Alliance for Life Chances

Background

The Alliance for Life Chances (ALC) has grown out of the legacy of the DfE’s Bradford Opportunity Area (BOA) Programme which commenced delivery in 2018 and has been a large influencing presence within Bradford’s educational landscape until its final academic year of delivery in 2021/22.

Our partnership has been a strong driving force in Bradford’s education system over the past 5 years and we are determined to carry on working together to drive down inequalities that exist in both health and education for children and young people (aged 0-25) of Bradford and beyond. 

The Covid 19 pandemic of 2020/21 highlighted inequalities in our district even further from what they were in pre pandemic times, but crucially the vulnerabilities experienced by children and young people will have life long scares for many. Poverty, poor housing, food insecurity, increased mental ill health, as well as missed education, have widened inequalities and increased vulnerabilities (From Inequality to Opportunity, 2020) – all of which need tackling to ensure a generation of children do not suffer long term.

Our partnership of key leaders and decision makers want to pledge to use our collaborative effort from now and in the coming years to drive forward an ambitious 20 year plan for change.  Because we are a solid partnership of local leaders and decision makers we feel strength and connected in our alliance with each other and with the cause we are working hard to achieve.  We therefore want to be known as an ‘Alliance for Life Chances’ to continue to drive our partnership work to influence better outcomes for children and young people’s health and education across Bradford and beyond.  We know the task is a large one and the road ahead potentially challenging to stay on course, but we are bold in our ambition to set a delivery plan that will take us the next 20 years to achieve. Our plan is not focused on specific people or personalities to drive this work forward–it is about having trust in doing the right thing and tapping into people’s conscience and personal drive to work together to achieve our vision. This approach will ensure that our chosen trajectory is not hindered by people or institutions being unable to take part, but forever cemented in the foundation of this city, as an overarching mission and pledge that aims to benefit current and future generations.

Our Alliance for Life Chances partnership is a leadership group that is politically and organisationally independent which enables our group of leaders and decision makers to achieve accelerated decision making.  Our leaders are part of the team of people backed by our organisations that built and developed the Centre for Applied Education Research (empowering schools in research and evidence).  As an Alliance we are therefore keen to utilise the Centre for Applied Education Research to anchor our governance, develop our thinking, platform our cause and support our ambition.

We are confident we can pioneer new approaches of working together (between systems, academics, practitioners and communities) and act as a catalyst to talk about what works, what needs to change and connect like minded individuals and organisations to pledge their support for our collective cause in reducing inequalities starting in Bradford and cascading beyond.

Strategic Direction for the Alliance for Life Chances

Mission:

Improve the life chances and outcomes for a generation of children and young people in Bradford.

Vision:

Our vision is simple: Our partnership will work together with our coalition of support to tackle structural inequalities and champion evidential approaches to improving the life chances of children and young people.

Values:

The following values will guide our partnership work to enable us to achieve our vision:

Champion the needs of children and young people to drive down inequalities

Challenge the ‘systems’ in which we work to ensure our children and young people achieve good outcomes and life chances

Collaborate and join resources to best effect, developing evidence about what works in Bradford and research to demonstrate action and change

Create opportunities for young people to succeed that lead to sustained outcomes and improved life chances for a generation

The Alliance for Life Chances (ALC) will work together between the Partnership (made up of leaders and decision makers) and with our coalition of support (stakeholders and communities) to tackle structural inequalities and champion evidential approaches to improving the life chances of children and young people. ALC has identified the following focus areas within its strategic plan:

Growing opportunity: Through addressing inequality and its root causes as evidenced through the ‘From Inequality to Opportunity’ plan for recovery and growth

Focus on outcomes: Championing the use of clear and achievable outcomes for children and young people aged 0-25 to reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities and impact on improved social mobility

Support place based approaches: Challenges vary according to locality and these require an evidence led tailored response and joint effort

Data led and data connected: Encourage sharing of data to understand the problem and plan for solutions

Bring the voice of communities: Enabling the connection between delivery with lived experience to harnessing a community mandate for change

From these focus areas more specific projects are being developed. 

Community Inclusive engagement   – working together to accelerate our cause and pledge for support

Our Alliance would like everyone to play their part in growing opportunity for all of Bradford’s children and young people over the next 20 + years. In our quest to reduce inequality, our communities are therefore at the heart of our mission. It is those families, parents, carers and individuals that have lived experience of what needs to change and those that want to be our supporters who are key to realising and achieving our mission.

  • We want to raise awareness that more needs to be done to tackle these inequalities and inequalities of opportunity that face many of Bradford’s children and young people.
  • We want to build a coalition of support from those that can strengthen our cause and work with us collectively to tackle change at system, organisation and individual levels.
  • We endeavour to work consistently and collaboratively to help others understand, support, champion and to get on board and join us in this long term ambition.
  • We want to start by engaging in conversations with communities and partners who share our vision for this change and find out how we build further support and what priorities we need to tackle first

We are aiming to build a pledge of support that makes sense to our communities and also to those wanting to get behind our ambition. We will listen carefully and build this together.  This may take time but we believe we need to take the time to develop this properly with others who want to be involved.

We are keen to set out the following principles by which our listening, engagement and action will be  underpinned;

  • Our pace will be dictated by our efforts to drive momentum and to enable others to join us but ultimately we’ll find a pace that’s right for those involved
  • Our action will be inclusive
  • We aim to develop a pledge to enable others to join and support our cause for whatever they feel they can offer and commit
  • We want communities and young people to decide on their key priorities for improving life chances (these may be a mixture of short, medium and long term goals)
  • We will listen carefully and we actively encourage input, feedback and constructive dialogue
  • We strive for measurable targets so we know our action is meaningful and achieves our overall mission
  • We will take people on our journey and enable others to experience the power of decision making
  • We will make available a range of options for how people want to be involved. This may include; the Alliance for Life Chances Partnership, being part of a working group, engaging in a focus groups or developing a specific project.
  • Our ambition aims to be always backed by action and we strive to model a ‘can do’ attitude.

If you are keen to get involved we want to hear from you.  Please email our current Bradford Opportunity Area delivery team OpportunityAreas.BRADFORD@education.gov.uk who are working with our current Partnership Board members to realise the ambition of Alliance for Life Chances.