Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE has officially opened our new £30million Charles Street Building – home of the Sheffield Institute of Education (SIoE). The new building houses more than 150 academic staff and 5,000 students, making it one of the largest providers of education training and research in the UK. The facility is part of a £100m investment in Sheffield which will transform parts of the city centre.

The official opening of Charles Street  took place as part of the SIoE’s Social Justice and Inclusion in Education conference, which was focused on an expert panel discussion: ‘What is a socially just and inclusive education system?’

Baroness Lawrence established the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them start careers in architecture, journalism and law. She is also an Honorary Doctor of Laws at Sheffield Hallam.

Baroness Lawrence said, ‘I’m delighted to have joined so many people from across the education sector in the region to celebrate the opening of this outstanding new resource whilst also exploring an issue that is so close to my heart – ensuring we have a socially just and inclusive education system.

‘As an honorary doctor of this great institution, I’m particularly pleased to help the University mark a key milestone in an already impressive record on education provision and research.’

Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Husbands said, ‘Baroness Lawrence is a close friend of the University and we were delighted that she was able to officially open the fantastic Charles Street building, whilst also taking the time to actively engage and drive debate at the following conference.’

The national conference at Charles Street, led by Professor Dame Alison Peacock, will attract more than 500 education experts from across the UK, along with 70 speakers, in a series of workshops and lectures throughout the day.