I am pleased to confirm that the Department of Education has published the Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area Delivery Plan, which will help local schools.
This plan includes free National Qualifications for teachers in Fenland and East Cambs, which usually cost between £450 and £7,000. Teachers will have the opportunity to increase their skills, confidence and knowledge in a range of areas including leadership, STEM subjects, phonics and managing challenging pupil behaviour. By offering the schemes for free, it will encourage more local teachers to gain further skills, in turn helping them deliver their careers and stay in our area and also benefit local students.
This month the Opportunity Area will also be inviting schools to apply for up to £25,000 to deliver small-scale improvements which are aimed at raising the attainment of pupils. Cambridgeshire County Council will also be offering schools in our area access to CHUMS, which support children and young people with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and offer preventative interventions for other behaviours such as self-harm. Secondary schools will also receive training in mental health first aid. They also aim to reduce the waiting time for child and adolescent mental health services support to 12 weeks.
The Opportunity Area board have set ambitious targets such as halving the gap between attainment of disadvantaged pupils and all pupils at key stage 2 by 2021 and to increase the percentage of all pupils attending a good or outstanding secondary school for leadership and management to at least 95%.
These are just a few examples of a much larger programme of interventions that the Opportunity Area has planned to ensure that our children in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire unlock their full potential. If you have a child at a local school, do ask your head teachers about the scheme so we ensure we make the most of it.