Education in South Yorkshire has received a major boost with three announcements which will benefit the region’s young people – including funding from the Sheffield City Region Mayor.
Mayor Dan Jarvis has announced a package to help to the Sheffield Hallam University-led programme, South Yorkshire Futures, which have been designed to improve life opportunities for disadvantaged children.
In addition the new South Yorkshire Futures Mayoral Partnership Fund, which will be used to support specific projects, the Mayor has also written to the top 100 businesses from the region asking for them to support the Talent Bank element of the programme, through skills-based offers to schools such as volunteering and mentoring.
He unveiled the package at an event this evening to celebrate South Yorkshire Futures’ first year of activity.
The third announcement saw the four South Yorkshire local authorities commit to improving education for children aged 0-5 years by jointly signing a Regional Vision for Early Years.
Mayor Jarvis said: “Helping improve life opportunities for young people in our region who need it most, is a mission that South Yorkshire Futures and I share.
“It should not be a matter of political debate that our school children need to be healthy, independent, emotionally secure, socially competent, able to learn and able to separate from their parents or carers, but many of our children are not.
“If we fail to deal with these challenges we will lock in the iniquities of social immobility and we cannot allow this to happen.
“That is why I am delighted to commit to the development of an Early Years’ pledge to commit the whole public sector to assisting with school readiness for all young people.
“I am going to write to the 100 leading businesses across the region to ask for their formal commitment to South Yorkshire Futures to build a talented pool of mentors, school governors and volunteers to support schools in the region, who need it most.
“I am also going to commit some of my Mayoralties resources to the creation of a South Yorkshire Futures Mayoral Partnership Fund.
“Through this fund, I believe, we can deliver genuine transformational change for all the young people in our region to ensure they have the skills and education to help them achieve their full potential.”
South Yorkshire Futures is a social mobility programme led by the university and supported by the Department for Education and aims to improve attainment and raise aspirations of young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Chief operating officer of Sheffield Hallam University, Richard Calvert, said the mayor’s support was a ‘tremendous boost’ for the programme.
Director of South Yorkshire Futures, Greg Burke, said: “We have made huge strides in our first year - but we know we must do more.
“Our plans for the next 12 months, around early years, teacher recruitment, skills, higher education, and employment, are extremely ambitious - but we are not naive. We do not have all the answers and we certainly can’t do it by ourselves.”