Dalehead joins ‘Business Class’ education programme

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Cambridge University Press – Press Release 25/11/11

New scheme to bring schools and businesses together launches in Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire schools will have their own friendly business ‘dragons’ when a new ‘Business Class’ education scheme launches for Cambridgeshire on Tuesday 29th November.

The ‘Business Class’ education programme, designed to bring business expertise to secondary schools, will be launched by Business in the Community (BITC) and Cambridge University Press – one of the first Cambridgeshire businesses to sign up for the project.

The schools involved so far are Chesterton Community College, Linton Village College, Manor Community College, Netherhall School and Parkside Federation. The first local businesses that have committed to work with the schools, alongside Cambridge University Press, are Ridgeons, Dalehead Foods and CSR, designers of wi-fi and GPS products.

Business Class aims to raise aspirations and transform performance for schools and their pupils by building sustained, long-term relationships between schools and experienced local business people.

The support given by businesses focuses on the school as a whole and is led by what that school and its pupils need. Detailed needs analyses of the schools will be carried out by BITC to ensure they are matched with the right business expertise. The businesses involved will offer mentoring, work experience, advice, guidance and use of facilities.

The Business Class programme started in the North West of England and now has 133 active and developing partnerships supported by 116 businesses, in 35 established and developing clusters across the UK.  Business Class is active or developing in all English regions, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Research shows that schools already involved in the scheme consider that it has improved students’ academic achievement by 38%, and both schools and businesses think the programme has improved students’ employability by over 40%.

The signs are that business expertise is also bringing benefits to teachers and governors. Schools and businesses already involved believe significant progress has been achieved in leadership and governance in schools, because of the Business Class programme.

Heidi Mulvey, Cambridge’s Head of Community Engagement, said: “We’re delighted to have helped pave the way for Business Class to come to Cambridgeshire by hosting events to encourage businesses to get involved. It’s exciting to be at the launch stage now and we are confident that Business Class will go on to achieve great things in this region.”

Fiona Rawes, MBE, Education Director, Business in the Community added: “We are delighted that Business Class is launching in Cambridgeshire and grateful to Cambridge University Press for hosting the launch of the programme in the region. 

“There is no silver bullet when it comes to raising attainment in our schools; great teaching, inspired leadership and supportive parenting all have their role to play. However employer engagement is also an essential part of the mix, playing a vital role in expanding pupil horizons, aspirations and employability, raising attainment by adding relevance to the curriculum, and enabling ideas and best practice to be shared around the challenges of leadership and governance in a rapidly changing landscape.

“Business in the Community members have been active in this sphere for over 20 years and are delighted to celebrate Business Class which focuses on sustained and thoughtful engagement in schools and colleges.”

For more infromation about Business in the Community and the Business Class flagship education programme please visit www.bitc.org.uk

Photo above including Joanne Collins, Dalehead Divisional HR Manager first left, amongst the Cambridge cluster