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GROW School mentoring pilot scheme a success

South Yorkshire Futures has collaborated with experts across Sheffield Hallam University to pilot a mentoring scheme for young people progressing into Y11 in September. The pilot began in July and ran over four weeks. The programme, named GROW, involves Sheffield Hallam graduates mentoring a cohort of young people to support their transition back into school post Covid-19. The graduates underwent training before being deployed into local schools to support young people to re-engage with their studies and transition back into full time school.

Consultation with schools suggests that, in addition to tutoring, broader support around wellbeing as well as reengaging and motivating pupils will be vital to help young people successfully transition back to full time school and make the right choices for their future. Evidence shows that support based around a mentor relationship, particularly a mentor who can act as a role model a pupil can relate to, can be extremely effective.

Conor Moss, Dean of Work-Based Learning at Sheffield Hallam University, said:

“Our ground-breaking plan will harness the power of Sheffield Hallam graduates and boost the national effort to support young people, whose education has been unfairly curtailed by Covid-19 through no fault of their ownBut the programme will also have a positive effect on our graduates, who themselves face a challenging jobs market due to Covid-19. Being a mentor will provide an outstanding chance to upskill at a time when opportunities are limited, and some could even be inspired to go into teaching as a career.”

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan joined a virtual meeting hosted by Sheffield Hallam University to meet a group of the graduate mentors. The Minister took part in an interactive session with graduate mentors and pupils from Firth Park Academy in Sheffield and Wales High School in Rotherham who are part of the pilot scheme for the GROW Mentoring Programme.

During the virtual visit, the Minister also took part in a round table discussion with teachers and graduate mentors from all four schools across South Yorkshire who are involved in the pilot and had discussions with the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Chris Husbands, and Northern Powerhouse Partnership Director, Henri Murison.

Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, said:

“I know this is a difficult time for young people but I am pleased universities like Sheffield Hallam are stepping up, supporting their communities and contributing to the national recovery effort…It was great to hear from graduate mentors from the GROW programme about their invaluable work helping pupils as they prepare to return to school. This experience will help graduates build their skills, gain experience and bolster their CVs as they prepare to start their careers.”

Sheffield Hallam University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Chris Husbands, said:

“We welcome the visit of the Universities Minister today to learn more about the GROW Mentoring Programme. The Class of 2020 face an extremely challenging job market, and this programme is a great example of how universities can create opportunities that both harness the skills of our graduates and support our region’s recovery as we all adapt to a post-Covid-19 landscape.”

Northern Powerhouse Partnership Director, Henri Murison, said:

“The Covid-19 crisis has brought the North-South educational attainment divide into sharp focus, with disadvantaged children in the Northern Powerhouse falling further behind their better-off peers…The catch up package Sheffield Hallam have put together with our backing is being scaled up by a partnership of Northern universities from the North East to Lancashire, and will provide vital support for disadvantaged children, as well as provide employment for graduates looking for jobs in what will no doubt be a tough market.”

For more information on the GROW Mentoring Programme click here to visit the blog.



How to help Sheffield Food Banks during Covid-19

Sheffield Businesses Together, a consortium of Sheffield businesses (including Sheffield Hallam University), has partnered with the Sheffield food bank network to support those most in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.

What can I do?

The food bank network has requested that anyone not currently experiencing hardship consider donating a weeks bus fare, petrol, parking charges, or whatever you can afford.  Given most businesses have implemented some form of home working many of us will not have incurred these costs. Donations will be shared across the 15 food banks in the network.

How can I donate?

A GoFundMe donation page has been opened to make donating easy and allow the food banks to claim gift aid. Please click this link to take you there and donate to the Sheffield Food Poverty Campaign.

Reference: If you could annotate your donation with your business/organisation name (if applicable) and the campaign – Covid 19. By doing this we can trace donations back to businesses which will be useful for those that match fund and for sharing thanks.

You can also donate by PAYPAL or cheque by visiting the food bank website. Scroll down to the ‘Donate Money’ section.

If you are paying by PAYPAL please use the above reference convention in the add note box.

Thank you in advance for any donation you are able to make.

