Category Archives: North Yorkshire

University Appoints New Chair Of Council

The University has announced that Dr Alice Maynard CBE will be the new Chair of its governing body.

The University’s Council is responsible for the development and overall performance of the University, with the Chair setting out a challenging but supportive environment to enable senior leadership teams to deliver against its institutional strategy.


Alice brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked in senior leadership positions in both the public and private sectors.

An experienced non-executive director and trustee, Alice is currently a Non-Executive Director at the Financial Conduct Authority and until recently, held similar roles at the HMRC as well as Transport for London, where she was also Chair of its Independent Disability Advisory Group.

In addition to her extensive experience in leadership and governance, Alice is also a highly regarded expert in the field of disability rights, having been recognised with a CBE for her services to disabled people.


She is founder and Director of Future Inclusion, an organisation working to encourage good governance, inclusive practice and ethical business. Prior to this, Alice forged a career in IT and was also Head of Disability Strategy for Network Rail. She was also Chair of the UK’s leading disability equality charity, Scope, from 2008 – 2014.

Alice graduated from the University of York with a BA in Languages, and also holds an MBA and a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA).

Since graduating, she continues to support York’s fundraising efforts and received an honorary degree from the University in 2014 for her role in championing inclusivity and access. Until recently, Alice also served on the advisory board of the University’s new School for Business and Society.


Alice said: “This is a brilliant opportunity to contribute to an organisation that has a really strong sense of ambition and purpose.”

“For anyone choosing to pursue higher education, it can be truly transformational, with university research and education helping build a society that is strong, resilient and innovative in its thinking.”

“Taking on the role of Chair of Council – and working in higher education – will be a new experience for me, but one which I will relish with York.”

Public Good

The Chair of Council does not become involved in the day-to-day executive management of the University, which is the responsibility of the Vice-Chancellor.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Charlie Jeffery, said: “We welcome Alice to York to be our new Chair of Council. The appointment panel identified her as being highly personable, pragmatic and passionate about the role universities can play.”

“This certainly resonates with York’s public good mission, through her unstinting commitment to inclusion and how she has championed this for the benefit of others.”

“With Alice’s experience, expertise and values, she is an ideal leader for the Council as our governing body and trustee board.”


Alice begins her tenure as Chair of Council on 1 August 2023, and joined Council as an independent member in the first instance in early March 2023.

The University has also expressed its gratitude to outgoing Chair, Denise Jagger, for her invaluable contribution to the University’s governance over the past 10 years, including the last five years as Chair of Council.

Oak National Academy Award To Develop Science In Schools

Researchers at the University of York have been awarded £1.4 million to develop online science materials for schools.

The University of York Science Education Group (UYSEG) and the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration (CIEC), part of the Department of Chemistry at York, will work together to develop lesson resources for teachers and pupils covering the primary and secondary science curriculum in England, age 5-16.

Working with the Oak National Academy, the curriculum resources will draw on the expertise and work of both groups and will be developed by members of UYSEG’s Best Evidence Science Teaching (BEST) project team and CIEC, working with expert science teachers across the country.


The materials will support teachers to engage in evidence-informed practice, to improve and develop resources, a current key Government initiative in education.

Professor Judith Bennett, Department of Education and part of UYSEG, at the University of York, said: “The provision of high-quality digital resources, built around a well-structured curriculum, and underpinned by the best educational research, will be an invaluable resource for use in science classrooms.”

UYSEG aims to support science education through the development and evaluation of curriculum resources that translate science education research into practical classroom resources, as well as producing research that influences policy and improves training and support for education practitioners.

Knowledge and skills

Joy Parvin, Director of CIEC said: ”As well as developing a full suite of resources for Key Stages 1 and 2, we will be collaborating with our secondary colleagues to smooth transition from Key Stage 2 to 3, thus building on the knowledge and skills children have gained during their primary years.”

The CIEC team of six primary science specialists and dedicated science education researchers, engage in a wide range of primary science initiatives, nationally and internationally, focusing on the development of primary science resources and the delivery of continuing professional development.


