Opportunity Area Newsletter - July

As part of our newly updated website we have a funding opportunities page. Please take the time to regularly check this to find the most up to date opportunities available.

New Deputy Chair

Professor Samantha Twiselton has been appointed to the role of Deputy Chair of the Doncaster Opportunity Area Partnership Board.

Sam is the Director of Sheffield Institute of Education at Sheffield Hallam University.  She uses her research and practice in the development of teacher expertise, and curriculum design to develop school embedded approaches to teacher development. Sam has been involved in influencing Government policy on teacher education and was recently a member of the advisory panel for the DfE Teacher Recruitment and Retention advisory group, the Carter Review of ITT and Expert Behaviour Management Panel and the OFSTED curriculum review panel. She is a recent recipient of an OBE for services to Higher Education.
Sam will be a real asset to the OA Partnership Board, having started in her role in April, providing increased support and expertise to the programme as it enters this next crucial phase.

Have you got vulnerable young people in your school who would benefit from a trained mentor?

DCST have recruited over 100 volunteer mentors from a wide range of professional backgrounds including the education and health sectors and the wider public sector, as well as university and college students and people from businesses across Doncaster.

This support is available to 6 children in each secondary schools and 1 child in each primary school. We are now taking referrals from schools.

Mentors will work from the lifelong links model and will be aligned with a child or young person for at least two years.

This has been fully funded and will be no cost to your school.

For more information contact Cheryl Blackett –

Young person of the Year - Kacey Dart

We were one of the main sponsors at the Civic Mayor Awards on the 11th of April at which Kacey was named Doncaster’s Young Person of the Year!
Kacey signed up to our fully-funded Essential Life Skills Programme from the first day of delivery offering to lead the Youth Volunteer Programme.
Kacey is an outstanding young person who has shown incredible resilience and through huge adversity in her life. She has grown to be an exemplary young person who now inspires and leads other young people to fulfil their potential on a number of platforms.  These include her role as a Young Advisor at DMBC, being an apprentice support worker for Open Cast working daily with some of the most disengaged young people in the borough and being the Lead Youth Volunteer at our Essential Life Skills funded youth sessions coordinating activities and helping attendees with their life obstacles through mentorship. 

Kacey has used her growing strength to help other struggling young people and has become an apprentice teaching assistant at Open Cast centre for disengaged young people. 


Curriculum Innovation Day

To help schools prepare for the new inspection framework Beryce Nixon, CEO of Exceed Learning Partnership, has brought together speakers with a wealth of experience in curriculum design, innovation and progression including Rob Carpenter, CEO of Inspire Partnership, London, National Leader of Education, Senior Partner with Challenge Partners and Author of “A Manifesto for Excellence in Schools”. Curriculum Innovation Day is on the 23rd May from 9.00 – 4.30 and costs £80 per attendee, or £60 if schools send more than one attendee.  For more information or to book a space contact Yvonne Rodgerson at

Teacher Recruitment Support

We have recently awarded a contract to Resourcing Solutions to provide recruitment support to Doncaster schools, both in terms of helping schools improve their own systems, but also direct support recruiting hard to fill vacancies.  They are currently delivery a very similar programme in the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area to great effect so we’re really excited to be working with them.


More details of the offer into Doncaster schools and some impressive data on the impact they have had in North Yorkshire is available here.


We will be targeting secondary schools and those primary schools with the most significant recruitment challenges in the first instance.


For more information and to begin taking advantage of this support please contact:


Sarah France-Gorton - Head of Resourcing Solutions on 01609798106 /  or

Glen Hunt – Recruitment Professional on 01609 53 3116 /

Teaching experience days

We have awarded a contract to Sheffield Hallam Teaching school to deliver a range of teaching experience placements into Doncaster schools, this will help promote Doncaster schools as attractive places to work, to pupils, teaching assistants looking to become teachers, career changers and current trainee teachers, this will all be available to schools at no cost, in some cases with funding attached to free up teachers to support experience recipients.  More information will be available soon.

