Thursday, 21 January 2016


I was in Sheffield again yesterday with colleagues from the Cutlers' "Made in Sheffield" engineering schools who have worked with us, over the last three years, to develop this unique programme. A programme which helps young people develop skills, attributes and character and understand that anything can be achieved with persistence, determination and hard work.
This brilliant programme is designed to help the Cutlers' schools, Bradfield School, Firth Park Academy, Handsworth Grange Sports College, Outwood Academy City, Stocksbridge High School and Westfield School, deliver the Cutlers' "Made in Sheffield" skills. The 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 by and with Sheffield employers and supported by the Sheffield colleges and universities who are committed to working with the Cutlers' schools to create employable, 'ready for work' young people with a passion for science, technology, engineering and maths!
After three years we have so many great case studies and successes. 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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