Wednesday, 13 March 2013

IMPORTANT STUFF: The Cutlers' "Made in Sheffield" Programme

Off to Sheffield again today to see colleagues from the schools and colleges involved in the Cutlers' "Made in Sheffield" Programme. This is a unique programme developed in Sheffield by schools, colleges and businesses working together to help young people develop the skills and abilities they need for the world of work.
It has been a strangely depressing time for those of us who care passionately about education and learning with the ongoing very negative and destructive debate about the curriculum, testing, qualifications, academies, free schools and inspection. And as we watched the Olympics and Paralympics last Summer and marveled at what our athletes achieved you realise how important character, determination, grit, persistence and sheer hard work are to success in whatever you do. The Cutlers' "Made in Sheffield" Programme is designed to help the Cutlers' schools; Bradfield School, Firth Park Community College, Stocksbridge High School and Yewlands Technology College, and the Sheffield Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust schools; Firth Park Community College, Forge Valley Community School and Meadowhead School and Languages College develop in their students the Cutlers' " Made in Sheffield" skills: character, core skills and higher level skills. The higher level skills are focused around a plan, do, review cycle ( planning and exploring, organising and implementing and reviewing and learning) and focus on critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork. The real difference in the approach we are developing is that the whole project has been developed with Sheffield employers, and the Sheffield colleges and universities, who are committed to working with the Cutlers' schools to create employable, 'ready for work' in science, engineering, advanced manufacturing or the hospital! We are also building links and learning pathways with the new UTC (University Technical College) which will open in September 2013!

We know what works; feedback, mentoring, coaching and one-to-one tuition and these elements lie at the heart of the Cutlers' Curriculum and we must be brave enough to expose the myth that environment and deprivation rather than character are a better explanation of why people behave and act as they do. Too many people with vested interests have persuaded us that our energy, efforts and resources should be directed at correcting social problems and addressing poor performance rather than developing strategies and approaches focused on academic and technical excellence, developing higher level skills and abilities, shaping character, resilience and grit and nurturing innovation and creativity. This fixed mindset approach sees young people from poorer communities as needing discipline, command and control rather than opportunities, expectation and esteem. We need to create a learning landscape where we see potential in every child and provide opportunities and help all our young people achieve their goals and release their talent and magic!

If you want to find out more about the work we are doing in Sheffield please let me know.

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