Policy paper

Opportunity areas

Delivery plans for the 12 opportunity areas, and the methodology and data used to select them.

Applies to England


Blackpool opportunity area: delivery plan

Bradford opportunity area: delivery plan

Derby opportunity area: delivery plan

Doncaster opportunity area: delivery plan

Fenland and East Cambridgeshire opportunity area: delivery plan

Hastings opportunity area: delivery plan

Ipswich opportunity area: delivery plan

North Yorkshire Coast opportunity area: delivery plan

Norwich opportunity area: delivery plan

Oldham opportunity area: delivery plan

Stoke-on-Trent opportunity area: delivery plan

West Somerset opportunity area: delivery plan

Opportunity areas selection data

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email alternative.formats@education.gov.uk . Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


The delivery plans for the 12 opportunity areas outline how we plan to build young people’s knowledge and skills and provide them with the best advice and opportunities.

Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential

Opportunity areas are part of the government’s national plan for dealing with social mobility through education. The plan - Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential - is a policy paper which sets out how we will remove obstacles that could stop children and young people from achieving their potential in some of the most disadvantaged regions in England.

The 12 opportunity areas are:

Selection methodology

The selection methodology explains how we decided which areas would be classified as ‘opportunity areas’.

The selection data spreadsheet presents the data which we originally considered when identifying the areas in greatest need.

Sharing learning

Opportunity areas are at the heart of the government’s plan to level up outcomes for children and young people in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country. Sharing what is working in the opportunity areas is a key part of this, so that other areas can benefit from this learning to address social mobility challenges in their communities.

Opportunity areas analysis and evaluation

Learn how we are evaluating the success of the opportunity area programme, and helping other parts of the country benefit from our findings.

Published 9 October 2017
Last updated 19 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated with details of the opportunity areas insight guides.

  2. Added links to websites for Norwich, Blackpool, Bradford and Doncaster.

  3. Added links to the pages for West Somerset, Derby, Oldham, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire and Ipswich.

  4. Added a link to the North Yorkshire coast website.

  5. Added 6 new opportunity area delivery plans.

  6. Norwich: updated missing information on Dr. Tim Coulson, Chair of the Norwich partnership board on page 15. Blackpool: amended the graph showing the percentage of pupils in schools by Ofsted rating (January 2017) on page 20.

  7. First published.