UK Education: Birmingham School leads with local business partnerships
Small Heath school in Birmingham has set up partnerships with local businesses in order to teach students valuable employment skills.
The partnerships initiated by Small Heath School, which include a collaboration with Birmingham Airport, are clearly mutually beneficial. The participating companies get the opportunity to work with young people who often bring fresh ideas to bear upon old problems and they also get to spot potential recruits for the future.
“The school has been working closely with business and industry for the past ten years,” said Head Teacher Peter Slough, “this has allowed our children to gain those essential skills and qualities that we know they need. We’re not talking about “links” to industry, we’re talking about real, long-term, lasting partnerships with a variety of companies who benefit from the partnership just as much as the children and the school benefits."
The children gain work-related education that gives them a head start when they leave school. One ex-pupil, Ali Wadwod, currently at university studying to be a doctor, was involved in the scheme and said that the experience had certainly helped him become more successful than he would otherwise been.
Richard Riley, Head of Work Related Education at Small Heath School, explained that it is not enough to produce exam fodder. Adding that academic achievement has to go hand in hand with skills that will make the children employable when they get out into the wider world.
Now the school is being supported by the Local Enterprise Partnership and Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and being hailed as a model for school-business partnerships in the future.