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Our Big Ideas

As we go into the final year of the Opportunity Area programme in 2021-22 our education settings and partner organisations are telling the story of our "Big Ideas" below. Filter by approach, theme or audience - or if you know the project name use the search function. Within each Big Idea you'll find case studies, resources and signposts to talk to the practitioners and partners that implemented them.



71 projects found

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Mental Health Champions

Forums for Mental Health Champions in schools.

Project Title

Engagement Coaches

Engagement Coaches supported students in Year 9 and 10 to engage positively with learning. Coaches were trained in best practice approaches to engagement and learning behaviours.

Early Career Support

Robust mentorship for early careers educators helping to increase their confidence and reduce the likelihood of leaving the profession. 

Community Communication Champions

A one-year project using a local community-based team of practitioners to support parents in developing their child's early communication skills at home.

Early Years Transition

In January 2021 a team of 15 Family Support Assistants were recruited into private, voluntary or independent early years settings and tasked with developing a passport and package of transition activities to improve school readiness for children moving up to primary school after 18 months of Covid disruption to their early development. 

Psychology and Therapeutic Service

Supporting children/young people through train the trainer approaches to mental health and wellbeing. 

Careers Facilitator Network

A network supporting school and college careers staff at all levels to collaborate on individual and shared projects and events, and to access training tailored to local needs. 

Evidence Based Practice

A series of school-based projects to implement evidence based approaches, supported by local Research Schools: Norwich Research School, Unity Research School, Ipswich Associate Research School, the Norwich Research Lead Network and the Ipswich Research Schools Network.

Enhanced Primary Inclusion Champions (EPICs)

A programme of training, support and focused time for primary school staff to collaborate and improve their inclusion development plans.

Champions for Children

Training for Early Years practitioners across Ipswich from the National Literacy Trust, developing their expertise in supporting children and families with early language development. This allowed us to help children in the Early Years Foundation Stage to develop the emotional, social and communication skills they need to improve their life chances. 

Supporting Wellbeing and Emotional Resilience Through Learning

A programme by University College London (UCL) that took schools through a broad and comprehensive audit of school wellbeing and supported the development of a whole school approach to building resilience. 

Parent Power

Parent Power creates parent/carer communities across the UK, each one supported by a local partnership. Through support to develop skills in community organising and advice and guidance on accessing higher education, parents are empowered to make change to support their children’s future and ensure their children have a fair chance in education and their future careers.

Workforce Development Programme

A strategic approach to staff training and development needs, analysis, planning and delivery in primary and secondary schools in Ipswich. 

Raising Standards at KS2

Tailored support for school leaders and teachers to improve outcomes in Reading, Writing and Maths at key stage 2.

YMCA SEMH Training

Fully funded extensive range of mental health training for staff in settings across the Opportunity Areas based on an approved competency framework Training ranges from core workshops accessible to all staff to more targeted training for specialist staff

Alternative Provision - Onsite

Setting up CPD and resources for new onsite Alternative Provision (AP) for both Primary and Secondary schools for children who were identified as at risk of exclusion.  Schools developed a range of in house AP approaches to provide wrap-around support for their pupils.

Primary World of Work - Ipswich

Ensuring the primary children can access a full range of career-related learning and world of work opportunities, aiming to raise aspirations of children, tackle gender stereotypes and give an insight into the careers for the future.

Vision and Voice

Giving children and young people within the Opportunity Area the chance improve their confidence and happiness and, therefore, increasing the chance of them being able to fulfil their potential.

School Mentoring Project

Mentors were recruited and trained to support young people in Years 10 and 11 to build confidence and skills for the future.

Communication Champions - Honorarium Project

This project offered trained Communication Champions the opportunity to apply for a termly honorarium payment to help give recognition to the Communication Champion role and the responsibilities that followed post-training.

ELKLAN Training to Support Children's Language and Learning.

Primary World of Work Activities

Careers and work-related learning activities for primary aged pupils to learn about the world around them and the possibilities for their future.

