Sheffield Children’s University 2018/19 report

We’re pleased and proud to share the 2018/19 ‘Sheffield Children’s University – How does it make a difference?’ report which provides detailed evidence of the impact of Children’s University (CU) in Sheffield. The report provides evidence of the real difference being part of Sheffield CU makes and includes in-depth analysis of the impact of participation in CU activities on attainment and attendance, and progress measures, as well as anecdotal evidence of impact through a number of case studies.

“I remember coming to the ceremonies with all my friends. It was like a huge gathering for all of us, to get dressed up and feel special which was great. I took my Mum to the ceremonies with me. When she realised all of the amazing things I had been doing through this programme, she was really proud of me and it brought us closer together. My CU experience has definitely aided in my success in gaining a place at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts because without it, I wouldn’t have been so interested at a younger age and I wouldn’t have been so proud of myself, to then push myself to go further with it.”

Stephen, Sheffield CU Alumni

The full report can be viewed online by following this link:

Find out more about Sheffield Children’s University on their website: or on Twitter by following @SheffieldCU






South Yorkshire Talent Bank website launch

Sheffield City Region and South Yorkshire Futures have officially launched the South Yorkshire “Talent Bank,” encouraging businesses and employees to volunteer their time, skills and experience to inform, support and inspire young people from across our region’s diverse communities.

The Talent Bank provides a range of high-quality engagement opportunities which volunteers can sign up to deliver in schools, colleges and training providers across South Yorkshire. To find out more, explore the Talent Bank website:

“I believe that it’s not just the responsibility of schools, colleges and universities to educate and inspire our young people, but it’s also the role of all of us in society – and that includes our businesses. Where you grow up shouldn’t determine where you end up. By connecting schools and colleges with appropriate volunteers and business leaders, we can create new opportunities, broaden horizons, and plant the seeds of ambition from which we can grow the workforce of the future.”
Dan Jarvis MBE MP
Mayor of the Sheffield City Region

South Yorkshire Futures shortlisted for two national awards





The Early Outcomes project which sees South Yorkshire Futures partnering with the four South Yorkshire Local Authorities (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield) has been shortlisted for the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019 in the category of ‘Leadership of the Year’. You can find out more about the UK SOMO Awards on the website:  or on Twitter: @UKSMAwards

In addition, the South Yorkshire Futures programme has been shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community’. More information about the Times Higher Education Awards and details of all the finalists can be found on the website: or on Twitter @timeshighered

Mayor Dan Jarvis launches new Talent Bank for the Sheffield City Region

More than 100 senior business leaders from across our region joined Mayor Dan Jarvis for the launch of a new project that aims to support young people into the world of work.

Sheffield City Region and South Yorkshire Futures have teamed up with Inspiring the Future to launch the “Talent Bank” programme, which will encourage businesses and employees across the region to volunteer their time and inspire young people from all our region’s diverse communities.

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “I believe that it’s not just the responsibility of schools, colleges and universities to educate and inspire our young people, but it’s also the role of all of us in society – and that includes our businesses. Where you grow up shouldn’t determine where you end up. “By connecting schools and colleges with appropriate volunteers and business leaders, we can create new opportunities, broaden horizons, and plant the seeds of ambition from which we can grow the workforce of the future.”

Talent Bank will offer businesses a range of options in which they can contribute in supporting young people. These will include offering careers advice, becoming a school governor and going into schools to speak about careers opportunities.
Organisations or individual employees can register online and provide details about their skills and work history. They can then search the online database and match their skills with volunteer opportunities within their local schools, colleges or respond to school invitations. This means that the business or individual is in control of how many volunteer hours they give.

Research conducted by the Education and Employers charity shows that participation in careers talks with volunteers from businesses can change the attitudes of 14 to 16-year-old students to their education. This can influence their future plans and their subject choices, motivate them to work harder and improve their academic achievement.

Greg Burke, Director of South Yorkshire Futures, said: “Sheffield Hallam University is committed to driving successful partnerships between education and employers. That is why we’re delighted to be launching the Talent Bank as part of the South Yorkshire Futures programme. The Talent Bank is a positive way to demonstrate that we are greater than the sum of our parts. There are some fantastic examples of effective employer engagement already going on in South Yorkshire and this is an opportunity to bring them together as a suite of offers for businesses to engage in, in the right way for them.”

