Category Archives: Education News

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.”

Who Dares Wins Finalist Delivers Talks To Students

Finalist of the latest series of SAS: Who Dares Wins Faye Banks, recently delivered talks at Selby College about her inspiring journey and prosperous Engineering career.

Speaking to both students and staff, Faye shared her experience on the latest series of SAS: Who Dares Wins, which saw her and 19 other recruits take part in a six-week condensed version of the SAS selection process.

Held in the Vietnamese jungle, Faye talked about how the SAS: Who Dares Wins instructors Billy Billingham and his team of directing staff Jason Fox, Rudy Reyes and Chris Oliver put them through their paces.

As a former Engineering student of Castleford College, which is also part of the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group alongside Selby College and Wakefield College, Faye also spoke to students about her career as a female Engineer.

This includes a number of leadership roles she has held at national and global companies such as Yorkshire Water, National Grid, Siemens, Carlsberg and Unilever.

In 2018, she was also commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to review the UK’s electricity standards.

Encouraging the students to make the most out of their experiences, Faye said: “I’m extremely grateful to my lecturers who taught me at College, they recognised my talent in Engineering and instilled the confidence in me to pursue my passion. You don’t get to be the best version of yourself on your own, learn from others and their experiences. Embrace every moment of your learning and you will see the returns.”

When asked about what she attributes her successful career in Engineering to, Faye responded: “For me, the key to maintaining a successful career in Engineering has been my ability to adapt to new surroundings and situations. Even when you are faced with change or adversity, being able to apply your skills to whatever environment you’re in is a significant advantage in a fast-paced industry like Engineering where technology and standards are constantly evolving,” added Faye.

Faye had a tough start in life after she was taken into care at the age of nine, moving between 50 different emergency placements in just two years.

After leaving care, she trained to become an Engineer and is currently working as a Director of Operations at Siemens.

Faye is preparing to start a new role as the Director of E&M at Vital Energi in April and is working towards gaining her PhD in Engineering.

During her time at Whitwood College, which is now known as Castleford College, Faye’s achievements shone out. She was voted Engineering Student of the Year and won the Principal’s Award at the Women in Science and Engineering ceremony.

Recognising her achievements on a national scale, Faye was also presented with the Apprentice of the Year award and the Young Woman Engineer of the Year accolade in 2004.

“Now is an exciting and pivotal time to enter the Engineering industry, not only because the UK’s Net Zero initiative is creating more jobs in the area, but because the sector is crying out for female Engineers. When I first started, I was the only female working in a male-dominated industry, which presented many challenges that I had to overcome throughout my career in order for me to progress and succeed. Today, I’m incredibly proud to see that the industry is backing Engineers from all backgrounds and I would encourage any aspiring female Engineers to seize this opportunity,” added Faye.

Outside of work, Faye is an Elite Marathon Runner and is also studying for her pilot’s license.

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.

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.”

Weavers & Artists Bring Industrial Loom Back To Life

In March 2023, Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley will present a unique exhibition of collaborative work led by weaver and artist, Hannah Robson.

Hannah has created a series of dynamic woven textiles using an industrial jacquard loom that was, until 2021, in disrepair at Bradford College.

Thanks to ‘The Jacquard Project’, supported by Arts Council England, Bradford College, and Leeds Inspired, Hannah coaxed the machine back to life with the help of local weavers and loom tuners, who generously offered advice, replaced parts, and serviced the machine.

The striking fabrics have been developed in partnership with four other local artists: Alice Chandler (jeweller), Anna Ray (mixed-media artist), James Thompson (sculptor), and Jodie Posen (weaver)

Hannah, who is also a Lecturer in Woven Textiles at Bradford School of Art, explained: “I wanted to work with other artists to open up the process of weaving, which can be very technical and hard to access outside of an industrial setting. Weaving is a magical process that offers infinite possibilities in terms of design, colour, and surface. It has been stimulating for me to see how each collaboration has unfolded and the results are distinct and surprising.”

The Jacquard Project celebrates the weaving heritage of West Yorkshire through creative exchange and collaboration. These new textiles have a contemporary and conceptual edge, presented as large panels on wooden frames. The cloths carry evidence of the making process – the experimentation and exploration, colour and scale variations, yarn testing, and the glitches of the loom.

The exhibition aims to demystify the weaving process and invites visitors to follow the threads as one artist’s work blends into another’s. The show will take place on the first floor of the iconic 1912 Mill at Sunny Bank Mills, in Farsley near Leeds – itself a former worsted mill and weaver of fine cloth. The year 2023 marks ten years of arts and culture at the Mills, and this exhibition forms part of that year-long celebration.

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.”

Sheffield Scientist Receives Prestigious Honour For Fertility Research

A fertility expert from the University of Sheffield has been recognised for his exceptional contributions to pioneering research over the past 30 years.