Professor Paul Wakeling, Head of the Department of Education, said “The project builds on a long and distinguished tradition of research and curriculum-focussed work in science education at York which helps science teachers to improve pupils’ learning”

Matt Hood, Chief Executive of Oak National Academy, said: “Every part of the education sector – from trusts to publishers to subject associations – are part of this collaboration, forming a coalition of top-tier expertise. It means teachers will have access to some of the smartest curriculum thinking and resource design on tap, something they have told us they want.”

“Our subject expert groups are a truly diverse mix of classroom teachers and subject experts from across the sector and have a vital role in providing feedback on our curricula and resources as they are developed to make sure they meet the needs of teachers whatever their school and context.”

College Enables Pupils To Explore Vocational Subjects

Selby College successfully partnered with Selby High School to offer a six-week programme of workshops, inspiring pupils to further explore their interest of vocational subjects.

As part of the enrichment programme, Year 9 pupils were able to try a range of subjects from the College’s vast provision.

Delivered both at the College and within Selby High, the pupils enjoyed taster sessions in Art, Design and Media, Construction, Hair and Beauty, Hospitality and Catering, Sport and Public Services.

Within the Art and Design department, the students got to try their hand at stop frame animation which is used to film TV favourites like Wallace and Gromit, Pingu and Shaun the Sheep.

The pupils also learnt a range of bricklaying, plumbing and plastering techniques within the Construction department, as well as how to effectively paint nails in the College’s state-of-the-art Hair and Beauty salon.

Derek Block, Director of Student Participation at Selby High School, said: “Our Year 9 pupils really enjoyed the opportunity of working with Selby College and got a great insight into the range of vocational courses that they offer. They were able to produce some fantastic work both within the school and the College, enabling them to further develop their independent learning skills. They also enjoyed working closely with the College’s tutors in a variety of focussed and challenging sessions.”

James Pennington, Head of School Partnerships & Admissions at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, said: “The enrichment sessions with Selby High School proved extremely popular with students and gave them the opportunity to try some of the many courses we offer at Selby College. We are committed to collaborating with our partner schools and giving young people positive learning experiences and an early line of sight to Further Education courses and future employability opportunities.”

College Gives Young People Skills Boost

Selby College has expanded its vocational offering with Level 1 courses in a vast range of subjects – providing learners with a route to gain skills and knowledge in their chosen area.

From September 2023, Level 1 courses will be available in Art, Design and Media; Childcare, Early Years and Childhood Studies; Construction; Computing and Digital Design; Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy; Health, Social Care and Wellbeing and Land-Based Studies.

There are no formal entry requirements for the qualifications, meaning students can learn something new or develop their existing skills in a particular area.

Introducing a new subject to Selby College’s offering, the Introductory Diploma in Land-Based Studies will teach students how to feed, accommodate and look after animals, as well as how to grow and maintain plants.

Inspiring young people to develop their construction skills, Level 1 Certificates will also be offered in a range of areas including Bricklaying, Carpentry & Joinery and Plumbing.

This new offering highlights the College’s commitment to evolving and expanding its curriculum offer in line with the needs of its communities.

Sam Wright, Principal and Chief Executive of the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, said: “Our ethos has always been about providing a well-rounded education for our students based on their individual choices, capabilities and aspirations – ensuring that they can reach their full potential and achieve their future ambitions, whatever study route they may take. Our brand-new Level 1 qualifications offer an opportunity for those with no formal entry requirements to take that first step into a subject they are passionate about, whilst providing them with key employability skills.”

“With the addition of Level 1 courses to our provision, learners are able to progress from an introductory course up to a Level 6 qualification right here at Selby College, enabling them to gain a full degree without attending a traditional university,” added Sam.

The College’s Achieve, Celebrate, Excel (ACE) department currently delivers programmes for students working at Entry Level who may require a personalised approach designed to meet their individual needs.

