As the first academic year of the opportunity area programme is drawing to a close, we’ve decided to share some of the success stories so far.
National professional qualifications
All schools in the opportunity area are eligible for fully funded national professional qualifications. At Ely St Marys Junior four staff have already taken up this opportunity. Headteacher Beccy Ireland-Curtis said:
“Currently four middle leaders are completing NPQMLs within school. Part of the qualification is to complete a short project with the aim to improve attainment and progress through strategic leadership of a designated area.
The impact on the staff has been two-fold. The teachers undertaking the study have developed clear ideas of how to link into the 3-year strategic plan of the school and the senior leaders, who are acting as mentors, are gaining useful skills to allow them to progress further within their careers.
Without the funding we would not have been able to support all the staff in this way, so we are very grateful for the opportunity.”
Recruitment incentives grant
All schools in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire could be eligible for a grant of £10,000 to spend on incentives for new staff as an aid for recruitment. 13 schools have already been successful in applying for this grant.
One of these schools is Park Lane Primary School in Whittlesey, which has appointed a new teacher who has relocated from London to the area. The recruitment incentives grant will enable the school to offer extra training and mentoring to this teacher as she is returning from a career break. It has also enabled the school to purchase a new laptop and iPad for the new teacher.
There have been 2 waves of the opportunity area evidence-based fund, which enables schools to bid for up to £25,000 of funding to support projects in schools.
One school which has been successful in applying for this fund is Robert Arkenstall Primary School in Haddenham. Headteacher Kate Bonney explained:
“Our project on conversational turn-taking aims to give children transitioning from nursery to school different language opportunities in order to be ready to learn.
We want to address an issue of isolation and poor adult literacy by exploring an approach which does not rely on the purchase of or access to books.”