South Yorkshire Futures leads £1 million project to improve speech and language development for under-fives



In partnership with South Yorkshire’s four local authorities South Yorkshire Futures will lead the new £1 million project to reshape early years speech and language services in a bid to improve communications and language skills among the under fives. The project has been funded by the Department for Education.

The partnership will initially review existing services to see how they currently assess children’s language and speech skills and gather data. We will then look at how current systems could be improved to provide the best support for children and families.

Our project team will oversee the development and implementation of a sustainable regional strategy to meet speech, language and communication needs, delivered by multidisciplinary teams including professionals from education and health. A regional training team will also be established to identify any skills gaps across South Yorkshire and then provide tailored courses to train up the workforce. Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Development And Research in Education (CDARE) will also be involved in evaluation of the project.

Research has shown too many children in the region are failing to achieve early learning goals with 4,650 children in South Yorkshire not achieving the expected level of development in communications, language and literacy in 2018.

The aim of this project is to ensure that children receive the help they need in the early years in order to be able to thrive.

The project has been funded as part of a wider national DfE initiative which will see £6.5million for councils to support children with early communication difficulties.

Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Too many children in South Yorkshire face significant barriers to fulfilling their potential. If we are serious about tackling social mobility and raising educational attainment, it is vital that we work collaboratively across our region to give our children the best possible start in life.

“I am delighted that Sheffield Hallam’s South Yorkshire Futures has secured this important project, in partnership with our local authorities, to improve early years speech and language and drive educational improvements across South Yorkshire.”

Education Secretary Damian Hinds MP said: “Ask any parent and they want their child to have the best start in life. But we know that those from a disadvantaged background often start school already behind when it comes to communication and language development.

“This multimillion pound investment will provide better support to families in some of the most deprived areas of the country. No one is born knowing how to be a mum or a dad and parenting does not come with a manual, I want to support families with hints and tips to propel their child’s learning so they can go on to reach their full potential, whatever their background.”

Councillor Nuala Fennelly, Doncaster Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “We are committed to giving our children the very best start in life and the funding for this project, which is the first of its kind, will ensure that early help is available for all families across South Yorkshire who need it. I’m delighted that through our partnership approach, and everyone having the same commitment, we can work together to improve children’s outcomes in our region.”

The project will be delivered in four phases: planning and evaluation; analysis and development; development and delivery and legacy and will start in April 2019.

At the end of the year-long project a strategic board and a regional training team will remain in place in order to continue the work.
Maureen Hemingway, Early Years Foundation Stage Quality, Access and Moderation Manager at Sheffield City Council said: “We are extremely proud of the progress we have made in improving the trend of outcomes for children at the end of the Early Years foundation Stage.

“There is a great increase in the percentage of children achieving the Good level of development as defined by the DfE and we are so proud of the difference we have made for disadvantaged children, where our great outcomes are at a greater pace than the national average.

“The additional funding provides a very exciting opportunity to Sheffield – it will expand resources allowing us to further explore how we can do even better, capitalising on multi-disciplinary knowledge and expertise within and beyond our own local authority. We are delighted to be working with colleagues across South Yorkshire and Sheffield Hallam University.”

Rachel Dickinson, Executive Director, People, at Barnsley Council, said: “We are extremely pleased to be part of this project. Early language skills are very important to children’s development and learning, and the sooner we are able to identify and intervene with children facing any difficulties with speech, language and communication the greater chance we have of supporting and enabling them to achieve their full potential. This project will allow us to build on existing strengths within our early years/early help system and enhance training, practice and skills across the South Yorkshire regional workforce through collaboration and partnership. This will strengthen our ability to provide the right help at the right time to the right children.”

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s services, Councillor Gordon Watson, said: “We are delighted to be part of this regional project to tackle delays in speech, communication and early language development in our young children. Getting the right support to ensure every child can make the best start in life is one of the key priorities to help children reach their potential, thrive and go on to lead successful lives. Children and young people will need the skills, knowledge and experience to fully participate in a highly skilled economy and this collaboration will go a long way to support our aims to extend opportunity and prosperity for all.”

Trauma Informed Schools course featured in Rotherham Advertiser

As part of their ‘Class Action’ campaign against failing mental health in schools the Rotherham Advertiser recently featured an article about Trauma Informed Schools training. The course is currently being delivered by Trauma Informed Schools UK in partnership with South Yorkshire Futures at Sheffield Hallam University.