Online / Virtual Offers to Schools during closure

For all Careers Leaders/teachers:

The Enterprise Adviser Network for Sheffield City Region have compiled a list of online resources, videos and virtual support around careers for you to share with students whilst they are at home and/or unable to benefit from more traditional employer encounters and experiences online.

The full list can be found here: Online and Virtual Offers to Schools

You can also follow Enterprise Adviser Network on Twitter to keep up to date with new resources as they are developed or join the Careers Leaders group on Facebook to keep in touch with fellow Careers Leaders and share best practice.

SMBP Work Insight & Skills Week

In collaboration with the Social Mobility Business Partners (SMBP), we have organised a Work Insight and Skills Week to support year 12 students across South Yorkshire in their pursuit of a career in business. Over the course of the week, students will have the opportunity to visit 4 different high-profile organisations and spend the fifth day at a professional sports club where they will learn about the psychology of resilience.

This is a fully funded scheme and is scheduled to run from Monday 27th – 31st July 2020. To find out more information please view our YouTube video.

Applications are now closed for 2020, we hope to run the scheme again in 2021 so keep checking back.

Children’s University partnership working in action

Senior Project Officers Katie Hamshaw and Helen Oades have been sharing their experience of working with South Yorkshire Futures to expand the Children’s University project across South Yorkshire. Katie and Helen told us:

“The South Yorkshire Futures programme has been pivotal in enabling us to realise our vision for having a Children’s University in every area of our region. The support we have received has enabled us to spend time building on our experience from managing Sheffield Children’s University, to engage stakeholders, develop partnerships and excite children, families and schools about the potential for bringing the brilliant, positive impacts of Children’s University to new areas. Through South Yorkshire Futures, we were able to secure funding from the Sheffield City Region and Elected Mayor, to continue our work beyond our pilot year.

Having worked in collaboration with colleagues in Rotherham, we have established a brand new CU centre there, and our work continues as we support the development of a further new CU centre in Barnsley as well as supporting the existing CU centres in Sheffield and Doncaster. We’re looking forward to developing some fantastic collaborative South Yorkshire Children’s University strategies and projects, and of course to continue celebrating the success of CU members across the region, like the very exciting graduation ceremony we held in Sheffield in November.”

Renowned child psychologist and psychotherapist delivers training at Sheffield Hallam University

Dr Margot Sunderland, renowned child psychologist and psychotherapist, visited Sheffield Hallam University to deliver a free one day training course on ‘Addressing the emotional needs of infants in early years settings.’

The training course provided an over-view of the long-term effects of adult- child interactions on the young child’s developing emotional brain with a particular focus on the pro- social brain systems, which can be strengthened by positive adult- child interaction in early years settings. Dr Sunderland also explored how relational play, addressing key attachment needs and sensitive mindful attunement have a significant beneficial effect on the developing brain.  Finally, Dr. Sunderland discussed the foundational genetically ingrained systems for attachment, social joy and passion for learning and what happens if infants are deprived of sufficient positive adult-child interactions and suffer traumatic experience.

Delegates fed back that the course had given them a more in-depth understanding of brain science and psychology as well as practical interventions and strategies to address the emotional needs of infants in early years settings.

The one day training course was jointly delivered by South Yorkshire Futures and Sheffield Institute of Education to further develop our ongoing work to become ACE and Trauma informed. Dr Sunderland is Co-Director of Trauma Informed Schools UK, an educational non-profit organisation whose vision is to “to provide appropriate training for schools, communities and organisations so that they become trauma informed and mentally healthy places for all.” Sheffield Hallam University now includes a compulsory module of TISUK training in every level and age phase of initial teacher education as well as regularly hosting a 10 day Diploma in Trauma and Mental Health informed schools and communities practitioner course, delivered by TISUK.

Second cohort of dates for our Primary Science CPD Programme announced

Due to popular demand we have launched a second cohort of dates for our new CPD opportunity delivered by Sheffield Institute of Education, part of Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with LUTSA.

