Ipswich to receive share of £60m school social mobility fund, Justine Greening to announce

Stock image. Pic: David Davies/PA.

Stock image. Pic: David Davies/PA. - Credit: PA

Ipswich will receive a share of a £60m school improvement scheme after being identified as a social mobility ‘coldspot’, the government is set to announce today.

Justine Greening, the education secretary, has chosen Ipswich as one of 12 ‘opportunity areas’ in England to benefit from the new policy, designed to remove the barriers of social mobility in education, support schools and improve links with employers.

Education chiefs in Ipswich last night hailed the news as a “vote of confidence” in the town which will help prevent social mobility “stagnation”.

Under the scheme, money will be spent building teaching and leadership capacity in schools and improving access to careers advice with the help of 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, build teaching and leadership capacity in schools, increase access to university, strengthen “technical pathways” for young people, and work with employers to improve young people’s access to the right advice and experiences.

Other areas chosen for the scheme include: Norwich, Stoke, Blackpool, Oldham and Bradford.

Mrs Greening has previously pledged the initiative will help give all children “the best start in life, no matter what their background”.

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She is expected to announce 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.”

Sir Steve Lancashire, chief executive of the Reach2 Academy Trust, which runs Sprites Primary Academy in Ipswich, said: “We are delighted that Ipswich has been identified as a new ‘opportunity area’.

“As a trust that specialises in providing exceptional opportunities for learning in some of the most challenged parts of the country, it is welcome indeed that the Government is explicitly recognising and prioritising areas of the country where social mobility is at risk of stagnation.

“We look forward to seeing the difference that this concerted effort will make.”

Mark Pendlington, chair of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said more young people will receive the life opportunities “they deserve” under the scheme.

“The new opportunity area for Ipswich is a real vote of confidence in the town and the transformation so many people are working to achieve across all areas of the community and economy.”