The practical skills based training course supported by over 1000 evidence-based research studies, is designed to inform and empower school staff to help vulnerable children and most importantly how to feel supported and nurtured in the process. The course aims to enable staff to respond effectively to vulnerable children and those who have suffered a trauma or have a mental health issue. The psychologist led supervision element of the course, provides practitioners with key insights and skills as well as vital support and encouragement.

Professionals from nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools and FE colleges amongst others are participating in the course. Clare Miller, Headteacher at Wath Victoria Primary, says “We currently don’t have the skills to support children who come to us with underlying traumatic experiences and mental health issues. So courses like this can help us to address this knowledge gap at all levels.”

To find out more about Trauma Informed Schools UK and the courses available please visit: 

Wayfinder Recruitment Agency opens in Eckington

Creating the right opportunities for young people to flourish and develop their career.

Wayfinder Recruitment Agency aims to create the right opportunities for young people to flourish and develop their career by helping people with additional needs and disabilities, ages 16-24 years old.

Interns are encouraged to overcome barriers to employment by supporting them through an Employment Pathway allowing them to develop the skills that are required to secure employment.

This very week, after just 5 months of being on a Supported Internship with ETS Alfreton, one of Wayfinder’s interns has been offered paid employment.  Well done!

Brian Harrison, Employer Engagement Manager of Wayfinder said “It is such a privilege to lead the Wayfinder Recruitment Team and to have these wonderful premises here in Eckington. Each member of the team works tirelessly to provide our learners with real work opportunities that could possibly lead to voluntary or paid employment. Seeing our learners grow in confidence and gain essential skills and experience is so rewarding.”

Local MP Lee Rowley, officially opened the Agency on Friday 1st March 2019 at 11.00am. Wayfinder Recruitment is a part of Landmarks Specialist College, locations cover Sheffield, Rotherham, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Any queries please contact Wayfinder Recruitment Agency on 01246 768388 or Our premises are located at:

Wayfinder Recruitment Agency
43 Market Street
S21 4EG

Landmarks Specialist College – upcoming events

On Saturday 6 April 2019 at 11.00 am Landmarks College is holding a general Open Event at Littlemoor House, Apperknowle Farm and Wayfinder Recruitment Agency, which parents/carers, learners, colleagues and any other interested parties are invited to attend.  Please share the attached flyer with anyone you feel may be interested in attending.

You will be able to have a tour of the facilities, speak to staff and enjoy some light refreshments. Learners who are hoping to transfer to Landmarks in September are welcome to join the Open Day as a refresher.

Also, on Thursday 11 April 2019 Landmarks is holding a whole college event – Spring Fest – commencing at 11.00 am, completing at 2.00 pm. Learners are invited to spend some time at this event and join the fun!

For further information or to book onto these events please contact Learner Recruitment on 01246 433788 or

South Yorkshire Futures referenced in Civic University Commission report

Sheffield Hallam University has reiterated its commitment to the Sheffield City Region by pledging to put the economy and quality of life in the local community top of its list of priorities by committing to produce a “Civic University Agreement” in partnership with local government and other major institutions.

The new agreement is a key recommendation in a report published by the Civic University Commission set up by the UPP Foundation and chaired by Sheffield Hallam’s Chair of Governors, Lord Bob Kerlsake.

The report sets out how universities have the capability, opportunity and responsibility to support the places where they are based to solve some of their most pressing and major problems.

These issues range from are helping local business adapt to technological change, to boosting the health of local people, improving education for school pupils and adult learners, and training and developing new civic leaders in every field from politics to the arts.

Sheffield Hallam University is referenced in the report for its social mobility programme, South Yorkshire Futures. The programme, backed by the Department for Education, is committed to improving education and raising aspiration for young people in South Yorkshire – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Professor Roger Eccleston, pro vice-chancellor for regional engagement at Sheffield Hallam, said: “As this report confirms, universities play a vital role in the development of their local region. From skills and health, to education and culture, we transform lives – and this must translate in to a cohesive and meaningful approach for how we consider our civic responsibility.

“We are proud of the contribution we continue to make to the Sheffield City Region and delighted to put our name to this agreement.”

Lord Kerslake, who is also the former Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council and former Head of the Civil Service, said: “The deep economic and social changes that are happening in Britain today have, alongside Brexit, made the civic role of universities even more vital to the places they are located in.

“The civic universities of the Victorian era were founded as expressions of civic pride, and as a way of sharing knowledge and opportunity at a time of rapid change.