Professor Allan Pacey is only the 38th Honorary Member of The British Fertility Society in its 50 year history. The prestigious award recognises his life-changing research on infertility, as well as his influential voice in the field through radio, film, television, and live events.

Previous recipients of the award include the late Professor Robert Edwards, who won a Nobel Prize in 2010 for the development of in vitro fertilisation.

Professor Allan Pacey, who is Head of the Departments of Oncology and Metabolism and Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Sheffield, said: “It is such an honour to receive this award – I am over the moon. My association with the British Fertility Society has been an absolute joy and I hope that I have managed in some small way to move the field forward during my career.”

Dr Raj Mathur, Chairman of the British Fertility Society, said: “Professor Pacey is a pre-eminent figure in Andrology and Fertility, whose contributions range from a wide portfolio of research to training of healthcare professionals and improved public understanding of the science of male reproduction. He has been a mentor to several researchers and clinicians and, as a previous Chair of the British Fertility Society, represented the entire fertility sector in the UK at a national and international level. We are delighted to be able to award him Honorary Membership of our Society as a mark of our esteem and gratitude for his work.”

Last month Professor Pacey published a scientific study which found that less than four in 100 men who apply to be sperm donors reach the end of the process and have samples frozen and released for treatments, despite there being a sperm donor shortage.

Additionally, last year he was part of an international study which for the first time discovered a new protein which helps sperm fuse with an egg and could improve fertility treatments in the future.

Professor Pacey first came to Sheffield in 1992 as a postdoctoral research assistant, after obtaining his PhD from the University of St. Andrews and working at a laboratory of the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie. He was appointed as a Lecturer in 1997, Senior Lecturer in 2001 and subsequently promoted to Professor in 2015.

He has appeared on countless TV series, radio shows and in newspapers to explain the science behind human reproduction and infertility.

Previously, Professor Pacey has been recognised by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists who awarded him an Honorary Fellowship in 2014, and in 2016 he was also awarded an MBE by the late Queen Elizabeth II for his services to reproductive medicine.

UK’s Largest Research Streaming Platform Launched

The UK’s biggest research streaming platform has been launched by the University of Sheffield to enable anyone, anywhere to discover and explore its pioneering research.

The University of Sheffield Player, officially launched this week (Monday 30 January 2023), brings together videos, podcasts and digital exhibitions all about University of Sheffield research, which anyone, from anywhere can access at anytime – making the University’s research more accessible than ever before.

From art to artificial intelligence, climate change to cutting-edge medicine, food security to societal issues, there is something on the Player to feed every curiosity.

The unique platform offers a curated library of quality, evidence-based content that showcases the work of Sheffield’s internationally-recognised researchers – who are leaders in their fields, working to tackle many of the problems that affect us all. The Player makes this research accessible, engaging and freely available to all, in one place for the first time.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture at the University of Sheffield, said: “Our vision at the University of Sheffield is to deliver life-enhancing research that not only transforms the lives of our graduates, but shapes the world we live in. A key part of this is sharing our research with people outside of the University – making the breakthroughs our academics achieve accessible to people throughout Sheffield, the South Yorkshire region, the rest of the UK and around the world.”

“By launching the University of Sheffield Player we are making our research more openly available than ever before. It’s bringing our research into one single place that anyone, anywhere can access and explore, which we hope will mean even more people will benefit from the discoveries our academics make every day.”

The Player has been specially designed to be easy to explore and access.

You can start by scrolling through the Homepage to discover featured items on a range of different subjects.

Or, if you are interested in a particular theme or topic, you can take a look at Channels and Categories using dropdown menus at the top of each page. There is a curated selection of videos, podcasts, exhibitions and playlists within the Player’s four Channels: Arts & Culture; Environment & Sustainability; People & Place; and Science & Technology.

To find content relating to more specific topics, you can click on one of the 20+ Category headings in the dropdown menu. The Categories cover everything from Poetry, History and Well-being, to Engineering, Nature and Sustainability.

The Player enables anyone to explore University of Sheffield festivals and playlists, through its Series list. This includes: Highlights from 2021, the Sounds of the Cosmos video series, Festival of the Mind, Off the Shelf Festival of Words and Understanding Society.

Alternatively, a search of the A-Z listings opens up a world of content from Sheffield research such as Age of Love, a light-hearted, sensitive look at sexuality in older age to Zoomshock, a dynamic animated video into the societal effects of remote working.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, added: “The launch of the platform opens up a world of possibilities for us to further develop how we share our research and make a difference to people’s lives. At launch, the Player has over 250 videos, podcasts and exhibitions, but this is just the start – new content will be added every week and we’re looking forward to exploring how we can use it to share our research with the public.”

Professor Koen Lamberts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “The launch of the University of Sheffield Player marks a key milestone in how the University shares its research with the public. We have long made our research open and accessible, such as through the many different public events our academics take part in throughout each year, the expert commentary they provide to the world’s media and the outreach work they do with schools and groups in our local communities.

