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Stephen George + Partners helps deliver 10-week taught programme to schools and helps meet Gatsby Benchmarks

8th November 2018

New College Leicester is one of the participating schools in a ground-breaking industry engagement programme designed to bring education and industry closer together and to teach children about the built environment.

The Leicester-based school has high expectations and aspirations for its students, which comprises a culturally diverse mix of some 900 young people aged 11-18 years. Over 54 different languages are spoken within the college where students are fully supported by the college’s inclusion team. New College Leicester has achieved the prestigious Career Mark Gold Award in recognition of outstanding continued commitment to careers education guidance, employability and enterprise and is one of only 240 schools in the country to achieve the IQM Centre of Excellence for outstanding levels of inclusion best practice.

Recognising the opportunity for young people that the industry-based schools programme would bring, Careers Leader at New College Leicester, Mrs Fiona Rogers leapt at the chance to participate in the pilot scheme without hesitation when approached.

The industry-linked schools programme is based on Brief Cases from The Heaven Company.

Brief Cases is designed to bridge the gap between academia and business and focuses on what students learn, helping to develop the talent pipeline for more sustainable industries in the future. At undergraduate level, Brief Cases is a semester-long taught programme that works with industry partners and reaches up to 1,000 students each year across the UK. Recently, Brief Cases has become an embedded pathway within the Post Graduate ‘MA Global Governance and Sustainable Development’ module in association with one of the scheme’s university partners, Middlesex University.

The Brief Cases schools programme delivered at New College Leicester was developed in partnership with leading architects and masterplanners Stephen George + Partners, a business headquartered nearby the school in Grove Park, Leicester. The 10-week Architecture and Sustainability course is delivered in the classroom as a taught programme within the school timetable and is designed to encourage school-aged children to explore the built environment, learn about sustainability and, importantly, think about ways they can influence change for the better.

Brief Cases in schools provides a structured format that can be mapped to the Gatsby benchmarks. Materials provided include:

· Lesson plans with defined outcomes that link to science, technology,
engineering and maths (STEM subjects) and the Arts – linking curriculum learning to careers;

· Workbooks are provided to each student to record their work and capture real-life learning experiences derived from the classes with industry contacts;

· Certificates are awarded to students to recognise achievement and the successful completion of the course at a special celebration event;

· Brief Cases university connections provide opportunities for schools to engage with Higher Education.

“We are really pleased to have had the opportunity to work on the Architecture and Sustainability project in collaboration with Stephen George + Partners and Brief Cases,” says Fiona Rogers. “The enthusiasm and engagement of our Year 9 students and their research outside of the classroom were reflected in the excellent ideas and mock ups of planet friendly homes built during the sessions. We very much appreciate the commitment from Stephen George + Partners and The Heaven Company.”

Veronica Heaven, founder of Brief Cases and managing director of The Heaven Company, says: “Brief Cases is a model for co-operation between business and academia. It is my hope that this bridge between industry and education will continue to be valuable across the value chain and industry sectors contributing to two vital challenges we are committed to: Firstly, fostering home-grown talent; a highly skilled workforce is our best guarantee of a sustainable industry for the future, and Brief Cases is a way of building that. Secondly, raising aspirations while bringing talent into industry and the regions; the relationships built during the scheme presents options outside the metropolitan centres to the students that they have often never considered.”

“At Stephen George + Partners we recognise that we’ve got a role to play in shaping ideas. We want to interest young people in how architecture affects the environment and also how they can be part of it, caring for the planet through design decisions.  We’re highlighting the breadth of opportunity in the sector. Architecture isn’t only for people who can draw. There’s everything from mechanical engineering and project management to roles in marketing and human resources. This programme helps students to see that,” says SGP director Mark Smith who led the project.