50 Things To Do Before You're 5

50 Things provides a framework of low and no cost activities for families.

Coaching and Mentoring for School Staff

Coaching and Mentoring for early career teachers, providing them with support, guidance and career development opportunities to encourage retention of staff in the profession across Ipswich schools.

Positive Activities

Funded practical activities to support young people at 16 and 17 with confidence, soft skills and planning for the future.

Developmental Movement Play

Movement and sensory experiences are crucial for a child’s social and emotional development, behaviour and learning. Movement stimulates the neurological system that fires and wires the brain, forming a multitude of connections that lay important foundations for the young child’s future learning and development. We provided a training programme and resources for early years staff, enabling them to support language development through children's physical literacy. 

Starting School Top Tips

A series of resources developed to help parents support their children starting nursery or school for the first time.

STEPS Training

Steps is a therapeutically thinking and trauma-informed whole-school approach to positive behaviour management which has been rolled out across Fenland and East Cambridgeshire. The training includes theory, analysis, and planning tools to support whole-school and individual needs.

Community Innovation Fund

A series of community-based projects across Norwich that trialled different approaches to encourage conversations between parents and children about their aspirations, skills and interests.

Improving Maths and English at Key Stage 3

A range of projects implemented across Ipswich secondary schools with a focus on improving English and Maths outcomes for key stage 3 pupils.

Headteacher Coaching

Professional coaching for Norwich headteachers and senior leaders within schools and settings provided support with decision making and managing change during the pandemic.

Early Career Development (ECD) programmes tailored to local context

Providing teachers in the early years of their careers with an additional level of support, tailored to the local context, through training sessions, mentoring and peer support.

Youth Advisory Boards

Each Youth Advisory Board (YAB) involves young people aged between 13 and 24 representing other young people across their area. They meet at least once a month to discuss issues important to them and share feedback from student surveys that are available to all pupils attending local mainstream secondary schools.

Communication Champions

An innovative speech and language training programme creating 'Communication Champions' amongst Early Years educators and practitioners.

WellComm Assessment Tool

WellComm is a toolkit designed to help early years settings identify children from six months to six years old who might be experiencing delays with speech and language. It can then help put immediate interventions into place, while waiting for a more formal assessment

Implementation Leads - Improving Maths and English outcomes effectively

23 x teachers/leaders in schools & colleges benefitted from ring-fenced time to access intensive training; plan, deliver and evaluate projects to improve numeracy/literacy outcomes for children and young people. Projects helped to improve teaching & learning, provide targeted intervention support and ultimately to improve pupil attainment.

Speech and Language Consultancy Project

The Norwich Opportunity Area (NOA) funded consultancy hours with a local speech and language therapist to support schools and settings to audit their practice and make improvements across 12 key areas.

THRIVE Approach Online

Thrive-Online is a unique system for screening, action-planning and monitoring identifying the social and emotional development needs of children and young people in setting.

Tell your Story - developing oracy and emotional literacy through arts partnerships

The Tell Your Story project bringing early years, school and FE educators together with arts and cultural organisations to develop emotional literacy, oracy and cultural capital

Suffolk TA Network

A Suffolk-wide network run by teaching assistants (TA) for teaching assistants; providing training, early career support and advice, and opportunities to share good practice. Teaching Assistants value continuing professional development tailored to their role and the opportunity to share best practice across a network. 

Healthy Movers

The aim of the project was to help pre-school children in the Opportunity Area get the opportunity to achieve a good level of physical development linked to their language and literacy skills. In doing so, it increased the children’s self-esteem and wellbeing, developed their agility, balance, and co-ordination; this helps children gain a better start to their life, improve school readiness and, in time, social mobility. 

Remote Teaching Champions

Evidence based support and additional capacity for schools to develop remote teaching strategies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Securing Positive Destinations After Year 11

A programme of support for young people in Years 9, 10 and 11 providing careers information, and developing their resilience to overcome the barriers to succeeding at school and moving on to college or sixth form.

