walways think that way when they’re at school.

“The community champions we have are all successful in their own right, 90 per cent were born and bred here. It is important we show young people that people from similar backgrounds to them can succeed.”

The champions recently visited pupils at Carlton Bolling School to give an inspirational assembly to Year 11 pupils.

Councillor Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills said: “ The Community Champions scheme is a brilliant way of getting our young people to meet and be inspired by different role models from Bradford. The Community Champions have all taken different paths but they all help to get across the same message to young people that their education matters and the work they put in now can help them to achieve their ambitions.

“The project is a perfect example of Bradford’s Education Covenant in action. As the Covenant makes clear, education is everyone’s business and it is great to see successful people from different walks of life giving their time to support the education of young people across our district.

“Gill Arnold has done brilliant work as the driving force behind this project and she is to be congratulated for the launch of Community Champions and the impact they are already having.”