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Novus' £5k boost for Academy partner
Our chairman Stuart Seddon has made a generous £5,000 donation to a Stoke-on-Trent school which we are supporting as part of Business in the Community’s (BITC) flagship education programme, Business Class.
Stuart handed the donation to Thistley Hough Academy, in Penkhull, which we have formed a partnership with under the Business Class programme.   
Stuart, who is also a member of BITC’s Regional Leadership Board, will chair BITC’s new Staffordshire Business Class Cluster, which aims to support six schools in disadvantaged communities in Staffordshire.  BITC matches each school within the cluster of six with a local business. Business Class aims to create a sea change in the way businesses work with secondary schools by creating long-term sustainable partnerships. 
Our partner, Thistley Hough, was this year taken out of special measures by Oftsed, a significant step forward. Stuart met with pupils, staff, and Principal, Holly Hartley, at the school to present the academy with the donation to kick-start the partnership.
Using an action plan built with the help of BITC, we aim to help the academy in a range of priority areas, including leadership and governance, the curriculum, enterprise and employability. We will look at how industry and the education sector can work alongside each other to better prepare youngsters for their future working lives.
A representative from Novus has been invited to join the school Governors, and the academy’s Principal will be invited to participate in our board meetings. Our heads of departments will partner with school heads to share best practice and some pupils will work with a mentor from Novus.
We will establish skills development opportunities to pupils at the school, which will include skills taster days, training, work experience, interview sessions and mentoring and will support the development of a school farm and allotment.
We are committed to inspiring pupils and teachers at Thistley Hough and a painting and decorating competition held by us will offer pupils a taster of being an apprentice with Novus. We will draw in our other partners to support the academy while monthly and quarterly meetings will be held between the partners to evaluate the progress of our pledge.
Stuart Seddon said: “It is important that lessons in the classroom are not only relevant to life in the world of work but also to the young people themselves. We are confident that Novus can make a great contribution to staff and pupils at the school and we look forward to working as partners to bring positive results and opportunities for all involved with the academy. The £5,000 donation gives us and the school a head-start in making progress with our joint action plan.”
Holly Hartley, Principal at Thistley Hough Academy, said: "Novus has a distinguished record of providing sustainable employment nationwide from its base in Stoke and Thistley Hough Academy is delighted to be able to forge a long term partnership with a firm that can provide great insight and opportunities for our pupils.
“We have been greatly encouraged by their practical support and are already seeing tangible benefits, including the development of a new school farm on part of our superb nine-and-a-half hectare estate."
Jayne Magee, Director of Operations (BITC West Midlands) added: “As well as Novus building a sustainable relationship with Thistley Hough, we are delighted that Stuart has agreed to Chair the Cluster and lead termly meetings of the first six schools and  businesses engaged in our new Business Class Cluster in Staffordshire. These cluster meetings will facilitate the sharing of best practice and enable everyone to identify and collaborate on common challenges to accelerate the programme’s impact.” 
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