The Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP, has today (Jan 18) announced that Ipswich is to be one of 12 Opportunity Areas across the UK.
The town will be able to access a £6m package of education programmes designed to help young people progress from nursery school through the education system and into employment. The money will fund local, evidence based programmes and projects which will explore new methods of addressing specific barriers in the area.
One such programme introduced will be the ‘Teacher Leadership and Innovation Fund’ which will focus on improving quality of teaching and leadership in schools.
Ipswich follows Norwich in being granted Opportunity Area status in the first wave of awards in October.
Mark Pendlington, Chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “Today’s announcement is yet another boost to providing the life opportunities that young people here in the East both need and deserve.
“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.
“This is a real call to action to release the potential in the next generation, and today New Anglia LEP commits to working even harder with leaders from business, education, local authorities and the community to make it happen.”
Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, said: “We are pleased that Ipswich has been chosen as one of the Government’s ‘opportunity areas’ and will be among the first to explore this new approach.
“Suffolk County Council remain committed to giving every child fairer opportunities from early years through to employment and we will work closely with partner organisations in the Ipswich area to achieve this.
“Suffolk has made great progress in all areas of education as part of our Raising the Bar programme – the number of Suffolk schools being judged ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted is at an all-time high at 89%, but there is still more work to be done. Today’s announcement puts us one step closer towards achieving our ultimate goal, to ensure that every child can achieve their full potential.”
Ipswich Borough Council Leader David Ellesmere said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with our partners to ensure this money is used effectively to improve social mobility for the benefit of the local community.”