Funding available for secondary schools to support training associated with teacher retention

Another strand of our teacher retention package is funding available to schools to cover backfill costs incurred by sending staff on training courses.  These courses must be specifically focussed on developing leadership skills and career progression that will help teacher retention, for example the courses offered by Ambition school leadership, or the current range of TLIF courses.  
If in doubt please ask here

Doncaster Challenge Partners Hub

The Partnership Board has approved funding for a Doncaster Challenge Partners Hub.  Challenge Partners grew out of the London Challenge programme and is based on bringing together local networks to share best practice. It is an opportunity to learn from some of the most innovative, effective schools in the Country. Primary schools have already been engaged but there is opportunity for secondary schools to also be part of this exciting development.  More information on challenge partners is available here or for more information contact Beryce Nixon, Executive Principal Exceed Learning Partnership at:

Steam school

The Doncaster Careers Hub has invested in steam school. Steam School hosts a weekly live broadcast with innovators from the world of science, tech & digital media. Steam School inspires students to raise their aspirations and to develop a new awareness about how rapid technological change is transforming the world in which we live.  It is an excellent resource to embed STEAM across the curriculum and we’re really excited to be bringing this fantastic resource into Doncaster.  More information is available here:


Health Mentors

Evolve have developed a Health Mentor programme that supports children and young people to manage their physical, emotional and mental health, it’s backed by significant evaluations that show a positive impact on behaviour and well-being.  They’ve also recently developed an apprenticeship programme so schools can employ health mentors who can be then be trained out of our schools available levy funding, meaning that for most schools the cost of training is effectively free.  This is a really exciting opportunity available to both primary, secondary and special schools and pupil referral units. 

More information is available at this link Doncaster_Evolve_Health_Mentor_Training_May-19 and an expression of interest form is available here Health Mentor Training Programme EoI

Secondary School Improvement

We have recently agreed a school improvement programme with two key inter-related strands, additional support for schools in areas of particular disadvantage to help them in managing their school improvement priorities and support designed to raise the research capacity in Doncaster schools, by funding a number of partner schools to identify and then share best practice with schools across the borough.  All schools will receive funding to enable them to participate in this programme.  We have gone out to tender to find an individual or organisation to support this activity.  It is available here. 

Post 16 Support

We have also agreed a programme of post 16 support including a number of strands:
  • Support from an experienced leader of education in considering approaches to improving their post 16 provision
  • The procurement of dedicated advice to support the identification and dissemination of best practice teaching of A levels, working with a lead academy trust
  • Identification and sharing of best practice around ensuring young people don’t go NEET at the point of transition and ensuring as many young people as possible go onto A levels or level 3 provision were they have the ability and it supports their career ambitions.
The tender for this expert support is available here. 

Mentoring Success!

We have funded an amazing mentoring programme with Worth Unlimited that has resulted in mentoring being delivered to 94 youngsters since the beginning of January 2019.
Theo’s story is one of courage in the face of trauma.  He lost his father in tragic circumstances when he was still a small child.  Theo is currently a Year 6 pupil and will be moving on to secondary education in September.  Theo’s headteacher asked mentor Debbie to spend regular time with Theo to help him recall times spent with his father and to support him in filling in a memory book. Debbie says, ‘We shared stories about Theo’s Daddy, from notes his Mum gave me, and we have used different crafts along the way from references in the book.  It has helped Theo to be more relaxed, calmer and to manage his anger better.
Mentors offer an extra opportunity for young people to be listened to and encouraged to be resilient when times are tough, to grow in self-confidence and self-esteem, to develop self-control, to learn leadership skills as well as how to be a good team member, to experience well-being, to show respect and understanding to others and to aspire to be the best person that they possibly can.
If you would like to find our more about the mentoring opportunities you could take part in please visit either Worth Unlimited or Doncaster Children’s Service Trust.

LGBT+ Inclusion Conference on the 21st of June

Learn how to lead on LGBT+ Inclusivity in your school.
We have helped to fund two half-day conferences for professionals working with young people, with the morning focusing on KS1/2 and primary, and the afternoon for KS3/4 and after. It is FREE to attend for Doncaster borough educators.
The amazing keynote speaker will be Claire Birkenshaw, Patron of Think2Speak and senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University.
Workshops will all be led by Think2Speak’s team of expert consultants and there will be access to resources networking.
Tickets can be booked here.

EXPECT Volunteers

EXPECT Youth has many volunteering roles available form admin and social media, to gardening and DIY as well as, youth work, to support the ongoing provision provided for the children and young people of Doncaster.
EXPECT Youth works with nearly 40 voluntary and community organisations across the borough. Volunteers will be placed with one of the grass roots organisations that most suit their skills and abilities, their geographical area and to fit their own requirements.
Prospective volunteers can complete the expression of interest form on EXPECT Youth’s website or you can text the number on this flyer.

And finally…

Thank you for reading Doncaster’s latest Opportunity Area Newsletter.

You can also access previous newsletters here, follow us on Twitter here, ask us a question or forward the newsletter to a friend (use below buttons).

This newsletter has been sent to stakeholders that might be interested in the Opportunity Area programme, or have attended previous information events. 

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Doncaster Council · Civic Office · Waterdale · Doncaster, Dnc DN1 3BU · United Kingdom

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