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 5, we are focusing our activity on:

  • The provision of a targeted programme of intensive school to school support for 8 schools in Doncaster serving communities with the highest level of disadvantage. Our funding for each of the schools will provide leadership support from a National Leader of Education (NLE) to help the schools identify and diagnose their key priorities for improvement and the creation of an action plan to do this. The funding will then support activities related to this plan which support school improvement.
  • Delivery of a targeted programme of Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Following extensive local consultation we will focus this work on Reading and Writing. Delivered in a range of different ways, this programme will enable teachers across up to 36 schools to experience,  practise, implement and reflect upon new strategies.
  • Ensuring the availability of a strong, high quality universal offer for all schools through supporting three targeted networks across Doncaster. The Leadership Network, The Writing Network and The DL30 Network.

Brilliant Teaching and Leadership for all Secondary School Pupils

Our key ambition remains – we want to help get more young people being educated in good or outstanding schools, whilst achieving good grades in core subjects. To do this, our key focuses this year are:

  • A continuation of a number of Year 4 projects, namely:
    • Bespoke School support – we are working with a delivery partner to provide bespoke, direct support to seven secondary schools. This support is wide ranging in its scope, as action plans are developed based on the support needs requested by the schools for their specific needs. This project was initially affected by COVID-19 and so this year focuses on completing the outstanding activities and developing a way of utilising developed resources across a wider school reach.
    • Our Writing Project – led by the Oldham Research School, this project is working with four secondary schools in a professional learning programme to develop and improve writing provision in their school. Each school has developed their action plans and these are now ready to be implemented.
    • Alternative Provision – Supporting 8 schools to establish Alternative Provision centres in their schools and promoting greater overall inclusivity, through the provision of a menu of support. This was affected by COVID-19 in Year 4 and so focus this year is on ensuring delivery is successful.
    • E-Learning Hub – We are working with 13 schools to develop and deliver an effective E-Learning practice, based on a model of CPD, research and investigation. The project is split into 3 phases looking at whole school audit, implementation and bespoke CPD.
  • We are working with Voice 21 to deliver their Oracy offer to 14 schools and colleges. The project will train dedicated oracy leads in each school. Improving oracy supports students to engage more widely in all aspects of learning. This project will be delivered via a series of workshops.

No Career out of Bounds

This Priority is based on the idea that too many young people in Doncaster do not find a career path that inspires them. Available careers advice is not well regarded by young people in the area. To this end, our plan looks to build on the previous existing relationship with Doncaster Careers Hub, now part of the newly launched South Yorkshire Careers hub, to continue to support the delivery of meaningful encounters with employers and supporting schools to reach the eight Gatsby Benchmarks in high quality Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance. This year, our activity focuses on:

  • Continuing to work with the Doncaster Chamber of Commerce to support Opportunities Doncaster (OD) activity. During the first term of 2021/22, OD have been successful in a number of funding bids covering a range of activity in the education, employment and skills space.
  • Extending our Primary Aspirations project which supports 20 primary schools to develop a careers-related curriculum across the school. The programme aims to address work related stereotypes, including gender stereotypes and careers leaders will engage in half termly network meetings to benefit from CPD and sharing of best practice.
  • Supporting the South Yorkshire Careers Hub by match funding for two Enterprise Coordinator roles, as well as an additional role split across primary work and specific project work.
  • Funding mentoring for young people from state school backgrounds to help them achieve places at the most competitive universities, including Oxbridge. Mentees are paired with a student from their chosen course and institution to understand the admissions process and guide them through their first year.
  • We are providing funding to support improvements to the quality of post-16 provision across A-levels, Level 3 technical and vocational provision and lower level provision, particularly where targeted at young people at risk of becoming NEET. This is done by creating working groups and subject networks to share best practice and agree on CPD needs.

Opportunities Extend to All

  • Building on the successes to date, we will extend our Transition project for another year, continuing to support schools and students to manage the process of moving from primary to secondary school. The impact of COVID-19 has meant that, despite the progress the project has made to date, it has been unable to deliver with consistency across a full academic year due to pupils not being available for face-to-face transition activities and interventions. This year will see the first cohort of pupils who have transitioned in the new paradigm and extending the project for an additional year will provide the opportunity to evaluate, consolidate and refine systems and processes to improve the project and deliver greater success.
  • A multi-agency approach to training and developing a network of Mental Health First Aiders across schools led by Doncaster Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (DCAMHS). By utilising a Train the Trainer model coupled with networks of specialist advice and guidance facilitated by DCAMHS, this programme aims to support school staff into how to support and address the complex needs of student health and wellbeing in relation to low level mental health issues.
  • A targeted offer of SEND Peer Review Support to 10 identified schools (8 primary and 2 secondary) that sits alongside a universal SEND CPD offer for teaching staff developed in collaboration with schools.
  • Funding a post that will support schools to identify barriers to engagement with extracurricular activity and develop strategies to increase long-term participation. The postholder will utilise provision mapping resources created as part of this process to identify and target areas of low engagement. By understanding current provision on offer, the postholder will engage schools and MATs to understand what schools want from their extracurricular activities and explore opportunities for funding (regionally and nationally) that can be utilised for the benefit of Doncaster schools and work with regional and national organisations/stakeholders  to increase opportunities for participation in  Doncaster for the future.

Teacher Recruitment and Retention

In Year 5, we are committing funding to support a programme of health and wellbeing support for school staff across Doncaster.  Targeted at both Primary and Secondary schools the initiative consults and works collaboratively with each Headteacher to agree a bespoke programme of support designed to meet the specific needs of their school in a flexible manner.

The programme also includes Mental Health First Aid Accreditation (Adult) for those schools involved.

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