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Minimum £53,000 boost to schools in Ipswich Opportunity Area

PUBLISHED: 05:30 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:31 17 January 2019

The Ipswich Opportunity Area aims to boost education attainment for youngsters Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The Ipswich Opportunity Area aims to boost education attainment for youngsters Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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Schools in Ipswich are benefiting from an additional £53,000 each as part of a government education drive, it has emerged.

Katrina Gardiner said it was a significant sum of money that each school was benefitting from Picture: DAVID GARRADKatrina Gardiner said it was a significant sum of money that each school was benefitting from Picture: DAVID GARRAD

Ipswich was selected as one of 12 opportunity areas announced by the Department for Education, which formally launched in January 2018 – all with the aim of improving children’s education results and teaching.

It means schools have a share of a £72million pot put aside for the 12 areas.

Now, as the scheme approaches its one year anniversary, bosses have confirmed that around 50 schemes are underway, with each school benefiting from tens of thousands in additional cash.

Katrina Gardiner, programme manager, said: “We are firmly in delivery now – we’ve got about 50 initiatives that are running under the opportunity area.

Helen Winn, Ipswich Academy principal, said it had experienced success with the projects it was involved in. Picture: PARADIGM TRUSTHelen Winn, Ipswich Academy principal, said it had experienced success with the projects it was involved in. Picture: PARADIGM TRUST

“For schools in Ipswich the lowest amount of funding available was £53,200. The maximum a school could get is £185,000.

“It’s a huge amount of investment for schools available, but it will only have the impact it has if they [schools] take it up.

“We’re not here to throw a load of money and disappear – we’re here to try and make significant change to create social mobility for our young people.”

Among some of the headline projects are the development of a new parenting app set to be rolled out in the spring which will help parents spot the signs of emotional and social development in their child, a text-message based trial of better communication between schools and parents and new social action programmes.

Others have included funded training opportunities for staff, support for the most disadvantaged pupils, and improved transitions into careers.

One of the key successes has been a six week scheme called ‘what a difference a day makes’ – a series of six four-hour Saturday sessions for 75 GCSE maths pupils that can benefit from additional tuition.

Helen Winn, principal of Ipswich Academy which is one of the five schools involved in that pilot, said: “Ipswich Academy Year 11 students have benefited tremendously from the ‘what a difference a day makes’ project which focused on building students’ confidence and knowledge leading up to their mathematics GCSE examination.

“They really enjoyed the sessions and have made rapid progress in this short period of time.”

She added: “Ipswich Academy has received other Opportunity Area funding to implement a literacy project for our Key Stage 3 students.

“We are using the funding to concentrate on reducing the vocabulary gap. Although this project is in its infancy, early indicators show that our students are responding with great enthusiasm.”

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