Education Secretary launches plans to raise education standards

FE News reports that ambitious plans to raise education standards and broaden the horizons of young people in areas struggling with social mobility have been unveiled today (9 Oct) by the Education Secretary Justine Greening.

The Opportunity Area programme is a key part of the Education Secretary’s priority of tackling social mobility and improving opportunities for young people across the country. These 12 areas, identified as social mobility ‘coldspots’ – areas with both poor social mobility and schools that face challenges – will receive a share of £72 million to boost opportunities for young people in these communities.

Publication of plans for the first six Opportunity Areas – Blackpool, Derby, North Yorkshire Coast, Norwich, Oldham and West Somerset – mark the first anniversary of the programme, following a year of collaboration between local educators, employers and voluntary and community organisations to set out the key areas for improvement. Plans for the remaining six areas, announced more recently, will be published by the end of the year.

Education Secretary, Justine Greening, said:

“For too long, young people in these areas have been at a disadvantage because of where they are growing up.

I want young people living in these areas to have access to a world-class education, that’s why we are setting out our ambition in these first six opportunity areas. As we prepare for Brexit, it is vital that we raise the horizons of young people and give them the opportunity to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.”

The six regional plans also outline how the transition to adulthood will be improved by working with local ‘cornerstone’ employers to provide young people with experience of the world of work. These include EDF Energy, GCHQ, Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group, Burberry and Rolls Royce. This work is being led by the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) to create programmes for young people aged 11 to 18 that raise their career aspirations.

The government has also announced today that £22 million will be shared among all 12 Opportunity Areas through a new Essential Life Skills programme, to help disadvantaged young people have access to the same opportunities as those in the top-performing schools. The aim is to help them develop wider skills such as resilience, emotional wellbeing and employability. The programme will complement the individual Opportunity Area plans by providing extra-curricular activities, such as sports, volunteering and social action projects, which give pupils the opportunity to develop leadership skills.

Read the full article  Education Secretary launches plans to raise education standards

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