By Maximilian Clarke

Robert Peston, the BBC's Business Editor, has launched a charity aiming to motivate and inspire children from disadvantaged backgrounds through talks from motivational guest speakers.

"I passionately wanted to create Speakers for Schools because now, more than ever, it matters that young people are told that they are valued and are encouraged to aim high,” explains Peston. “One way of doing this is for inspirational speakers, brilliant thinkers, leading business people and community figureheads to go into schools in order to share their precious knowledge and experience.

“I decided to found it after being inundated with requests from leading public schools to talk to their kids, but getting almost no invitations from the kind of state comp I attended. So I am trying to level the playing a little and make it easier for state schools to get such speakers."

The charity will offer young people the same exposure to the world’s business and political leaders enjoyed by pupils of the country’s top private schools, helping to prepare the next generation for key roles in the UK economy.

“All students need good role models,” commented Brian Lightman, General Secretary, Association of School and College Leaders, “they need to see first-hand that they can succeed in whatever field they choose and that they should aim even higher than they think possible. Speakers for Schools is an excellent resource for bringing business leaders into contact with young people in schools which may not otherwise have access to well known, high profile, inspirational speakers.”

Confirmed speakers include: George Alagiah (BBC News), William Boyd (author), Damon Buffini (business leader), Sir Suma Chakrabarti (Ministry of Justice), Marcus Davey (Roundhouse theatre), Martha Lane Fox (founder Lastminute .com), Andy Haldane (Bank of England), Julia Hobsbawm (PR and writer), Laurence Hollingworth (J.P. Morgan,) Ruby McGregor-Smith (FTSE 100 CEO), Sir John Parker (National Grid), Robert Peston (BBC), Trevor Phillips, (Equality & Human Rights Commission), Dame Marjorie Scardino (Pearson), Philipp Schindler (Google)

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