Longlisted for a Business in the Community Responsible Business Award 2018
From ‘special measures’ to ‘good’: How Novus helped turn a school’s education performance around.
Action and Impact
The property maintenance business Novus has its head office in Stoke but it struggles to fill vacancies with people who live locally. In fact, many businesses across Stoke have identified “an under-skilled local workforce” as a challenge for their business.
Novus, a business whose chairman Stuart Seddon is passionate about Stoke, has taken a unique approach to the problem. Novus has formed a partnership with a local school so that the company can have a direct input into the skills that pupils require to be ready for employment.
The partner school is Thistley Hough Academy, whose principal, Holly Hartley was keen to take part in the Novus Business Class initiative because the school faced a number of challenges.
Around a third of students are either disabled or with special educational needs – well above the national average – and in 2012, the Academy was placed into special measures, with poor exam performance, staffing issues and low pupil enrolment.
Five years later, and thanks to the support of Novus, its educational performance has been turned around, not least because of the volunteer mentoring given by Novus staff, and a range of work placements being offered. In 2017, Thistley was graded ‘Good' with some ‘Outstanding’ features.
”By working with local charities, community organisations and community volunteers we aim to play our part in improving people’s lives. Our Business Class programme is an extension of this,” says Seddon.