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Tender opens this month for Ipswich Opportunity Area projects following launch event

PUBLISHED: 17:45 01 February 2018

Terry baxter speaking at the Ipswich Opportunity Area launch event at IP-City Centre. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY

Terry baxter speaking at the Ipswich Opportunity Area launch event at IP-City Centre. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY

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The ball has begun rolling on multi-million pound plans to improve Ipswich’s education outcomes after the Ipswich Opportunity Area was formally launched yesterday.

Richard Lister speaking at the Ipswich Opportunity Area launch event at IP-City Centre. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY Richard Lister speaking at the Ipswich Opportunity Area launch event at IP-City Centre. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY

More than 120 people from schools, colleges and other education settings gathered at IP-City Centre this morning, where further details of the Opportunity Area were unveiled.

Ipswich is one of 12 Opportunity Areas across the country earmarked for a share of a £72 million pot from the Department for Education, with the aim of improving children’s education and developing industry-leading teaching.

At the event, the OA’s board unveiled its vision for the next three years, with the tender for many of the projects going out this month ahead of planned September starts.

Katrina Gardiner, programme manager, said: “People have a huge amount to give, and over-arching all of this is the engagement of young people.

The Ipswich Opportunity Area launch event at IP-City Centre. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY The Ipswich Opportunity Area launch event at IP-City Centre. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY

“The only way we are going to be able to show the rest of the country why Ipswich was chosen is because we have the potential to be the best in the country.

“We were chosen because we have that potential and we need to make sure we work together to make that potential a reality.”

The programme seeks to improve all areas of education from teacher training to engaging parents and youngsters.

One of the key elements is to keep parents connected throughout the education system, making parents as engaged and aware of their child’s secondary school as they are at nursery level, when they tend to have more involvement.

It also seeks to develop children’s social and ‘world’ skills as much as academic performance.

While some projects which are already underway will join the area programme, tender for many of the first activities will be launched from this month, with an eye to launching in September.

Among those are a support scheme for governors, inspiring ‘world of work’ placements for children and a life skills project.

Ms Gardiner added: “We need this to be sustainable – that’s the key thing. Everything we are doing is an investment in our young people’s futures. It’s not putting a sticking plaster on, it’s about doing something different, investing, and getting to that point where it is sustainable.”

To find out more about the area plan, visit the Department for Education website here.

Anyone wishing to get in touch with the Opportunity Area plan’s team should email here.

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