Year Four

Over the last few months we have worked collaboratively with our Partnership Board to agree our Year Four priorities, these are:

Priority 1: 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:
  • A 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 full programme focused on schools, in challenging circumstances, that would benefit from comprehensive support around emerging recovery priorities and entrenched challenges. As well as a ‘lighter touch’ programme of support to those schools who are on a rapid improvement journey.

Priority 2: 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.
  • 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 propose improvement projects, some of which will be specifically recovery focused, and will be supported to turn these into high quality action plans.
  • In peer groups, middle and senior leaders will be encouraged to work collaboratively, sharing best practice and learning from each other and from colleagues outside the borough (as in Good Practice Partnerships and peer reviews).

Priority 3: 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.
  • 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.
  • We will continue to support reform of the borough’s Post-16 provision and raising the numbers qualified to Level 3 in the borough. We are still committed to helping Doncaster deliver the recommendations of the Post-16 Review. Furthermore, the number of young people becoming NEET is likely to rise as a consequence of the pandemic and developing systems to support this group during this time is vital.

Priority 4: 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. This priority will require us to continue to work effectively across multiple agencies to be truly effective.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Cross-Cutting: 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.

Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Chair of Doncaster Opportunity Area Board, said “I welcome the Government’s extension of funding for the Opportunity Areas programme. At this particular moment, when regional disparities will be laid bare by the social and economic impacts of Covid-19, we must step up the work to remove barriers and help all children and young people, wherever they are born and whatever their circumstances, to reach their full potential. I am particularly pleased to see specific funding ring-fenced to support ‘twinned’ places, an initiative that has been gaining momentum in Doncaster, as we have worked hard to develop links across the Sheffield City Region in the last 12 months”

Celebrate Thank a Teacher Day on 20th May

Celebrate Thank a Teacher Day on 20th May!

School leaders, teachers and support staff have been asked to go to great lengths to help this country step up to tackle coronavirus, and we are joining others to say thank you next week.

We’re celebrating teachers, senior leaders, support staff and all those working in education settings who are making a difference to their schools and communities during these unprecedented times.

The response so far has been great, but we want to make sure this is the biggest Thank a Teacher Day ever. It would be great if you could help promote Thank a Teacher Day or celebrate teachers any way you can.

The Department for Education is working in partnership with the Teaching Awards Trust who have produced a set of resources including a Thank a Teacher toolkit, which contains graphics, images and frames for social media that you’re free to use.

We hope you can support this special day

Local Area Literacy Survey

National Literacy Trust Hubs bring together local partners to tackle literacy issues in communities across the UK where low levels of literacy are seriously impacting on people’s lives. As part of tracking progress in the National Literacy Trust Hub in Doncaster, they are running a survey for all schools in the area. This survey will provide them with invaluable information on pupils’ views towards reading and writing and is crucial for planning future work in the area. 

All participating schools will also get their own individual school report that outlines your basic findings, which you can compare regionally and nationally once the national reports are published.

You could use your report to: 

– Inform your literacy and numeracy strategy

– Give as supporting evidence to OFSTED

– Review your current provision

The survey is open online until late March 2020 and should not take longer than 20 minutes to complete.

You can register to take part here:

If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact

There is also more info on the website: You can have a look here:

EXPECT Youth – Doncaster Young Person Survey and ‘What’s on’

Doncaster Young Person Survey

EXPECT Youth have developed a survey to gather feedback on youth opportunities from young people across a range of locality areas/ wards; specifically targeting disadvantaged young people and those who are part of SEND, LGBT and BAME communities, as well as other marginalised groups.

They want to hear young people’s thoughts on the things that matter to them most in their communities. This will be to support EXPECT Youth to put on high-quality activities, in the right style, in the right place and at the right times.

Take the chance to tell them what you think!

Click here to take part in the survey

‘What’s on’

All the community activities that are free to attend for children and young people in Doncaster can be found on their recently updated ‘What’s on’ page. This lets parents and young people easily find out what is going on in their area, allowing them to filter by location, ages, days and types of activity.

Check it out here.

Doncaster Student Survey

We are working alongside Start in Doncaster to put together a student survey that aims to find out what students think about the careers advice offered to them.

One young person will receive an iPad and the school with the highest proportion of completions will receive a prize.  Each school will also receive a report on the responses from their own pupils.

The competition opens on 24 February 2020 to Doncaster residents only, or students attending Doncaster schools.  All entrants must be aged between 11-18, or 11-25 if they have EHCPs.

To enter, you must complete the careers experience survey on the Start Platform.

The competition closes on 01 June 2020, so get involved and Start the survey now!

Click here to start the survey.

Evolve Health Mentors

We are funding Evolve Education to provide a 12 month programme of training and support to help teachers become even more effective in their role. Learning new skills, tools and strategies that can be applied immediately to improve practice and acceleration of your career.

This training programme includes:

  • Locally delivered monthly workshops
  • Regular progress and coaching calls
  • Experiential learning tasks to check progress and application
  • Workplace visits, support and observations
  • Tools and strategies to affect change, improve performance and promote potential
  • The essential skills needed to become an effective mentor

Who is this training programme for?

