Opportunity Area Newsletter -
September & October

We’ve been hard at work over the summer and into the start of the new school year in the Opportunity Area team and have some exciting updates to bring you in this bumper September and October issue! Here are some highlights of what’s going on…

Partnership Board Update

Over the summer a number of new initiatives were approved by the Partnership board:

Careers Hub – The hub will build on the existing enterprise coordinator network and will bring together careers leads from across all Doncaster schools who opt in to develop and share best practice. 

We will be holding a hub launch at the National College of High Speed Rail on the 24th October from 5.00 – 7.00.  Come along and see what it’s all about.  Of particular interest to secondary schools, special schools, pupil referral units and colleges.  You can book here: 
We also have a live survey in schools asking pupils in years 7 to 13 their experiences of careers advice and guidance.  Please can you encourage young people you know or you work with in Doncaster to fill it in.  One young person who completes it will win an ipad!

The survey is available through this link:

Brilliant Club – The Brilliant Club’s Scholars Programme Placements will support primary schools in the most deprived parts of the borough by helping to identify and nurture children with the ability to attend competitive universities and to help children realise their potential. 

Mentoring for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) – Sheffield Hallam University will be providing mentoring to NQTs in schools across the borough. It will be targeted at NQTs working in ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted. This support is intended to help these schools retain their workforce, to better enable them to tackle their improvement challenges. 

At September's board meeting, the board agreed to invest over £1.1 million to support:

£1,000 training bursaries for 25 OA schools (those schools with identified as needing particular support to tackle social mobility) through collaboration with the School Improvement Lead Professional, schools will be able to access a range of professional learning programmes from the Doncaster Research School to improve teachers skills, changing classroom practice, and improving pupil outcomes.  

Extending the improving Literacy at KS2 programme. Partners in learning will be extending the current SSIF funded programme to a second cohort of 15 schools, and providing continuation and bespoke support for four schools currently on the programme.

Building on the great work that has begun to promote the best outcomes for pupils who are persistently disadvantaged, by providing a broad extra-curricular offer to disadvantaged pupils in the borough, through:
A specialist mentoring programme for the most vulnerable – Doncaster Childrens Services Trust will be building and training a network of volunteer mentors to provide mentoring to over 300 vulnerable children.
A flexible package of support to help schools tackle behaviour and attendance issues – Secondary schools will be able to access funding and LA behavioural specialist support to help manage behaviour concerns without having to resort to exclusions.

If you’d like to know more about any of the initiatives, please contact For further info on the careers hub specifically, please contact Robin MacNeill (


Essential Life Skills Summer Programme – EXPECT Summer

The Essential Life Skills Summer Programme has been a massive success; over 3,500 children and young people took part over the 6 weeks with over 12,000 different engagements and 6,000 meals distributed, plus healthy snacks. The programme included:

  • A breadth and depth of FREE activities
  • Activities attractive to a wide 5-18 year age range
  • Activities included those for SEND and girls only
  • A minimum of 4 activities per day, per area = 24 activities daily 
  • 120 plus sessions a week

The feedback from participants both at the events to the staff and afterwards through Councillors and the Council has been phenomenal. 

Several local, regional and national sports personalities assisted with activity delivery, including Jamie McDonnell, a World Boxing Champion from Doncaster.

Massive thanks to all of you who took part or attended the events to make them the success they were.  We will be carrying out a full evaluation to see how we can do even better next year, our ambition is to reach even more children and young people across more of the borough. 
Essential Life Skills 

This academic year  activity funded through the Essential Life Skills programme will be available for children and young people in Doncaster schools. EXPECT Youth are drawing together a broad menu of activities that we will share with schools in the coming weeks. This will make clear how schools / pupils select these activities and the logistics for getting pupils signed up.

The link to the new Essential Life Skills offer for schools is now live at:

If you have any questions about this please email 

EEF Families of Schools Database

A new tool from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has been developed to help facilitate collaboration between schools facing similar challenges to help them learn from one another. It currently has over 15k primary schools and 3k secondary schools. You can access the Families of Schools Database here:

Routes Into Government

The Civil Service Fast Stream is a highly sought after and competitive route for graduates. The Fast Stream Opportunity Network is wanting to work with young people considering a role in government to help those from less affluent backgrounds to succeed. If you are interested in knowing more please email Tom Field:

Teacher Workforce Survey

The Doncaster Opportunity Area’s teacher workforce survey is now live until the 22nd October for schools to fill out. This one-off survey will only take 10-15 minutes to complete and the results will help us to determine where our funding should be directed to support teacher recruitment and retention. Schools will be entered into a prize draw to win £500 as a thank you for completing the survey. Any questions please get in touch with Claire Hughes:

Opportunity Area Programme: Research and Analysis

Two documents have been published today which outline how Opportunity Areas are building foundations for change -- they present an independent process evaluation of the set-up phase of the programme, and a summary document featuring case studies of progress in each area. The summary document includes a case study on Essential Life Skills for Doncaster.

More details are available here:

And finally…

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

You can also access previous newsletters here, follow us on Twitter @DoncasterOA, 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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