Video: Jermaine Jenas explains how the scheme was born
Aquinas Education – fronted by Forest favourite Jermaine Jenas – and Nottingham City Transport have teamed up in a bid to try and boost the aspiration levels of youngsters, by offering free travel for children going on school trips.
There are several schools taking part in the pilot project this term across the county, with headteachers thrilled at the possibility of opening up the city to their children and saving money in turn.
The 33-year-old said: “We’ve been working broadly as a company for many years with our foundation, helping a number of schools and building that relationship but what we want to do is add even more meat on the bones.
“We sent someone who works with us who used to be a headteacher at the Trinity School (Michael McKeever) and he went to speak to 35 different headteachers about how we could move on our work even further.”
The feedback they got from the headteachers and some pupils was that aspiration levels need raising, but there was a lack of “getting out there and actually seeing things.”
Aquinas has been committed to improving education for pupils as well as acting as a recruitment agency for teachers.
Jenas said: “As an organisation, we have always been about the aspiration levels within all our schools. It’s definitely something that I have always held quite close to my heart because I’ve been very fortunate, coming from Clifton, to get out there and see the world.”
Nicola Tidy, marketing director at Nottingham City Transport said: “We’ve known Michael McKeever for a long time from when he was at Trinity School.
“He asked us if we would be prepared to trial a scheme to give free travel to people at school to get out and see the city where they wouldn’t be able to afford to otherwise.
“I think it’s incredibly important we do this, NCT regularly contributes to the community for good causes and we just felt that this would be worth trialling to see if the schools could take this opportunity of free travel and whether they found the benefit too, but it is very much in the trial stage.”
If the trial is successful, Aquinas will then look to increase the amount of schools involved in the project.
You can hear more from Jermaine tonight on Notts TV News at 5.30 and 6pm.