Lord’s visit to academy focused on employability across the curriculum

Posted by: Belinda Hargreaves

Tue 25th June 2024

David Blunkett, a member of the House of Lords, has paid a visit to the David Nieper Academy this week.
Lord Blunkett attended the Alfreton school on Monday (June 24) and was given a tour of the establishment where students showcased various aspects of school life at the academy.

Here, Head of School Richard White, speaks of Lord Blunkett’s visit to the Alfreton school: “The visit began with Lord Blunkett delivering an assembly about his early life, his education, his impressive career in many senior cabinet posts, and now his role in the House of Lords. He also spoke about how he overcame many of the challenges of being born blind and it was fascinating for students to hear about his experiences from his own school days at the Sheffield School for the blind. Lord Blunkett also answered a range of questions from the audience, from was there a teacher that particularly motivated you to succeed to what advice would you give to any future Prime Minister?
“A tour around the Academy took in the culinary delights of a year 9 hospitality class and also visited a class of staff and pupils from Stonebroom Primary School, who joined Christopher Nieper Education Trust earlier in the academic year. This group of younger pupils from year 2 to year 6 were keen to show off their achievements from their extra-curricular clubs including knitting, Forest Schools and making ‘Tree Bogarts’ using clay from their local stream.
Mr White continued: “Lord Blunkett was also treated to the opening scene from our recent school performance of Annie which was followed by a very energetic performance from the school band, who performed a superb rendition of Santana’s Smooth.
“The tour ended with Lord Blunkett meeting a panel of pupils to discuss the huge range of lunchtime and after-school clubs that are run in the academy, and the showpiece event which is Enterprise Week. During this, a wide range of local and national employers, including Denby Pottery, The Derbyshire Constabulary, Owen Taylors, The Royal Engineers, Futures Housing Group, Equip UK, Bowmer and Kirkland, all give up their time to work with staff and students on exciting work-related learning projects.
“Lord Blunkett was full of praise for the staff and pupils at the Academy and recognised the benefit of the fantastic opportunities that the pupils are clearly embracing.”

A recent YouGov survey for parents has revealed that “More than 70 per cent of British parents believe that the school system puts too little emphasis on preparing young people for work.”

However, the David Nieper Academy, which is part of the Christopher Nieper Education Trust, takes pride in that “employability is at the centre of our curriculum.”
Mr White said: “Today’s visit by Lord Blunkett to David Nieper Academy focussed on how developing employability skills through our wider curriculum supports pupil engagement, wellbeing, and ultimately their outcomes.
“We have deliberately positioned employability at the centre of our curriculum, that we believe celebrates equally all forms of talent, interests, and aptitudes. A focus on a purely academic and theoretical curriculum can mean that some children can disconnect from education, leading to low self-esteem, and a decline in attendance. We believe that school leaders must champion work-related learning and creative subjects with the same levels of passion, through curriculum design, to funding, and extracurricular opportunities.”

To read more Spirit of Alfreton articles about the David Nieper Academy, go to here

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