These programmes are designed to enable students to develop vocational skills such as preparing for work and work placement, as well as life skills such as managing money, shopping for themselves, undertaking basic food preparation and using public transport.

Thixendale Business Wins Northern Farming Award

The team at a North Yorkshire rapeseed oil business are celebrating after winning a regional farming award.

Thixendale-based Breckenholme, won the Diversification of the Year category at the 2023 Northern Farmer Awards that were held in Harrogate recently.

Co-founder, Adam Palmer said: “Little did we know when we filled our first bottles of Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil 15 years ago that we would have grown both the business and an amazing team, and still be winning awards! It’s a real team effort and we’re very proud to have won.”

The team beat stiff competition from Listers Crisps and Pollington Grange to win the award.

Organised by the Northern Farmer magazine and supported by Mole Country Stores, the Northern Farmer awards reward and celebrate the farmers who work tirelessly to keep the nation fed.

The Diversification award, sponsored by Carr’s Billington, celebrates businesses that are working to create a more diverse environment and to improve and enhance the countryside, whilst maintaining a viable business.

Breckenholme is home to two brands, both of which are based on award-winning rapeseed oil that is pressed, blended, bottled and labelled on the family farm in the heart of the Yorkshire Wolds. Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil was established in 2008 and was followed by lifestyle brand Charlie & Ivy’s in 2014. The brands produce a range of oils, bread dippers, dressings and mayonnaise that are sold in farm shops, delis and specialist independent retailers nationwide.

University Of York To Lead A REAL Research Unit

The Centre for Health Economics (CHE) at the University of York has been selected to lead a major research programme aimed at improving the quality of decision-making in health and social care.

The team of the REAL Supply Research Unit. From left to right: Sarah Birch (Kent), Nils Gutacker (CHE), Susan Griffin (CHE), Dave Bell (SPRE), Diane Skatun (Aberdeen), Florin Vadean (Kent), Julien Forder (Kent)
The team from CHE will receive more than £3.7m over seven years from independent charity, The Health Foundation to set up the REAL Research Units programme.

Working in collaboration with researchers from the universities of Kent, Aberdeen and the Scottish Policy Research Exchange, the unit will develop and deliver an ambitious economic research programme focused on the supply of health and social care in England and aim to improve the resilience, sustainability and equity of care provision.

Tackle problems

Nils Gutacker, Professor of Health Economics at the University of York and co-lead for the supply Research Unit, said: “We need to think ahead and tackle problems before they disrupt the supply of health and care. This requires us to think more strategically.

“Becoming a REAL Research Unit will offer a rare opportunity to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and co-develop an ambitious economic research agenda focused on health and care supply – with tangible outcomes that will have a real influence on how policymakers think about the future.”

Susan Griffin, Professor of Health Economics, at the University of York and co-lead for the supply Research Unit, said: “The REAL Research Unit represents an ambition to combine the focus and efforts of people across health and social care in order to transform how the long-term outlook is reflected in decisions.”


The REAL Research Units programme aims to develop leadership, advocacy and learning which will build consensus and develop the infrastructure needed to influence longer-term approaches to policy and funding decisions.

The Health Foundation’s REAL Centre (Research and Economic Analysis for the Long term) provides independent analysis and research to support better long-term decision making in health and social care. Its aim is to help health and social care leaders and policymakers look beyond the short term to understand the implications of their decisions around issues such as funding, investment and training over the next 10–15 years.

Unique opportunity

Anita Charlesworth, Director of the REAL Centre, said: “The setting up of the REAL Research Units is a unique opportunity to build both the research capacity and critical mass needed to deliver on the REAL Centre’s ambitions to improve the quality of decision making in health and social care.”

“The units will be integral to the work of the REAL Centre, enabling collaboration, partnerships and knowledge mobilisation which will translate our work into impact.”

Yorkshire Plant Nursery Invests In Training Programme

Johnsons of Whixley, one of the UK’s leading commercial nurseries, has invested in upskilling 12 team members through a bespoke management and leadership training programme in partnership with BHP Consulting.

