Sheffield Hallam University has emphasised its ongoing commitment to improving social mobility through education by signing the Social Mobility Pledge.
The Pledge was launched last year by former Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP and UK financial technology entrepreneur David Harrison, founder of the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility. It sees companies and institutions commit to working with local schools and colleges, offer work placements and apprenticeships and adopt open recruitment policies.
Sheffield Hallam is the most prominent university in the UK for driving improvements in education and championing social mobility. Ninety-six per cent of the University’s student population is state educated and 41 per cent come from low income households.
In 2016/17 Sheffield Hallam gave more students from neighbourhoods with historically low numbers going on to higher education the chance to study than any other university in the UK.
The University has also committed to improving education and attainment across South Yorkshire through its ground-breaking social mobility partnership, South Yorkshire Futures.
The programme, which is backed by the Department for Education, addresses the educational attainment and wellbeing of children and young people, and aims to develop a dedicated and talented workforce to support them.
Dr Sally Jackson, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at Sheffield Hallam, said: ” I am delighted to sign up to the Social Mobility Pledge, which highlights our commitment to building stronger communities through our research, practice and partnerships. Universities have a vital role to play in supporting social mobility and helping young people to succeed, whatever their background.
“Sheffield Hallam has a proven track-record in its approach to widening participation and social mobility through a number of nationally recognised programmes and award-winning outreach activity.
“The University is well placed to deliver against the three key areas of the pledge which are at the heart of our strategy to transform lives by shaping our students’ futures and preparing them for life after graduation.
“The pledge also supports us to ensure our staff recruitment processes are fair and promote a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.”
Justine Greening MP said: “The Social Mobility Pledge is about making a practical difference to employment opportunities and issues that affect people’s life chances by focussing on talents and competence. It’s about where you’re going not where you’re from. There is a clear link between what we are doing and how forward-thinking organisations and businesses see their own role.
“It’s great that the team at Sheffield Hallam University have signed the Pledge. The work they are doing to champion social mobility will help to make a real difference to opportunities especially in the Yorkshire region. I hope many more universities will follow so that together we can change Britain for the better.”
Social mobility is one of the key themes on the debate stage of the first Hallam Festival of Education, which takes place on 14 and 15 June.
The two-day festival, which been curated by South Yorkshire Futures, will feature headline speakers including Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield OBE, former education secretary Baroness Estelle Morris and Lord David Blunkett.
It will bring together over 100 speakers, groups and organisations from local, regional, national and international education systems – with hundreds of teachers, early years practitioners, head-teachers, education policy makers, business leaders and politicians expected to attend.