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Online hub to be set up as legacy of Ipswich and Norwich Opportunity Areas to share learning with schools




Schools across Ipswich and Norwich have been sharing their success stories for innovative new learning programmes as part of an online week of activity - and are set to be collated in an online hub for others to learn from.

The Ipswich and Norwich Opportunity Areas - places selected for Department for Education support to boost education attainment - linked up last week for a series of online sessions called Learning Sharing Week to share success stories of new projects which have worked well and the impact they have had.

Crucially, potential barriers have also been highlighted and means to overcome them shared to prevent others from coming across the same hurdles.

Schools across Ipswich and Norwich have been sharing their success stories for innovative new learning programmes as part of an online week of activity - and are set to be collated in an online hub for others to learn from
Schools across Ipswich and Norwich have been sharing their success stories for innovative new learning programmes as part of an online week of activity - and are set to be collated in an online hub for others to learn from

Among those showcased were the new TA Network - a collective of teaching assistants enjoying peer support and additional training opportunities; transition programmes for youngsters leaving primary school and starting secondary school; support for young carers; and the work of remote learning support assistants helping youngsters learning at home during the Covid-19 crisis.

The ideas and projects will be collated on a new website being formed that will form a legacy once the Government funding for the Opportunity Areas end, and ensure good projects can continue.

Katrina Gardiner from Ipswich Opportunity Area, said: "Norwich and Ipswich Opportunity Areas have been working together of the last year talking about how we can share our learning form the previous three years.

Ipswich & Norwich Opportunity Areas logo. Picture: Ipswich & Norwich Opportunity Areas
Ipswich & Norwich Opportunity Areas logo. Picture: Ipswich & Norwich Opportunity Areas

"We have committed to having a new website built which will post all of that learning in an online hub.

"On there as well will be our big ideas, big projects, and what we wanted to do is shift the narrative from DfE-funded programmes to the people who work on these themselves."

The Opportunity Areas began life as three year schemes, but were extended for a fourth year. Recently, the Government confirmed a fifth year will be funded for 2021/22.

But programme bosses have already been working hard on life beyond the DfE-funding, to ensure successful education programmes continue.

Ipswich & Norwich Opportunity Areas logo. Picture: Ipswich & Norwich Opportunity Areas
Ipswich & Norwich Opportunity Areas logo. Picture: Ipswich & Norwich Opportunity Areas

The website, expected to be ready early in the next academic year, will be one part of that, and in the meantime schools unable to take part last week can request recordings of the sessions.

Ms Gardiner said: "We really hope they will go on and start implementing programmes, which will lead to improvements in the classroom - children and families will see the benefits of that.

"We don't ever want to view the Opportunity Area as a short term initiative.

"It's not a quick fix it is a systemwide change to improve education and increase social mobility, and it's part of the legacy conversation all about what life is beyond so it does continue and doesn't get put back on a shelf."

Visit www.ipswichopportunityarea.co.uk to get in touch with the team and find out more.

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