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Opportunity Areas announcement

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Attainment gap, Social mobility

Today’s news review looks at the speech Education Secretary Justine Greening is set to make this afternoon on education being at the core of social mobility.

Social mobility and Opportunity Areas

Today, Wednesday 18 January, Education Secretary Justine Greening, will announce six further Opportunity Areas across England, targeting social mobility ‘coldspots’ through education.

The Opportunity Areas programme will now be expanded to twelve locations, adding Bradford, Doncaster, Fenland & East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich, and Stoke.

Funding given by the Department for Education for Opportunity Areas will increase to £72m and will support local education providers and communities to address the biggest challenges in the twelve areas.

The Secretary of State will also announce a new £3.5m programme that will see the Education Endowment Foundation establish a Research School for each Opportunity Area. The funding, with £1.5m coming from DfE and £2m from the Education Endowment Foundation, will allow the new Research Schools to lead the development and dissemination of evidence-led practice in local schools.

Education Secretary, Justine Greening, said:

As the Prime Minister has set out, we are facing a moment of great change as a nation. With our departure from the European Union, we will need to define an ambitious new role for ourselves in the world. For Britain to succeed we must be a country where everyone has a fair chance to go as far as their talent and their hard work will allow. Education is at the heart of that ambition, and is central to breaking down the barriers to social mobility that too many face in our country today.


I want to see more disadvantaged young people attending the very best universities, winning places on apprenticeships, entering the top professions, and progressing through the most rewarding careers – and I want employers to do more to draw out the potential and talents of all.


Opportunity Areas will help local children get the best start in life, no matter what their background. Ensuring all children can access high-quality education at every stage is critical. We will focus not just on what we can do to help inside schools, but also create the opportunities outside school that will raise sights and broaden horizons for young people, including working with organisations such as the Careers and Enterprise Company, the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the National Citizen Service.

The Department for Education will target its programmes to ensure children get the best start in the early years, to build teaching and leadership capacity in schools, to increase access to university, to strengthen technical pathways for young people, and work with employers to improve young people’s access to the right advice and experiences. DfE will work with each Opportunity Area to respond to local priorities and needs - because each area will have its own challenges.

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