STEM education in South Yorkshire receives international boost

A ground-breaking partnership between Sheffield Hallam University and global tech company Wipro Limited will seek to address the shortfall and high turnover of STEM teachers in South Yorkshire through a new support programme.

The initiative, made possible thanks to a donation from Wipro Limited, a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company, will support newly qualified and mid-career teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through the ‘Wipro Teacher Fellowship’ and ‘Wipro Teacher Mentor’ programmes at Sheffield Hallam’s Sheffield Institute of Education (SIoE).

The 18-month programmes, which will commence in January 2019, will support early career teachers of STEM subjects and STEM start mentors from schools in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster and Derbyshire.

Teachers will have the opportunity to improve their pedagogical and subject knowledge, understand practice through research and receive individualised support through local mentors.

The teacher mentor programme will also offer a blended model of face-to-face and online support for senior STEM teachers, encouraging them to become effective mentors, drawing on expertise from the SIoE.

Every academic year, a new cohort of 20 early career teachers and five to 10 teacher mentors will join the programme.

Anurag Behar, Chief Sustainability Officer at Wipro Limited, said: “We are deeply committed to contributing to our communities through helping improve public education.

“We believe that teachers are the cornerstone of good education. These partnerships will provide directly relevant professional development support to teachers. Empowering, enabling and supporting teachers is the key to achieving continuous improvement in education.”

The initiative, which feeds in to Sheffield Hallam’s social mobility programme South Yorkshire Futures, will be led by Dr Emily Perry from SIoE’s Centre for Development and Research in Education.

Dr Perry said: “The Wipro Teacher Fellow and Teacher Mentor Programmes aim to increase young people’s enjoyment, attainment and progression in STEM subjects by supporting teachers to develop their practice in an innovative, evidence-based, collaborative programme of professional learning.

“We are committed to improving the educational outcomes of young people in the diverse communities of South Yorkshire, and share Wipro’s desire to support the professional development and retention of teachers in our schools as a key driver to achieve this. We are delighted to welcome Wipro as our partner in these programmes, which have the potential to make a significant contribution to the region.”

All teachers and mentors will also have the opportunity to work towards accreditation of 30 MA level credits, through optional participation in the Research and Development in Educational Contexts module, which is part of the University’s MA Professional Practice in Education.