Careers education chief makes first post-lockdown visit to Sheffield's Firth Park Academy

Sir John Holman, the architect of The Gatsby Benchmarks – the measures that schools use to create and evaluate their careers education offer – made his first school visit since the onset of the pandemic to Firth Park Academy in Sheffield today.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 5:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 5:22 pm
Sir John Holman, the architect of The Gatsby Benchmarks – the measures that schools use to create and evaluate their careers education offer – made his first school visit since the onset of the pandemic to Firth Park Academy in Sheffield today.
Sir John Holman, the architect of The Gatsby Benchmarks – the measures that schools use to create and evaluate their careers education offer – made his first school visit since the onset of the pandemic to Firth Park Academy in Sheffield today.

Part of AET, one of the largest and most inclusive trusts in the country, Firth Park meets all eight of the Gatsby Benchmarks and was one of the first 100 schools in the country to do so.

Sir John met with staff and students and heard about how the school has navigated the challenges of continuing to deliver the highest quality careers provision during the pandemic and the innovative approaches the school has adopted to ensure that all students continue to be prepared for their futures.

During his visit, he was also able to discuss how the academy is planning for careers provision post pandemic and what the careers programme will look like next year, including the return of physical encounters combined with the highest quality virtual experiences.

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Impressed with the academy’s approach Sir John tweeted:

"Excellent visit this morning to @FirthParkAcad Sheffield. A real sense of purpose pervades the school and careers work is deeply embedded."

Dean Jones, Headteacher of Firth Park said:

"We were so excited to welcome Sir John Holman to Firth Park Academy. To share the remarkable experiences our students are gaining in employment encounters, career aspirations and learning about the world of higher education. Motivated by first achieving and now building on top of the world class Gatsby benchmarks championed by Sir John to ensure the brightest futures for our young people."

Leighton Collins, Careers Leader at Firth Park said:

"I'm so proud of all the things that our young people achieve, we ask them to aim high whatever they want to do with their futures. We show them a wide variety of options for the future and cheer them on every step of the way as they walk towards fulfilling those dreams."

Students who met with Sir John also spoke enthusiastically of their experience of careers education at Firth Park:

“I've been able to take part in a young enterprise project supported by Peter Jones, our team learnt so much, made a £900 profit and are really excited to continue with a business in the future." Muhammad, Y10

“We've been able to take part in so many different careers activities over the years; University trips, work experience and a summer careers project with Workwise. My first choice sixth form accepted me straight away, I know the quality of my personal statement has been key." Charley, Y11

"In Y10, I worked with a PhD tutor on a six-week project with a 1500-word university style essay at the end. This really helped boost my confidence in my ability and showed me that University study is definitely for me." Reece Y10.

"I'm normally quite shy but taking part in She-Can has really helped me grow in confidence. I know how to speak to others, make eye contact and be confident in what I've got to say" Shannan Y9

"I recognise there could be barriers that I will need to overcome, as both a woman and as a person of colour. However, the project I worked on showed me that I can achieve my dreams to study at university and become a barrister in the future." Mackenzie Y9