Fenland schools welcome new government initiative to tackle social mobility in the district with help of government funding

Jason Wing, Neale-Wade Academy.
Jason Wing, Neale-Wade Academy.

Headteachers across Fenland have welcomed a new government initiative which aims to tackle social mobility in the area and also in neghbouring East Cambridgeshire.

Fenland and East Cambridgeshire was designated an ‘Opportunity Area’ by Education Secretary Justine Greening back in January and on Wednesday (12) she built on that further by naming the schools that will act as research schools in these areas and announced leading businesses have signed up to provide careers advice to students.

Littleport Community Primary School will act as the research school for Fenland and East Cambs, collating and distributing information on best practice on how to improve social mobility to enable teachers to tackle the issue in their schools.

The Littleport school will receive a share of £3.5million of government cash to gather and share the evidence.

Speaking at the Sutton Trust Social Mobility Summit, the Education Secretary confirmed leading national and local businesses have signed up to provide careers advice to young people in the 12 ‘Opportunity Areas’ up and down the country, with the support of a £2million government-backed fund.

Sir Kevan Collins has been appointed as the Evidence Champion for the ‘Opportunity Areas’ to ensure intelligence is shared effectively across the twelve areas.

The announcement comes as new research published by the Sutton Trust shows tackling social mobility could boost the country’s annual GDP by £39billlion – the equivalent of £590 per person.

Jason Wing, executive principal at the Neale-Wade Academy in March said: “It is fantastic news that Fenland and East Cambs have been identified as an Opportunity Area. The funding will enable a strategic approach to be taken to improve the educational outcomes and life chances for the young people in this region.”

Mark Woods, Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust Trustee, which runs Ely College, added: “The Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area is a fantastic opportunity to really address the challenges and barriers to social mobility in this area, which have existed for so long. This programme has the potential to make a difference to every young person, building a system which will improve outcomes for all. ‎As a network we will share expertise to identify best practice and maximise the support on offer.”