Sheffield Schools And Colleges To Take Part In International Study Scheme

Sheffield Schools And Colleges To Take Part In International Study Scheme

29th Apr 2021

The Sheffield Star reports that schools, colleges, and higher education providers in the region will be invited to take part in a ‘life changing’ study abroad scheme which is funded by the UK Government. Students will be encouraged to apply for the Turing Scheme, which replaces the Erasmus Scheme.

The Turing Scheme, named for the British scientist and mathematician Alan Turing, will provide funding for international opportunities in education and training around the world. It will be open to UK and British Overseas Territories organisations, encompassing a broad range of training and educational institutions.

The experience of travelling and studying abroad is invaluable in helping young people with their personal development, expanding language skills, employability, and understanding of other cultures. The new scheme is being hailed as an ambassador for ‘Global Britain’, helping to enhance international relationships.

Rani Moorcroft MBE FRSA, who instigated ‘Turing passport to the world’, said: “Sheffield is a thriving community, a young community. The council is already looking at race disparities. All the component parts are there. Sheffield can be a leader - taking the lead in tackling some of the most difficult issues.”

Moorcroft said that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated inequalities, particularly among young people, who are in danger of becoming disengaged and underoccupied. She highlighted the importance of giving the younger generation something to aim for and look forward to.

The organisers of the £110m Turing scheme will be keen to attract applicants from a diverse range of economic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, according to the Star article. The first placements and exchanges will take place from September 2021.

Commonwealth countries such as the Caribbean, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Jamaica, India, and Nigeria will be a part of the programme. Students will be able to take part in a range of activities, such as teaching English in schools, and working for environmental, social and governance programmes.

There will also be the opportunity to take part in safaris, pick tea leaves, and plant mangroves. Moorcroft views these activities as a chance for members of the Windrush generation to give something back to their parent countries. She is especially keen to break down barriers to achievement for younger people.

Moorcroft has also founded a community interest company called Zedgeneration, which encourages small global communities to work together and built a better future.

They have partnered with a not-for-profit social enterprise company called Catalyst in Communities, and also Buildeco, a construction company which works in partnership with councils and housing associations to provide modular flat-pack eco-designed housing.

Robin Lockhart FRSA, director of Catalyst in Communities and a Commonwealth Youth ambassador, said: “All new knowledge exists outside of our comfort zone and our job as Youth Coaches at Catalyst In Communities is to facilitate processes that stretch the comfort zone.”

Together the organisations hope to create ways of working and living sustainably, both at home and overseas. They are keen to invest in the green economy, lower fuel bills, reduce poverty levels, and mitigate the effects of climate change.

 

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Barnsley Roads And Paths Set For Improvements

Barnsley Roads And Paths Set For Improvements

26th Apr 2021

Like any other town in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Barnsley will have seen its fair share of winter damage to roads and footpaths caused by the cold and wet weather. In response, Barnsley Council has announced its fund to carry out repair work.

According to a cabinet report that is set to be approved next week, the local authority is to spend £18.6 million over the 2021-22 financial year on repairs, of which £2 million has been specifically set aside for potholes, the Barnsley Chronicle reports.

Tarmac surfacing contractors across Yorkshire will be looking to get contracts for the work, which will see a range of projects taking place to fix damaged roads in the district. Indeed, work has already started on some schemes, with £2 million being spent so far this year up to the end of March.

Resurfacing has taken place on the A634 Doncaster road between Darfield and Goldthorpe, while other work has included the development of a new dual use path for cyclists and pedestrians linking Ardsley and Darfield, improvements to traffic signals and improvements to roadside drainage.

The next major resurfacing project will be the roads in Penistone and Haigh, which will be given priority due to their comparatively poor state of repair. The road at Haigh passes under the M1, making it the responsibility of the council, although the work would have to be co-ordinated with Highways England as the operator of the motorway.

Penistone’s priority is the currently unadopted road to the town’s household waste recycling centre. The report noted that “its unprecedented usage of during the Covid-19 situation has seen significant deterioration of the carriageway due to unprecedented volumes of traffic”, making the construction of a proper road surface a priority.

However, the council has said it is having t carry out a “balancing act” as it allocates funds, since future revenue streams are subject to uncertainty after the establishment of the South Yorkshire devolution deal, which means the metro mayor Dan Jarvis has the power to decide where funds such as highway maintenance grants from central government are spent.

This means that £3.2 million of this year’s funding has been carried over to 2022-23 to balance the risks that there may be less cash available then than the council hopes to have.

“The level of funding for the council’s highways programme for 2022-23 and beyond remains particularly uncertain within both regional and national contexts, “said the councils’ highways boss Ian Wilson in his report to the cabinet.

Since no announcement has yet been made regarding funding, Mr Wilson said it is “unlikely” 2021-22 funding will be affected. Beyond that, however, apart from the general “uncertainty” over the distribution method of funds from the Department for Transport, “there remains a risk to the council as there is the possibility of a significant reduction of external funding coming”, he added.

Barnsley’s roads will have suffered wear and tear from a different array of factors over the winter. While the town itself will have many busy roads with a lot of traffic, the wider borough includes many rural areas and villages in the Pennines, some within the Peak District National Park. Rising to over 500 metres above sea level, these roads are most prone to severe winter weather.

