Wednesday, 30 May 2018


“Tomorrow’s schools will need to help students think for themselves and join others, with empathy, in work and citizenship. They will need to help students develop a strong sense of right and wrong, a sensitivity to the claims that others make on us, and a grasp of the limits on individual and collective action. At work, at home and in the community, people will need a deep understanding of how others live, in different cultures and traditions, and how others think, whether as scientists or artists. Whatever tasks machines may be taking over from humans at work, the demands on our knowledge and skills to contribute meaningfully to social and civic life will keep rising.
For those with the right knowledge and skills, digitalisation and globalisation have been liberating and exciting; but for those who are insufficiently prepared, they can mean vulnerable and insecure work, and a life without prospects. Our economies are shifting towards regional hubs of production, linked together by global chains of information and goods, but concentrated where comparative advantage can be built and renewed. This makes the distribution of knowledge and wealth crucial, and that is intimately tied to the distribution of education opportunities.“
ANDREAS SCHLEICHER ‘WORLD CLASS How to build a 21st-century school system’


“In 2015, almost one in two students – representing around 12 million 15-year-olds – was not able to complete even basic reading, mathematics or science tasks1 in the global test known as PISA (the Programme for International Student Assessment) – and these were students living in 70 high- and middle-income countries that participated in the test. Over the past decade, there has been virtually no improvement in the learning outcomes of students in the Western world, even though expenditure on schooling rose by almost 20% during this period. In many countries, the quality of the education a student acquires can best be predicted by the student’s or his or her school’s postal code....  change can be an uphill struggle. Young people are less likely to invest their time and energy in better education if that education seems irrelevant to the demands of the “real” world. Businesses are less likely to invest in their employees’ lifelong learning if those workers might move away for a better job. And policy makers are more likely to prioritise the urgent over the important – even if the latter includes education, an investment in the future well-being of society.... in most countries we can find excellence in education in some of the most disadvantaged schools. And consider that many of today’s leading education systems have only recently attained these top positions. So it can be done.
And it must be done. Without the right education, people will languish on the margins of society, countries will not be able to benefit from technological advances, and those advances will not translate into social progress. We simply cannot develop fair and inclusive policies and engage all citizens if a lack of education prevents people from fully participating in society.”
ANDREAS SCHLEICHER ‘WORLD CLASS How to build a 21st-century school system’

Friday, 18 May 2018


"Public service is a combination of 2 things. The small, routine, mundane, but reliable processes & actions that bind us together. And the big picture, the vision of a better future & the values that drive those who deliver public services" - @CEisenhart

Monday, 30 April 2018

NESTA: Linking skills to occupations: Using big data to build a new occupational taxonomy for the UK

Nesta says that "the skills we need for work are changing" and don't we know it...
"From automation to climate change and from globalisation to our ageing population, there are a myriad of factors changing the nature of work in the UK. These factors mean the majority of workers are in occupations with highly uncertain futures (Bakhshi, Downing, Osborne and Schneider, 2017).
Amidst this changing landscape, policymakers, educators, businesses and individuals need timely information on how occupations are changing and how they can help workers to transition out of at-risk occupations where skills are becoming redundant. To generate these insights we need a framework that links skills to occupations."

Jyldyz Djumaliev, Antonio Lima and Cath Sleeman have been doing some interesting research to group occupations on the basis of skill requirements contained in 37 million UK job adverts. The resulting occupational classification captures both the skill specialisations and skill levels of occupations. Over the next six months, Nesta will be working to show how this work, which links occupations to skills, can be applied to learn more about skill needs in the UK. 

Watch this space!

Thursday, 22 March 2018


I was at the Sheffield Inclusion Centre this morning with my colleague Andy Ireland who is the headteacher at the Centre. 
Andy and his team, at the Centre aim to provide a dynamic and supportive learning environment for young people who have found school challenging for a number of reasons. A team of, I counted 61 on the noticeboard in the reception area, experienced and committed staff who understand the youngsters individual needs, deliver a curriculum which promotes both their academic achievement and their personal development and prepares them for a return to mainstream/special school or, full time further education, an apprenticeship or a job with training.

Andy and I discussed having a group of their Year 10 students on a Cutlers' 'Better Learners, Better Workers' programme starting in September. This could connect to post-16 vocational pathway provision at Sheffield College linked to areas like engineering, catering, construction and health and social care. Interesting times.... w
atch this space!


I was at Westfield School last night to celebrate the achievements of their Year 11 students who had completed the Cutlers' 'Better Learners, Better Workers' programmes.

We know that BLBW is one of the most successful employability and world of work programmes in the country and the wonderful young people receiving their passport certificates last night demonstrate why it is so successful and why it is important to extend and further develop it to reach even more young people.

Monday, 19 March 2018


Last year, the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust brought together colleagues from across the region to present how, with determination and collective endeavour, we can maximise the economic and social potential of the Sheffield City Region (SCR).
The launch was the start of a journey towards an SCR Vision. The group have now produced a newsletter, describing some of the positive developments there have been in some of the six areas highlighted as critical, including the Cutlers' 'Better Learners, Better Workers' programmes. These individual initiatives and strengths, as well as the collaborations across our anchor institutions and with other partners, all combine towards achieving the collaborative shared vision.

"As we said in our report, we care deeply about our region and hence we remain keen to help and support our elected leaders, businesses and other organisations, as they drive the region forward to be a truly great place for all its citizens."

Tony Pedder OBE
On behalf of the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

"Better Learners Better Workers
The Better Learners Better Workers programme - launched in 2010 when the Company of Cutlers, which represents top engineering and manufacturing employers in Sheffield City Region, undertook a study with Sheffield City Council into what employers needed from school leavers - now reaches across South Yorkshire, with programmes running in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. At the heart of the programme is embedding of work skills into the curriculum through real-life industry projects and training sessions, work placements, internships, and greater engagement between employers and schools. There are now programmes in 30 schools training 500 Ambassadors and reaching over 6000 young people across the Sheffield City Region."

Wednesday, 28 February 2018





The Cutlers' 'Better Learners, Better Workers' programmes will help school's Careers Leaders deliver a lot of the statutory requirements around the Gatsby benchmarks. 
We can help schools address the needs of individual students, particularly those on pupil premium and from harder to reach communities. We can provide up-to-date, local and relevant carers advice and labour market information. We can provide high quality experiences of the workplace and  encounters with employers and employees.  We can also provide encounters with higher and further education. Importantly, we can also provide each targeted student with a business mentor who will work with the student during the programme to support them as they develop the skills needed to thrive and succeed in the world of work.

Monday, 26 February 2018


Importantly, the DfE see that skills matter and that we all need to make the most of everyone's skills and talents. This important principal lies at the heart of the Cutlers 'Better Learners, Better Workers' programmes and we will be celebrating the achievements of 169 young people on Wednesday evening at the Cutlers Hall in Sheffield! These talented, wonderful, creative and determined young people have worked with us to develop the skills that matter over the last two and a bit years and employers in the Sheffield City Region recognise them as the future!!


We are facing a big week for the 'Better Learners, Better Workers' scheme with a celebration conference on Wednesday at the Cutlers Hall in Sheffield, followed the same evening by a celebration of what really matters... our ambassadors; the young people who have lit up the programmes over the last two and bit years. We are expecting around 170 young people, and their parents, carers and guests, to bring the Cutlers Hall to life as they accept their passport certificates from this year's Master Cutler.