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Welcome to the Bradford Opportunity Area

Bradford is one of 12 Opportunity Areas (OAs) in England chosen by the government to help unlock the potential of England’s young people. Each OA is government funded but led locally.

When the programme started in 2017 we worked with our partners in local government, employers, the voluntary sector, researchers, schools, nurseries and colleges to develop an ambitious plan, backed by over £10m of new funding to overcome the challenges facing children and young people and those who support them.

Since then, a lot has been achieved. Some highlights include:

  • With 65% of schools in the district having received support, now over 6,000 more pupils (since we published our plan) attend a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ school as rated by Ofsted.
  • The attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils has narrowed in reading and writing at Key Stage 1 and in reading at Key Stage 2.
  • Over 200,000 employer encounters have been delivered for secondary school pupils through our partnership with the Careers and Enterprise Company. That is the equivalent of over 4 encounters per pupil.
  • At least £1.4m in external research funding has been drawn into Bradford following our founding of the Centre for Applied Educational Research (CAER) in collaboration with Bradford Institute of Health Research. As a result, over 100 schools have been involved in research studies such as Glasses in Classes, a handwriting study (fundamental movements) and early identification and support for children with autism.

On 17 July 2020 the government confirmed an extension to the Opportunity Area programme, including a further £1.73m for Bradford.

We will utilise that funding during the 2020/21 academic year to:

  • Deepen and expand our school improvement programme, extending our current support for 14 schools and supporting a further 5.
  • Extend our coaching, mentoring and masterclasses for new and aspiring headteachers, ensuring that those who are new to headship are supported in this uniquely challenging environment.
  • Extend Bradford for Teaching, a recruitment and retention campaign that has (and continues to) significantly raise the profile of Bradford as a place to teach, ensuring that we attract high quality teachers to the district.
  • Together with the Local Authority and local universities we will invest in maths tuition for the 2020/21 cohort of year 11 pupils.
  • Expand our support for parents, with a focus on aiding recovery, attendance and SEMH.
  • Further support careers education and aspirations in partnership with the Careers and Enterprise Company and local programmes such as the Industrial Centres of Excellence.
  • Build upon the impressive outcomes of our partnership with Bradford Institute for Health Research and the Centre for Applied Educational Research, using data to better understand and respond to vulnerability in Bradford, particularly in regard to Covid.
  • Together with the Centre for Applied Educational Research and Bradford Research School we will utilise our network of 30 Research Champions, embedded in schools and Multi-Academy Trusts across the district to create a more research and evidence led approach to education, aiding the creation of a ‘City of Research’.

In addition, we will support levelling-up beyond Bradford, partly through the research being conducted by the Centre for Applied Educational Research but also by twinning with a local area to broaden the reach of our programmes.