“We are now entering a new industrial revolution when it will be even more vital that knowledge is accessible in as many communities as possible.”

Tackling the teacher recruitment crisis: Retention as recruitment

There is a crisis in teaching. The equation is fairly simple: Not enough people are coming into the profession to meet the growing number of pupils – and too many are leaving.

Sue O’Brien, teacher recruitment and retention lead for South Yorkshire Futures

The Department for Education’s (DfE) new Recruitment and Retention Strategy, published today (28 January 2019) faces the issue head on with clear priorities and a commitment to work with the profession to deliver the strategy. Sheffield Hallam (through Sheffield Institute of Education and our South Yorkshire Futures programme) has been working closely with DfE to look at the issue on a regional level – and we are referenced in the report (page 34) for the successful pilot we have been running.

The focus for this issue, justifiably, is often on the literal starting point for the teaching profession: recruitment, Recruiting trainees is undoubtedly challenging. They have diverse needs, backgrounds and experiences, and therefore need individualised, clear advice and support.

So in thinking about this issue I’ve decided to disrupt the order slightly by starting from the other end of the journey, or the other ‘R’: Retention.

The number leaving in the first year after qualifying has remained reasonably steady over the last five years at around 15 per cent – but the numbers who leave in years two, three, four and five continues to increase. Within three years of training more than a quarter have left the profession. This reaches almost one third by year five.

It’s no great leap to understand that if we get retention right, then recruitment will follow. Satisfied, fulfilled teachers will attract more to the profession than, I would argue, any number of golden hellos. Clearly there is value in focusing on retention as a platform to support recruitment – but it goes much further than that. We have a moral imperative to get this right.

Making a difference

Teachers come into the profession to make a difference. To transform lives. To give something back. But this shouldn’t be at any cost – and certainly shouldn’t be at personal cost. To find out a bit more about what encourages or stops applicants from joining the professions, we carried out a piece of research through South Yorkshire Futures. The results were instructive and revealing.

Amongst the data, the most eye-catching was this: Our research revealed that it is family friends, family members and even teachers of the potential applicants who are most often cited as the people who discouraged them from joining the profession.

As a result, we’ve taken a lead in our region to look closer at his issue to see how we can change this perception. This includes having conversations about how well we look after our teachers and asking important questions to help inform our approach.

What are teachers’ experiences of being in a school? Are our schools great places to work?

These might seem like simple questions – but ultimately, the responses provide us with a defining narrative. It is the experience of the teachers which will determine if they stay in the profession, gain the satisfaction and rewards they anticipated at the start of their journey, and subsequently become the advocates of the profession that we so clearly need.

Centre stage

I’m very fortunate in my role. I get to visit schools across South Yorkshire and meet inspirational leaders and teachers who clearly love their job. They care about the young people they teach, they know what makes them tick and they know how to motivate and excite them. You can see how much satisfaction they get from knowing that what they do on a daily basis is having a positive and lasting impact. These are everyday people who every day make a genuine difference to our young people.

With this in mind, for our recruitment campaign this year, we took a very different approach. For the first time we put teachers centre stage (quite literally) to tell their honest and compelling stories. The teachers, at various stages of their careers, spoke to future teachers about why they do their job, what gets them out of bed in the morning and what the profession has given to them. You could have heard a pin drop when they spoke.

Therefore if we want to recruit more teachers, we have to face the fact that it is teachers themselves who are the best, or worst, friend of the recruitment campaign, depending on their experience. They are our voice, our narrators, our critics, our advocates – and they all have a powerful story to tell.


We may all have different views about what makes a great place to work – but we all want to work in a great place. We all want to work in an environment where we feel that we belong, where we have the support that we need, that our contribution matters and where positive supportive relationships are nurtured – so that’s where we’re starting.

So we’re not starting with outcomes, we’re starting with the place. We’re looking at what that place has to offer the teacher. And we’re looking at what support there is in that place (and whether it is the right support).

Great teachers

Great teachers transform lives – and every child deserves a great teacher. But this won’t be the case until we have begun to properly address the retention challenge. To do this, we must keep asking ourselves the difficult but simple questions: Are we offering the best environments in which to work? Are we meeting the needs of all our teachers?

Once we start to genuinely listen to the answers to these questions and begin to translate them in to actions and behaviours, we might start to see a workforce that feels more valued, motivated and excited – and I believe could result in a profound positive shift in recruitment and retention as a whole.