BESA Northern Powerhouse
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YPO hosts BESA Northern Powerhouse seminar

By Fiona Wilkins, Corporate Communications Manager

Balance between knowledge and skills key to Northern Powerhouse, determine experts at BESA seminar

The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), partnered with YPO, the UK’s largest public sector buying organisation, to host a seminar to discuss the role of schools in building the Northern Powerhouse. Deputy Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education MP Andrea Jenkyns spoke at the event, highlighting the importance of a well-rounded education focusing on both knowledge and skills.

Held at YPO’s Wakefield headquarters, the event involved a panel discussion chaired by Patrick Hayes, Director of BESA. In addition to MP Andrea Jenkyns, the panel included experts in the education including former schools inspector, educator and best-selling author of Dales books Gervase Phinn, Director of Leading Edge Associates Tim Kitching, Programme Leader for Education Studies at the University of Derby and leading expert on apprenticeships Dr Ruth Mieschbuehler, and Founder of the community-driven website Innovate My School Michael Forshaw, explored ways in which educators in Yorkshire can contribute to the region’s economy.

A number of speakers on the panel agreed that while quality education does have an impact on the future of the Northern Powerhouse, schools need to place a greater emphasis on knowledge-based education to be able to contribute to long-term productivity and economic development.

MP Andrea Jenkyns, Deputy Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education, said during the event: “I am pleased that BESA and YPO have held this event as it gives us the opportunity to discuss key issues in the education sector – soft skills is one of them. Educators who can become role models for pupils can help them skills such as communication and confidence. We need to establish best practice within schools – we need toolkits and guides that can support teachers create the best teaching programme possible.

We want to equip pupils in the region with the right skills so they don’t need to leave Yorkshire to get a good job down South.”

Patrick Hayes, Director of BESA, said: !In the discussion about how best to build the Northern Powerhouse, it's important that the need for high quality schools are not overlooked. Teachers, responsible for educating the next generation, are the key to its success. BESA includes some of the country’s top educational suppliers, such as YPO, and, as an association, we’re fully invested in exploring ways of unlocking the potential of schools and giving teachers the support they need to drive up standards of education. The panel touched on key issues around what education is for - an essential debate that has never been more timely.”

Simon Hill, Managing Director at YPO, said: “We work closely with schools on a daily basis and know only too well both the potential held and challenges faced by them. Therefore, it was a natural course of action for us to partner with BESA to host this discussion. The North is headed in the right direction; thanks to the hard work and expertise of local authorities in the North, the region already performs well in terms of primary school attainment. Schools can play a strong role in not only achieving, but sustaining, the benefits that the Northern Powerhouse represents for the region.”