Press release

Social mobility package unveiled by Education Secretary

New opportunity areas across England will receive £60 million of funding to help local children get the best start in life.

Secondary school science class

Six areas, identified as the most challenged when it comes to social mobility, will have access to funding to address the biggest challenges they face. Opportunity areas will see local partnerships formed with early years providers, schools, colleges, universities, businesses, charities and local authorities to ensure all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Opportunity areas will also be given prioritised access to a wider support package helping young people from nursery right through to starting work.

The package includes a teaching and leadership innovation fund worth £75 million over 3 years focused on supporting teachers and school leaders in challenging areas to develop.

The aim of opportunity areas is to build young people’s knowledge and skills and provide them with the best advice and opportunities, including working with organisations such as the Careers and Enterprise Company, the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the National Citizen Service.

The first opportunity areas will be West Somerset, Norwich, Blackpool, Scarborough, Derby and Oldham, before the programme is widened out to other parts of the country in the coming months.

The Department for Education will target its programmes to ensure children get the best start in the early years, to build teaching and leadership capacity in schools, to increase access to university, to strengthen technical pathways for young people, and work with employers to improve young people’s access to the right advice and experiences. DfE will work with each opportunity area to respond to local priorities and needs - because each area will have its own challenges.

Three of the first 6 opportunity areas (Derby, Scarborough, and West Somerset) will also benefit from successful bids for the National Collaborative Outreach Programme, which will help raise aspirations for disadvantaged children through summer schools, organising school visits and providing academic mentoring.

Read supportive quotes from our stakeholders on our media blog.

Email us if you want to find out more about the opportunity areas:

Opportunity areas mailbox

DfE enquiries

Published 4 October 2016