The programme will enable science leaders to develop their leadership skills, keep up to date with evidence-based approaches to primary science and collaborate with other science leader colleagues. The programme, delivered over three face-to-face sessions, will provide support for primary science leaders to develop the curriculum, raise standards and lead colleagues to teach better science through reflection, action planning and sustained school-based activity.

The programme will be facilitated by Joelle Halliday and Louise Clements.

Joelle is a Senior Research Fellow within Sheffield Institute of Education and leads Primary Science CPD locally and nationally. Louise is a senior leader, science leader and SLE based at St Wilfrid’s RC Primary School Sheffield.

Dates for the sessions are; Thursday 16th January 2020, Thursday 13th February 2020 and Thursday 19th March 2020. Further details can be found on the flyer: Leading Change in Primary Science

For more information contact or book via Eventbrite.

Children’s University in South Yorkshire continues to grow

More than 45,000 children and young people from schools across Sheffield have participated in the Children’s University, a charity that works with schools to encourage participation in extra curricular activities and is supported by South Yorkshire Futures.

We’re delighted to see that, partly due to the success of the programme in Sheffield, schools across Rotherham have now signed up to participate. The children’s University annual report for 2018/19 demonstrates a link between participation in the programme and improved numeracy and literacy success rates, the full report can be read here:

Sheffield CU – How does it make a difference 2018

This month young people from across the city who take part in Sheffield Children’s University (CU) attended a special graduation event at Sheffield City Hall to celebrate completing 1,000 hours of extra-curricular learning activities.

Fifteen Sheffield CU pupils, who have all received the Gold Fellowship for 1000 hours of participation, were presented with a special certificate in front of family and friends in a university-style graduation ceremony.

Following the awards ceremony, pupils went backstage for a tour of the gowning and photography area, led by Ede & Ravenscroft – one of the oldest tailoring firms in the world. They then had some official photographs taken, wearing graduation caps and gowns.

Sheffield Hallam becomes the first University in the UK to sign the School Governor Champion charter

Sheffield Hallam has become the first University in the UK to sign the School Governor Champion charter, pledging to encourage and support staff to be governors in local schools. This 5-step charter has been developed by Inspiring Governance, a national school governor recruitment service, as a call to action for employers across the country to sign and act as an advocate for school governance opportunities. The Inspiring Governance service is based around an online platform connecting volunteers, especially those with business-related skill, from a range of diverse backgrounds, to schools and colleges seeking to fill governor and trustee vacancies.

As a University and a key employer in the region, Sheffield Hallam has been working with the service for almost two years, encouraging staff to participate. As well as implementing a governor’s network to bring together staff across the university who volunteer as governors and allowing staff flexible time away from work to undertake volunteering opportunities.

Taking the role one step further, South Yorkshire Futures, the University’s social mobility partnership, is championing school governor opportunities to employers in the region as part of its Talent Bank project. The South Yorkshire Talent Bank offers a range of opportunities for businesses and employees to volunteer their time, skills and experience to inform, support and inspire young people from across the region.

Sally Jackson, Chief People Officer at Sheffield Hallam University said: “I am delighted to have signed the School Governor Champion charter on behalf of Sheffield Hallam, pledging our allegiance and support to a fantastic initiative that will benefit young people, employers and volunteers.
“As a University, we have a civic responsibility to recognise the benefits of volunteering, in both a professional and a personal sense, and promote these opportunities as widely as we can – internally, but across the region as well.”

Richard Ellam, regional manager for Inspiring Governance, said: “Our aim is to encourage as many employers as possible to become School Governor Champions, because we see employers supporting their staff to become school governors as a win-win situation.
We hope that Sheffield Hallam University signing this charter will encourage others across South Yorkshire and the higher education sector, to do the same.”

South Yorkshire Futures Coaching in Schools Project

We are now recruiting for our second cohort of coaches to support our coaching in schools project. The project involves volunteer coaches receiving professional training in order to support young people in Barnsley who would benefit from working on areas of personal effectiveness.

The project provides a structured, confidential space in which pupils can explore what might be holding them back and develop an action plan to help them progress. For full information please see the attached documents and / or if you’ve got any questions please contact

Coaching Project FAQ’s

Coaching Project advert

Coaching Project application form