“Now the Player brings our public engagement activities together in one place, so that anyone can access it from anywhere at anytime. This provides a platform for our research to reach more people than ever before.”

To start exploring the Player, visit here.

Supporting World Leading Research At University Of Leeds

The University of Leeds has joined a national consortium that aims to ensure the UK retains its place as a centre for world-leading research.

The UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN) is a peer-led consortium that promotes robust research, training activities and the sharing of best practice.

Its activities span multiple levels, including researchers, institutions and other stakeholders such as funders and publishers. Leeds joins 29 other UKRN universities across the UK and will contribute to ongoing work to improve research quality and reproducibility across the sector.

Professor Daryl O’Connor, of Leeds’ School of Psychology, is the University’s Institutional Lead for UKRN. He said: “Joining UKRN represents another clear example of the University’s commitment to improving research quality, transparency and reproducibility.”

Professor O’Connor will work with other universities as well as Leeds colleagues including Professor Cat Davies, Dean for Research Culture, and Dr Amanda Bretman, Dean for Research Quality, spear-heading Leeds’ Research Culture and Quality strategy work.

Professor Davies said: “Joining the UKRN formalises our existing work in a wide range of open research practices. Providing a valuable network and boosting resource and engagement, our membership is an important step in the University’s path to enhancing research quality and culture.”

Leeds already has an active network of researchers engaged in promoting open research through initiatives such as ReproducibiliTea and Open Lunches, led by library colleagues including Nick Sheppard, Open Research Advisor at Leeds University Library.

Dr Eike Rinke, of Leeds’ School of Politics and International Studies, is the University’s UKRN Local Network Lead. He said: “With this move, the University demonstrates its commitment to integrity and openness as key ingredients to producing world-class research. It’s a clear recognition of the work done over the past years by the local UKRN community of academics and professional staff at Leeds.”

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, has worked closely with Professor O’Connor and and Dr Rinke to support the process of joining UKRN. He said: “Joining this peer-led national consortium will strengthen Leeds’ vision to support and value high quality research and will promote effective collaborative working with other partner institutions to ensure Leeds and the UK retains its place as a centre for world-leading interdisciplinary research.”

University Of Sheffield Affirms Open Research & Scholarship Culture

The University of Sheffield has affirmed its commitment to an open research and scholarship culture, by approving new policies that will ensure its research is accessible to as many people as possible, and encouraging the use and creation of open educational resources throughout its teaching programmes.

The University’s aspiration is to embrace an open research culture, which is fundamental in order for its research to be of maximum benefit to society, and to enable students to engage effectively with educational resources.

This aspiration is a vital pillar of University’s Vision and governs how the University’s distinctive and innovative research will continue to drive intellectual advances and address global challenges.

The new policies for intellectual policy, research publications and copyright, and open educational resources (OER) have now been approved by the University of Sheffield’s Senate and solidify those commitments, setting out plans for how the Vision will be implemented. They apply to results of research conducted on the University’s campus.

Professor Sue Hartley, the University of Sheffield’s Vice-President for Research, said: “This new policy is a real step change in ensuring that the excellent research we do here at the University of Sheffield can be accessed and used by anyone for the benefit of all.”

“As well as supporting authors to retain their rights and comply with funder policies, immediate and inclusive access to research outputs is of critical importance to deriving societal benefits from the findings. Open access is significant in driving innovation across all disciplines, something that is of great importance to us here at Sheffield.”

Professor Mary Vincent, the University of Sheffield’s Vice-President for Education, added: “Open educational resources play an increasingly important role in the inclusive and engaging learning environment we provide at Sheffield, and I am delighted that our new OER policy has been approved, signalling our continued commitment to open education and scholarship.”

The University of Sheffield was one of the many global institutions which prioritised the quick sharing of research data free of many of the restrictions that academic papers are usually subjected to, which can restrict who can access data, and where.

The University was one of the first UK research centres to publish fully sequenced genomes of the Covid-19 virus, by sharing its findings with the international data bank GISAID. This enabled researchers around the world to track the spread and evolution of the virus, without which scientists and health researchers globally would not have been able to effectively, and rapidly develop much-needed life-saving treatments.

The new policies are based on principles set out in national, and international research funding frameworks, which support researchers to promote their findings to the biggest audience possible for the benefit of everyone immediately upon publication of their academic papers, providing opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

As well as fostering more equitable access to research, they also support the use and creation of openly accessible educational resources, aligning Sheffield with the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Anna Clements, Director of Library Services and University Librarian at the University of Sheffield, said: “I am delighted that the University has adopted these policies. The Library is committed to supporting the University’s digital education goals and the aim of developing an equitable and open environment for research and education. These policies mean that our researchers can be confident that those wishing to access our research results can do so irrespective of their ability to pay, and that our students have access to high quality digital resources to support their learning.”