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Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE has officially opened Sheffield Hallam University's new £30million Charles Street Building - home of the Sheffield Institute of Education (SIoE).
The new building in the heart of Sheffield city centre, which features a concertina-effect walkway designed by Corin Mellor, houses more than 150 academic staff and 5,000 students - making it one of the largest providers of education training and research in the UK.
Launched earlier this year, the Institute is an "all-through" Institute, covering from early years through to higher education - at every level from foundation degree to post-doctoral.
The official opening of the Charles Street Building took place as part of the SIoE's Social Justice and Inclusion in Education conference, which was focused on an expert panel discussion: 'What is a socially just and inclusive education system?'
The expert panel was made up of Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, Paul Blomfield MP (Labour, Sheffield Central), Sir Anthony Seldon (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham) and Professor Nick Hodge (Professor in Education, Childhood and Inclusion at Sheffield Hallam University).
Baroness Lawrence established the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them start careers in architecture, journalism and law. She is also an Honorary Doctor of Laws at Sheffield Hallam University.
She said: "I'm delighted to have joined so many people from across the education sector in the region to celebrate the opening of this outstanding new resource whilst also exploring an issue that is so close to my heart - ensuring we have a socially just and inclusive education system.
"As an honorary doctor of this great institution, I'm particularly pleased to help the University mark a key milestone in an already impressive record on education provision and research."
Professor Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: "Baroness Lawrence is a close friend of the University and we were delighted that she was able to officially open the fantastic Charles Street building, whilst also taking the time to actively engage and drive debate at the following conference.
"The SIoE will be steered by leading academics and students who are passionate about education. We take great pride in knowing that they will now reside in one of the finest education teaching and research facilities in the UK, at the very heart of a great city."
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