The programme, designed specifically to meet the commercial nursery’s needs, is part of Johnsons’ long-term commitment to providing opportunities for growth and progression within the horticulture industry.

Luke Richardson, Sales Director at Johnsons of Whixley said: “As the business continues to grow and transitions to the third generation of family ownership, we believe that investing in and developing our management team is more important than ever, and we are committed to providing long-term opportunities for people in the horticulture industry.”

“As a company, we have worked closely with BHP board advisor and training provider, Mark Roberts, for four years. Mark is well-versed in our entire operation and perfectly positioned to deliver the training.”

Johnsons also run a rising stars programme which aims to develop the skill set of existing staff members to enable them to one day take on more of a senior role within the business.

Vicky Newell, Amenity Sales Manager at Johnsons of Whixley and leadership training delegate, said: “I have enjoyed the leadership programme, which has helped me tackle some issues within my department. I have also found a better way to manage my time to get the important tasks done when I am most effective. I have also enjoyed listening to others on the course and discussing common work issues within our breakout sessions. It has also enabled me to approach other managers within the business to solve problems which will ultimately improve the service we offer our customers.”

Mark Roberts, training provider and board advisor at BHP Consulting, added: “We developed the programme to specifically help support the managers in their current roles. It included practical hints and tips that can be used in their daily business activities, we also had the opportunity to discuss some of the current challenges and develop some new ideas and potential solutions.”

Throughout the sessions, there has been a very high level of engagement from all participants, and it shows the business has a management team in place to support its future growth.”

Johnsons of Whixley is a successful commercial nursery based in North Yorkshire, having supplied projects such as the Grantley Hall grounds in Ripon, Harwell Science and Innovation Centre, Oxford and The Event Complex, Aberdeen. The business has over 100 years of experience in growing and supplying trees, shrubs and plants to UK-wide planting schemes.

Strategic Partnership For University Of York

The University of York has signed a strategic partnership agreement with O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) that will support student mobility opportunities and academic collaboration.

JGU is ranked as India’s Number 1 Private University and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two institutions will lead to a number of initiatives, including PhD projects, academic research partnerships, and student exchanges in areas including politics, law, sustainability, film and music studies, and public health.

JGU is recognised as an Institution of Eminence by the Ministry of Education and was established through a philanthropic initiative of its Founding Chancellor, Mr. Naveen Jindal.

International Learning
Professor Charlie Jeffery, Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, said: “I would like to thank our colleagues in India for this opportunity to work together to provide our students with a truly international learning experience, and collaborate on research that will make a difference to people’s lives globally.”

“Underpinning our relationship is our shared mission to bring graduates into the global workplace fully equipped to deliver their knowledge in a way that allows communities anywhere in the world to flourish.”

Lasting Benefits
JGU is ranked as India’s Number 1 Private University by the QS World University Rankings, and was also recognised among the Top 150 universities globally under the age of 50 years by the QS Young University Rankings 2022.

Professor C. Raj Kumar said: “We welcome our colleagues from York, and look forward to an exciting future together where our combined expertise will create lasting benefits for society.”

“International collaboration is essential to breaking down barriers, providing solutions to significant global challenges, and producing the next generation of experts in fields that will improve the ways in which we live and work.”

New Study Into Interference For Trilingual Speakers

People who speak more than two languages are more likely to mistakenly use words from the language they’re least proficient in, new research has shown.

Participants were asked to name pictures in their three languages
The study, led by Dr Angela de Bruin, from the Department of Psychology at the University of York, looked at which of the other languages spoken by trilinguals ‘interfered’ when they were speaking their second language.

Dr de Bruin said: “Intuitively, you would expect these intrusions to mostly come from your most proficient language, for example the first language you grew up speaking from birth. However, our recent research shows that when having to use a less proficient second language, multilinguals actually experience more interference from another less proficient third language than from their native tongue.”

