The Department for Education’s Opportunity Area programme board have announced that they aim to ensure that the percentage of children eligible for free school meals achieving at least the expected standard in the Early Years Foundation Stage in reading and speaking will exceed the national average by 2021. They also aim to halve the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and all pupils at KS2 and for the attainment of all KS2 pupils in reading to be in the top half of all local authority districts in England.
To reach these ambitious and necessary goals the Department for Education will receive applications from all primary schools to apply for up to £25,000 to deliver small-scale improvements targeted at raising the attainment of pupils. Teachers will be able to access free training in phonics and reading and early years professionals will also have access to training in early speech, language and reading. Moreover, to help improve concentration in schools, at least five new breakfast clubs will be opening this September.
This is good news which will ensure that all of our local children will have access to quality education which will unlock their boundless potential. Last Friday, I met with a number of local headteachers at Glebelands School (Chatteris) to discuss how we make the most of the Opportunity Area Programme and to hear more about how I can support local teachers.