Anyone who has a formal or informal mentoring role will benefit from the Health Mentor Training Programme. Roles can include teaching assistants, learning mentors, pastoral managers, behaviour support workers, team leaders etc

Health mentors is an invaluable opportunity to transform the well being performance and achievement of students.

For more information and to register your interest in this fully funded professional development opportunity email

Developing a Parent Council

Now available at a reduced cost by 20% to £100pp+VAT.

Parentkind are delighted to announce that they will be running two half-day workshops for senior leaders on Developing a Parent Council. This workshop will be suitable for both primary and secondary leaders.

Why attend?

Would you like to build a genuine partnership with your parents in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for children and young people?

This practical workshop explores how schools can develop a parent council or forum as an effective mechanism for listening and responding to parents’ views.  They’ll look at how you can build an ongoing, positive partnership with parents in your context. Participants are supported to develop an effective strategy for their own schools.

 Join this half day workshop to discuss innovative and practical advice on:

  • Improving communication
  • Removing barriers to parental participation
  • Finding the right structure for your school
  • Maintaining momentum
  • Evaluating progress and assessing impact
  • Creating a mechanism to listen to parents, and to demonstrate to Ofsted that you have done so.

The date: Tuesday 24th March

Timing: The workshop is half a day. We are running two sessions so please pick from the following times

  1. Morning workshop: 08.45 – 12.00
  2. Afternoon workshop: 13.00 – 16.15

Venue: Central Family Hub, Welcome Way, Doncaster, DN1 3LE

Cost: £150 per person (inc. VAT)

The Lead Facilitator

The trainer, Kim Balmer is from Sheffield.  Kim was a teacher before focusing her attention on overcoming engagement barriers within vulnerable groups. She regularly delivers training and workshops covering conflict resolution and community cohesion and is a highly effective facilitator.

Who is this course designed for?

  • Headteachers and principals
  • Deputy and assistant heads
  • Governors
  • Local authority advisers
  • Multi academy trust

Feedback from previous attendees

“This training has helped me to successfully and confidently set up a parent council.  Parents know they have a voice, and would agree that it is a brilliant thing.”
“Excellent insight and step by step guidance on setting up a parent council.”
“This course has empowered me to move things forward.”

Book now!

Morning workshop booking link (08.45 – 12.00)

Afternoon workshop booking link (13.00 – 16.15)

If you want to discuss the course in more detail please contact Sharon Budhi at

Primary Network Conference

Doncaster Council’s Partnership and Engagement team and Junior Civic Mayor are excited to invite Doncaster primary school children to attend their first Primary Network Conference on the 6th of March.

5000 local children voted in their recent ‘Junior Make Your Mark’ campaign, where they were able to vote for an issues that was most important to them. The most voted for issue was to ‘improve the environment’ – so now it’s time to act!

They would like 2 pupil representatives from local primary schools to attend the event with a teacher, in order to work to ‘Improve the Environment’ together so that they can work to make a real difference in Doncaster.

The conference will be headlined by Doncaster’s Junior Civic Mayor, Alfie Turton and will act as a platform to showcase great practice that already exists in schools and children will have the opportunity to decide on a collaborative environment project. Workshops will also take place for children to get involved in!

Schools are still invited even if they didn’t take part in the Junior Make you Mark Campaign!


  • Friday 6th March 2020
  • 9:30-11:30am
  • Bentley MyPlace (Youth Hub)
  • Sign up here.

Book your place by the 27th of February!

Doncaster Steam School Competition

To celebrate the achievements of the Doncaster primary and secondary schools participating in the Steam School programme they would like to announce a special competition available only to Doncaster Schools. Submit a case study example of how you have deployed Steam School to inspire a generation of scientists, engineers and tech entrepreneurs to win a VIP trip in March 2020 to Google HQ in London.

A case study example could include deployment in:

  • Raising aspirations programme
  • After school club
  • Careers programme
  • Form Time
  • Timetables lessons
  • Collapsed timetable activity
  • Flipped learning/ homework project
  • Family learning

Your case study must include one or more of the following:

  • Impact data generated from you Steam School Dashboard
  • Student Voice
  • Teacher Voice
  • Photographic or video materials

Competition Details:

  • Competition entries should be submitted to by 13th February 2020.
  • Google visit to take place for 6 students and 1 teachers from each winning school on 12th March 2020.

Doncaster Careers Week

From the 10th-14th of February this year Opportunities Doncaster will be holding their first Doncaster Careers week, holding a variety of events throughout the week.

Doncaster Careers week aims to provide careers information, advice and guidance while demonstrating all the career pathways that are already existing within Doncaster and the surrounding areas.

By raising young people’s awareness about careers opportunities they aim to increase aspirations to pursue fulfilling careers. Doncaster Careers Week will be highlighting the different career pathways available across the borough by sharing case studies, providing meaningful employer encounters and celebrating success.

Doncaster has the 4th fastest growing economy in the UK and a population larger than Newcastle! The aim is to inspire this generation as they begin to enter the world of work.

Throughout the week Opportunities Doncaster will be providing resources to support careers and hosting a range of activities to get young people, parents and members of the wider community engaged.

You can expect:

  • Labour marketing information
  • Careers resource toolkit
  • Doncaster alumni videos
  • Live careers broadcasts
  • Business showcase evenings
  • Opportunities Doncaster LIVE

Find out more here.