The study, conducted at the University of York and the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, looked at two groups of trilinguals: Spanish-Basque-English trilinguals in the Basque Country and English-French-Spanish trilinguals in the UK.

Participants were asked to name pictures in their three languages in response to a cue. For example, when seeing the picture of an “apple” with the Spanish flag, they would have to say “manzana”. The participants were presented these pictures for a short period of time to make the task difficult.

The team then assessed which language interfered more when trilinguals had to use their second language. In both groups of trilinguals, participants more often accidentally used their third language than their first language, showing that this interference between non-native languages can be found across different trilingual groups.

Supressed Words
The research team also studied why this might be the case. In two other tasks, they tested how participants suppressed words in the other languages while using their second language. They found that the trilinguals suppressed words in their first language more than in their third.

Dr de Bruin says: “This could explain why these trilinguals experienced more interference from their less proficient third language: they might have suppressed that language less, leading to them accidentally using that language instead.”

Many people are able to communicate in more than one language and approximately a quarter of the European population can even speak three or more languages.

Role & Influence
The research conducted by Dr de Bruin is based on personal experience. She says: “When I tried to speak German in Germany after moving to Spain I was trying to buy a bus ticket and I noticed I almost uncontrollably switched between German and Spanish and inserted Spanish words like “por favor” without wanting to. Although my native language Dutch is very similar to German, this interference was not coming from Dutch but rather from Spanish, a language I was far less fluent in.”

She concludes: “This study shows that just knowing words in a language might not be enough to ensure fluent communication. It is also crucial to retrieve the words in the intended language at the appropriate moment and to avoid interference from the other language(s). Trilinguals might have less experience with, or might be worse at, suppressing a less proficient language and might therefore experience more interference from that language.”

“Interestingly, whilst we often focus on the role and influence of a first language, our study highlights the importance of understanding how languages that are acquired later in childhood or adolescence can influence each other. Fluent communication in those languages might not just require a certain level of knowledge in that language but also efficient control over the other languages.”

The study is published in the Journal of Memory and Language

Young & Old Come Together For National StoryTelling Week

A group of pupils from Richard Taylor Primary School joined residents at not-for-profit organisation, Harrogate Neighbours for an afternoon of reading and reminiscing to mark National Storytelling Week (30th January – 5th February).

The year four children were excited to read and share their picture books, school reading books and a few of their personal favourites, including Kitchen Disco, Tear Thief and The Enormous Turnip with the residents at The Cuttings, Harrogate Neighbours’ extra care living scheme.

Talking about the visit, one pupil said, “it was really fun and so nice to see all the older people happy – we were laughing and giggling as Alan read a funny story to us.”

92-year-old, Alan added, “I loved it – I used to read stories to my grandchildren who are now in their 20s!.”

“I used to be a chemist and I have a PHD, but that doesn’t change anything – I like children, I think most people do, and I will do anything to take part, it’s great fun.”

This isn’t the first time the children have visited The Cuttings, the relationship between the school and Harrogate Neighbours was formed during lockdown when pupils were recorded reading stories to residents which were then played at The Cuttings to help with social isolation.

The recent visit forms part of Project CARE – an initiative Richard Taylor Primary School is involved in which seeks to raise awareness for primary aged children of the challenges the aging process brings so they can gain a better understanding and appreciation of older people.

Andrew Symonds, headteacher at Richard Taylor Primary School said, “Our partnership with Harrogate Neighbours is such an important one for Richard Taylor School; bringing the elderly and young together and building friendships and understanding between the two groups is such a valuable project and I hope that it can continue to flourish.”

CEO of Harrogate Neighbours, Sue Cawthray said, “It’s always so wonderful welcoming the pupils from Richard Taylor Primary School. They lift the spirits at The Cuttings and it’s lovely to see them interacting with the residents.”

“Reading and storytelling is a fantastic form of reminiscence therapy, particularly for the residents living with dementia. – we are really grateful for the relationship we have formed with Andrew and the fantastic staff at the school and we’re already looking forward to their next visit.”

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