South Yorkshire Futures – a year of progress and a platform for change

By Greg Burke, Director of South Yorkshire Futures

Greg is a teacher recruitment and retention expert, having spent most of his career working for the Department for Education (DfE) and the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

Greg has been seconded from DfE to support the development of South Yorkshire Futures.


In just a few weeks we will celebrate the first year of South Yorkshire Futures – a programme initiated by Sheffield Hallam University and supported by the Department of Education which aims to secure sustained improvements in educational attainment and the aspirations of young people in our region, supporting improved progression into higher education and work.

This is a genuine commitment from Sheffield Hallam to ensure the young people of this region get the best possible start in life and the same opportunities afforded to their peers across the country.

This is the most ambitious social mobility project led by a university in the country – we should be very proud. What the team has achieved over the last 12 months has been tremendously encouraging and provides the perfect platform for the next phase of South Yorkshire Futures. We have been delighted with how the programme has been welcomed by a wide range of supporters – and the rapid progress made on key projects, including:

  • ‘Partnerships for Attainment’ – A collaborative approach to attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining trainee/new teachers
  • A shared Regional Vision for Early Years
  • A sustainable resource model for employers to support schools – including the Sheffield Hallam School Governors’ Programme
  • Head Teacher training for the Foundation Stage
  • Creating accessible education and employment pathways linked to regional skills needs (including apprenticeship routes)
  • Extra-curricular Skills Framework
  • Shared regional understanding of school readiness
  • Working with the LEP to develop high quality CEIAG and achievement of Gatsby benchmarks.

But we are not naïve. This is a complex area of work which will not be completed overnight. This is why we need the continued support of colleagues right across the University – to ensure the momentum the programme has achieved to date continues to gather pace.

If this is all new to you, I would urge you to visit the website to find out more about the work being undertaken by your talented and committed colleagues. I will also host a Transforming Lives session on 18 and 19 September if you want to hear more about the programme or ask any questions.

On 18 September we will also host our one-year-on event: South Yorkshire Futures: Working
Together to Transform Lives
, at which Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Jarvis MBE MP, will be our guest speaker. Dan – a keen supporter of the programme – will discuss the potential of South Yorkshire Futures to positively impact on the life opportunities of our young people – linking to his own vision for education and its intrinsic link to the success of the region as a whole.

This is just a snapshot of the work we are undertaking to ensure South Yorkshire Futures achieves its mission. And there is still lots of work to do. If you think you can help in any way please do drop me a line at g.burke@shu.ac.uk. Together we can make a difference to those who need it most.

Greg

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