Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Deloitte Staff Set to Go to the Top of the Class

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Deloitte Staff Set to Go to the Top of the Class

Article excerpt

Byline: EDUCATION TOM KEIGHLEY tom.keighley@ncjmedia.co.uk

NORTH EAST businesses are being called on to help tackle growing disparity in educational attainment in the region.

Business and education leaders gathered at auditing firm Deloitte's Newcastle office to discuss the challenge and to hear more about Deloitte's Access Programme - a scheme in conjunction with charity Teach First which puts Deloitte staff in front of pupils at schools in the region.

The programme allows Deloitte staff to work with pupils on areas such as character and culture, enterprise skills, leadership and raising aspirations and employability.

A roundtable debate turned the spotlight on statistics showing that just 19% of pupils from low-income communities in the North East receive five good GCSEs and only 12% progress to higher education.

Rebecca Earnshaw, the director of regional schools network, Schools North East, said she was positive the North East could be held up as an example of educational turnaround, in the same way the London Challenge has successfully addressed inner city schools in the capital.

She was supported by Teach First North East director Paul Green, who said the region had all the assets required to become an exemplar of interaction between business and education.

Deloitte chairman David Cruickshank was in Newcastle to help promote the Access Programme and discuss how businesses and educational institutions could work together more effectively.

Outlining the scheme to The Journal, Mr Cruickshank said: "There has been an insatiable thirst for Teach First around the country, not least in the North East.

"The Access Programme is really a natural progression for us. Every year we recruit about 11,000 graduates and school leavers. Training and development is in the DNA of the company, and it makes sense for us put our expertise to good use. …

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