Wednesday, February 16, 2022

News: Rotherham named as Education Investment Area


Government investment, support and action is heading to Rotherham to help children from all backgrounds and areas to succeed at the very highest levels.

The borough has been named as one of 55 new Education Investment Areas where a package of measures will be delivered. It is part of the Government's Levelling Up white paper which focuses on challenging unfairness and giving everyone the opportunity to flourish.

Rotherham's inclusion is due to weak attainment. Selection was based on outcomes at the end of both key stage 2 (KS2) and key stage 4 (KS4) in order to target school improvement interventions in the parts of the country where performance at primary and secondary school is furthest behind.

The Department for Education will offer retention payments to help schools keep the best teachers in the highest priority subjects. Rotherham will also be prioritised as the location for new specialist sixth-form (16 - 19) free schools where there is limited provision to ensure talented children from disadvantaged backgrounds have access to the highest standard of education this country offers.

Schools in the areas that have been judged less than Good in successive Ofsted inspections could be moved into strong multi-academy trusts, to attract more support and the best teachers. This will be subject to a consultation in the spring.

Opponents argue that the paper brings no new money, and areas, like Rotherham, are set to see funding for schools reduced through changes to the Government's School Condition Allocations (SCA) grants.

The paper set a new national mission to ensure that 90% of children leaving primary school in England are reaching the expected standard in reading, writing, and maths by 2030. In 2019, just 65% of pupils met all three standards, with the proportion substantially varying across the country.

Schools in the Education Investment Areas will also be given support to address wider issues. For instance, schools struggling with attendance will be encouraged to join a new pilot programme to tackle the issue.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: "The most valuable resource on the planet is the human resource. Investing in people to get on in life and receive the best possible education is core to the mission of this government, and we are determined to help people gain the knowledge and skills needed to unleash their potential.

"This white paper sets out our blueprint for putting skills, schools and families at the heart of levelling up. It focuses on putting great schools in every part of the country, training that sets you up for success in a high-skilled, well-paid career and ensuring no one misses out on opportunities simply because of where they live or their family background.

"Raising our expectations and aspirations for children, as well as creating a high-skilled workforce, will end the brain drain that sees too many people leaving communities in order to succeed. These plans will help create a level playing field and boost the economy, both locally and nationally."

Images: DfE


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