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Government Launches £10m School Behaviour Hub Programme

Government Launches £10m School Behaviour Hub Programme

20th Apr 2021

The Department for Education (DfE) has issued a press release to announce that they will be sending behaviour experts to support schools with poor discipline records. The new £10m ‘behaviour hub’ programme will be operating in time for the summer term. It is designed to help pupils re-engage with education after the lockdown.

The DfE say they have identified 22 schools with an excellent behaviour track record, who will provide mentors and trainers to support struggling schools. The teams from schools and academies who have consistently good OFSTED ratings for behaviour will advise participating schools with problem diagnosis, mentoring, and policy suggestions.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Whether it’s supporting some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children with the routines and structures needed to help them fulfil their potential, or helping prepare young people for the expectations of the workplace, parents and teachers know that orderly and disciplined classrooms are best.”

Partaking schools will also have access to specialist government teams of advisors, open days at lead schools, hub networking events, and online forums to exchange ideas.

Tom Bennett, the Lead Behaviour advisor to the DfE, said: It’s been a real honour to recruit some of the best schools in the country to offer their support to other schools who want to refocus on behaviour and culture. Every school can, with assistance, be safe, calm places where everyone is treated with dignity, and students and staff can learn and flourish together.”

Gavin Williamson has also called for mobile phones to be banned in schools, the BBC News website reports. He claims that phones can facilitate cyber-bullying and use of social media can be harmful to mental health. Most schools already have some sort of policy to restrict mobile phone use in classrooms, and some do not allow them to be used at break times.

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Government Announces Kick-Start For Summer School And Activities

Government Announces Kick-Start For Summer School And Activities

12th Apr 2021

The government has issued a press release to announce £200m of funding for summer schools and activities at secondary schools across England. It is to be targeted at those who have suffered the most disruption to their education during the lockdown. The plans will begin to be rolled out after the Easter break.

The scheme will include academic support as well as sporting activities, and also mental health and wellbeing advice. The government also intends to work with a national supply contractor to give extra support for councils to deliver the Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF), which will be expanded over the summer.

HAF is a scheme which involves charities, councils, sporting organisations, and the voluntary sector, designed to ease pressure points on families who are experiencing increased childcare costs and reduced incomes. Children from disadvantaged families are less likely to access out-of-school activities, and can miss out on nutritious food during the holidays.

Charities such as Family Action work to deliver family-friendly holiday activities such as food preparation, physical activity, and arts and crafts. They also provide free and nutritious meals. During last summer’s HAF programme, 50,000 children received support across 17 local authorities.

After the Easter break, the programme is set to launch in every council in England, with a focus on those primary school children who are eligible for free school meals. The intention is to prepare the incoming year 7 group for the experience of secondary school in September, who may have missed out on key opportunities over the past year.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I am confident this summer of enrichment and engagement in academic work will be a great success, tailored to local circumstances by their local authorities and also the wonderful heads and teachers who best understand the needs of their students.”

The Department of Education has also published the Conditions of Grant for schools and local authorities on the 30 March. This provides guidance on how to use the Pupil Premium funding, which is expected to increase to £2.5bn over the next year. The fund is intended to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

To make sure the funding is being used to best advantage, schools will be required from September 2021 to publish an annual pupil premium strategy, and demonstrate with evidence why their spending decisions have been made.

Schools have been asked to sign up to run summer schools by the end of April, and confirm their plans by June. A two-week summer school has also been proposed for primary school pupils who will be entering secondary education in September, to help ease the transition at what can be a difficult time for some children.

The operation of the HAF scheme has been affected by the lockdown restrictions over Easter, but some areas have managed to offer face-to-face activities, and others have provided remote support. To help vulnerable families over the Easter period, they have also been able to access the extended £229m Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

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Road Resurfacing Contracts Revealed

Road Resurfacing Contracts Revealed

8th Apr 2021

Yorkshire will be among the regions benefitting from extensive resurfacing work confirmed by Highways England this week.

The body named its contractor partners to carry out work on England’s concrete roads, with the £218 million deal seeing Morgan Sindall and John Sisk carrying out reconstruction operations over a five-year period.

These road surfacing contractors will carry out the work on a design and build basis, with existing surfaces being demolished and replaced with new materials.

In addition, £67 million of lifecycle extension works will be undertaken by VolkerFitzpatrick, Colas, Dyer & Butler and Tarmac, which will help increase the life of existing concrete surfaces on motorways and A roads.

Overall, England has more than 400 miles of concrete roads, with Yorkshire being among the regions were they are most common. Most were built in the 1960s and 70s, meaning they are overdue for repairs. Many are carrying up to 25 per cent more traffic than they were designed for.

Highways England regional director Martin Fellows, commented: “This is the biggest concrete road renewals programme we have ever embarked on.”

He said the contracts confirmed this week will “help us deliver the maximum benefits of safe, reliable and smooth journeys for many years to come.”

The repaired roads will see their lifespans extended by another ten years, while the entirely new surfaces will be made to last for 40 years.

Yorkshire roads will be included in the latest phase of the five-year plan, which began last year with work to improve roads in the East of England.

Focused on the A11, A12, A14 and M11, this work will, when completed, led to the replacement of half of the concrete road surfaces in the region.  

Beyond repairing concrete roads in Yorkshire, future possible Highways England schemes that may take place in the county during the next five years include the A1 between Doncaster and Darrington, the A64 at Hopgrove and the M1/M62 Lofthouse Interchange.

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