Building Solid Foundations for all Children

Doncaster OA’s aim remains to narrow the attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils in literacy and numeracy giving all children the strongest possible start to their schooling. In Year 4 we plan to focus activity on three key areas:

  • Primary school improvement, explicitly including leadership capacity
  • Literacy and reading improvement.
  • Developing CPD and a curriculum to support schools to recover from the COVID crisis.

Activity will include:

  • A further, third year of a leadership programme, designed by the EEF and our research school to improve local leadership capacity.
  • Continuation of Doncaster participation in Challenge Partners, which brings national best practice into Doncaster and then applies it to local circumstances.
  • A dedicated literacy campaign.
  • A programme to support schools who need comprehensive support around emerging (COVID) recovery priorities and entrenched challenges. As well as a ‘lighter touch’ programme of support to those schools who are on a rapid improvement journey.

Brilliant Teaching and Leadership for all Secondary School Pupils

Our key ambition remains, we want more young people in good or outstanding schools, with more young people achieving good grades in core subjects. Our focus will be:

  • Specialist school improvement support.
  • Additional funding for schools in most challenging circumstances.
  • A flexible COVID recovery offer, based on cross sector collaboration.

We will commission a delivery partner to deliver a school improvement project to priority schools, based on what we have learnt works well. Schools will be invited to propose improvement projects, some of which will be specifically recovery focused, and will be supported to turn these into high quality action plans. Funding will be made available for the delivery of these plans working with middle and senior leaders. Schools will be able to apply to work collaboratively in groups and will be encouraged to learn from each other and further afield (Good Practice Partnerships and peer reviews). We will also look to share best practice as it becomes available with funding available to implement successful programmes more widely.

No Career out of Bounds

We will continue to support the work of the Doncaster Careers Hub in delivering meaningful encounters and supporting schools to reach the eight Gatsby Benchmarks in high quality Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance. Our Careers Hub already shares best practice into the Sheffield City Region Education Advisor Network, a link we have recently cemented through a successful Careers Hub bid that secures funding for the Doncaster Hub and creates a twinned hub based in Rotherham and covering parts of Sheffield, the intention is that over time these two hubs will expand to cover the whole of Sheffield City Region.

We will continue to innovate in approaches to work-based learning in primary schools; primary careers’ activity can innovate and raise aspiration to STEAM, HE and highly skilled careers, and is vital in combating heavily gendered and stereotypical career expectations, and will continue to support reform of the borough’s Post-16 provision and raising the numbers qualified to Level 3 in the borough.

Opportunities Extend to All

Our aim is to help the most vulnerable to access opportunities that will support them to succeed in and out of education and to go as far as their ability and ambition will take them. Building on lessons learned from previous delivery our focus is to support effective programmes that deal with the issues that can ultimately lead to students disengaging with the education process. In Year 4 we plan to focus activity on the following key areas:

  • Continuing to develop and implement more effective transition strategies to support children as they move from primary to secondary learning, supporting schools to establish effective systems, but also direct support to the most vulnerable.
  • Creating a network of support by providing a targeted programme of mentoring provision to those most vulnerable students.
  • Encouraging greater parental engagement by supporting initiatives that will provide targeted support to the families of those children who are at most risk of falling out of the education system.
  • Building further capacity and consistency in meeting the needs of SEND students through continued support of the SEND peer review programme.
  • Helping to create a culture of trauma informed practice among Doncaster’s schools by providing relevant training to practitioners that will in turn be cascaded to teaching staff.

Teacher Recruitment and Retention

The OA aims to provide support to assist schools with reduced capacity to continue to support recruitment and retention initiatives and to create and enhance links with regional teacher training institutions to encourage more NQTs to apply to teach in Doncaster.

By ensuring Doncaster schools are fully and competently staffed they are better placed to deliver effectively. However, once quality teaching staff have been secured it is vital to retain them. In order to address issues in respect of retention we also plan to offer Head Teachers an opportunity to develop and access a tailored programme of well-being support for their staff.

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