Doncaster Opportunity Area Newsletter

Welcome to the March edition of the Doncaster Opportunity Area Newsletter. 

Projects funded

Here in the Doncaster Opportunity Area Programme Team we've been busy the since publication of the delivery plan back in January as work has continued apace to move the programme into implementation. The Doncaster Opportunity Area partnership board have already approved two compelling proposals put forward by our working groups and there are a number of other exciting projects in the pipeline that we'll tell you about in future updates.
We have agreed to fund Partners in Learning to support and deliver predominantly primary school improvement activity outlined in the delivery plan. This includes work to:
  • Recruit a highly skilled School Improvement Consultant to increase outcomes for children in 25 schools and improve engagement with hard to reach schools.
  • Deliver a bespoke professional development programme for primary schools focused on improving leadership of teaching and learning
  • Develop and coordinate a maths strategy working in partnership with the local Maths Hubs to provide training and support for primary schools.
  • Support local schools in understanding and using the new maths guidance report produced by the Education Endowment Foundation for KS2/3.
  • Delivery curriculum reviews to all secondary schools to identify areas for development and of best practice and agree an action plan for each to school to implement to improve.
Vulnerable children and young people
We also agreed a proposal from EXPECT Youth partners to deliver five coaching and mentoring pilots programmes working with vulnerable young people across a variety of settings and age ranges. These pilots will combine a coaching and mentoring offer with exposure to enriching activities from outside of these children’s normal experiences, designed to increase softer skills that are vital in later life.  The pilots will be evaluated by Summer this year and based on the learning from the pilots we aim to roll out full programmes targeted at vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the next academic year.


Always improving

All schools, schools leaders and teachers aspiring to leadership in the area are eligible for fully funded places on the newly reformed National Professional Qualifications as a result of Doncaster being designated an Opportunity Area. These are available at middle (NPHML), senior (NPQSL), head (NPQH) and executive head (NPQEL) levels. The approved providers for these reformed qualifications are here and include a range of local and national providers. You can contact these providers directly to book a place. Otherwise, please get in touch with us, or the NPQ mailbox, with any questions.

Additional free training for schools

Maths Action Plan - The Doncaster maths hub have developed an action plan to improve the quality of maths teaching in the region.  All schools in the region can access a range of training for free! For more information email Peter Sides.
Phonics Roadshows – Ruth Miskin Training Phonics Roadshows, ‘every child reading by six’. These 12 events will showcase best practice in the teaching of phonics and early reading in the North of England.  For more information follow this link.
SEND Reviewer training – As part of The London Leadership Strategy’s work with the Opportunity Area they are able to offer 15 free places to practitioners based in Doncaster to this event is happening at Heatherwood School on 8th March. Please see the attached the flyer for all the details.  You can book your place on the event via this Eventbrite link.

School governance

Did you know DfE has also contracted with 5 providers to deliver a governance leadership development programme which suitable for those in governance leadership roles, like chairs, vice chairs or committee chairs.  It offers support and development as a governor, and aims for:

·         increased capacity to improve the effectiveness of governing boards in line with the Competency framework for governance (particularly boards’ ability to provide strategic leadership and data-driven accountability for educational standards and financial performance)

·         greater involvement of governance leaders in sustainable and relevant peer-to-peer support networks that enable encouragement, support and sharing good practice with one another

For some schools in the borough this will be free, for other there will be a cost.  Click here to find out more.


Doncaster Cultural Education Partnership (DCEP) works with artists, arts organisations and teachers to connect children and young people with arts and culture. We believe that all children & young people should be able to access and enjoy high-quality cultural opportunities both in and outside of schools.  Young people in Doncaster should be inspired, engaged and connected, and have a creative voice.  Find out more including what’s coming up in Doncaster here.

Here to help 

We would like to introduce you to our two Education Coordinators.
Lee Douglas BA (Hons) MCMI – EC (OA)
24 year career in the British Army reaching the rank of Warrant Officer.  Studied BA History with the Open University and a BA (Hons) in Strategic Leadership and Management with Northumbria University.  On leaving the army working in partnership with Capita as the Branch Manager of the Army Careers Office in Doncaster, Leading the office from a ranking of 1519 to first in 2 years.
Outwood Grange Academies Trust sponsored Governor at Outwood Brumby and Outwood Foxhills in Scunthorpe.
Zoe Catterall MA – EC
Qualified Careers Adviser, recently completed MA Careers Education and Coaching at the University of Derby, also incorporating the Qualification in Career Development. During training gained experience in a variety of areas including schools, colleges, HE and community settings.  Research interests include careers resilience and adaptability and graduate perceptions of value in HE. Previously studied Human Geography at the University of Sheffield.
The Enterprise Coordinators have been working tirelessly to ensure that all schools are informed about the OA offer. Schools are introduced to Compass, the Careers Enterprise Company audit tool utilizing the Gatsby benchmarks and encouraged to use it. 25 schools are currently matched with Enterprise Advisers from Next x 3, Amazon, Higher Rhythm, Sine FM, Stelrad, Constant Security, Trackwork, Eden Lea Rail, British Steel, Polypipe, Peglers, McDonalds, Keepmoat Regen, Taylor Bracewell, Gaia Innovation, Eatons, Wincanton, DCLT, Cast Community Engagement, HR Hive, Solutions for Cleaning and Direct Line. The aim is to have all schools completing Compass by April18. Schools will need to have selected their preferred programs from the OA catalogue by 20 Apr ready for delivery starting September 18.
Upcoming Events:
5 March 18 – Planning meeting with McAuley Catholic High School.
6 March 18 -  Initial meeting with the Director of ‘Class of your own’.
8 March 18 – National Careers Guidance Show, Leeds.
9 March 18 - Association of School and College Leaders conference, Birmingham.
14 March 18 - Sheffield City Region Enterprise Adviser Network Event.
14 March 18 – OA Rate cards released to schools.
15 March 18 - Doncaster Careers Professionals Event.
April 18 – All Doncaster schools to have completed Compass.
20 April 18 – Schools deadline for OA programme selection.

Bright start

It’s National Apprenticeship Week next week (5th-9th March) and Doncaster Council is looking forward to meeting prospective apprentices at events across the borough. Find out more here.

What’s coming up?

On 10th April we will be holding a launch event at the Keepmoat Stadium from 6pm-8pm to celebrate the publication of the Doncaster Opportunity Area delivery plan. An agenda will be circulated in the coming weeks but we hope to see you all there. If you are interested in coming along to the event please contact Morgan Horton ( and please do cascade this invitation to partners.


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

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

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