Mental Health First Aid

Delivery of Mental Health Adult First Aider England Training to empower managers to put wellbeing at the heart of their approach in settings, championing efforts to promote and support mental health and wellbeing. 

Family Support - The Benjamin Foundation (Primary and Secondary)

A wrap-around approach of advice and guidance for schools and families of children at risk of exclusion. Whilst always keeping the child as the central focus, exploring ways to engage with and encourage healthy engagement in school life

Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs)

Training for school staff to support the emotional needs of their pupils. 

Transitions Charter

The Transitions Charter was developed by senior leaders and transition  leads across educational phases and embodies our commitment to consistent collaborative transitions. The aim of the charter is unify and empower education providers around a consistent collaborative framework that delivers successful, supportive transitions for all children and young people through their education and beyond.

Early Years Implementation Leads

Early Years practitioners in 13 x EY settings benefitted from ring-fenced time to access intensive training; planning, delivering and evaluating projects to improve early numeracy/literacy outcomes for children.

Projects helped to: enhance staff subject knowledge, increase the quality and range of learning resources & equipment in settings, improve teaching & learning, provide targeted intervention support and ultimately to help further children’s development in key early literacy and numeracy skills.

SEND Reviews

A review of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) within schools in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area as a means of helping to secure the OA's Priority 2: Strengthen the provision of support for children and young people with mental health concerns and those with special educational needs.​

Healthy Mind Healthy Body

Helping young people develop skills in cooking, food management, and healthy eating on a budget.

Detached Youth Work

Meeting young people where they are, to inform, guide and improve their opportunities.

Project title 4

Project in a Nutshell

Parent and Carer Support

The provision of help and support for the parent/carers of children with SEND and for those who think they have SEND. Providing help and information for parent and carers of children and young people aged 0-25 with additional needs and disabilities and gives parents and carers opportunities to have a say and get involved in improving local services.

Curriculum Bridging Project (Transition Year 6-7)

A scheme of work and full set of lesson plans and high-quality resources for primary and secondary schools, designed to ensure continuity across the key stage 2 and 3 English curriculum on transition to secondary school.

Coaching and Mentoring in the Early Years

A programme of coaching and mentoring to develop the resilience of leaders and managers in Early Years settings, supporting them to manage change and create a culture of improvement in their setting.

One-to-One Guidance for Prospective Teachers

Delivering of One-to-one Guidance Service for Prospective Trainee Teachers and a Teaching Experience programme in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire.

Norwich Inclusion Charter

A city-wide charter of agreed principles, developed collaboratively by local schools with the aim of improving inclusive practice and reducing levels of exclusion.

Transition (Year 6-7)

Development of a range of low cost, flexible resources and activities that meet the needs of schools and pupils on transition between Year 6 and Year 7. Key projects carried out under the Transition (Year 6-7) have been remit include: 

  • Common Transfer Document
  • Admissions Event for Parents
  • Primary School Parent Information Evenings 
  • Primary/Secondary Interschool Visits
  • Summer Schools 
  • Curriculum Bridging Project

Evidence Leads in Education

A network of highly-skilled practitioners supporting a vibrant and connected community of research informed educators.

Communication Champion Hubs

A network of Early Years practitioners, trained to become local experts in early speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and leaders of communication "centres of excellence" that provide professional support to colleagues across the Norwich Opportunity Area.

Early Years Covid-19 Recovery Grant Fund

This project offered schools and settings the opportunity to apply for grant funding to run their own speech, language and communication projects. The aim was to support early years children’s speech and language development, which in many cases had been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Phonics Support Programme (Peterborough)

Ensuring every child has the best start in cracking the phonics code and developing good early reading skills. Supporting Phonics/Reading leaders to make a significant impact in their school regardless of the children's starting points.

Maths Improvement at KS1 and KS2

Improving the teaching and learning of Maths in KS1 and KS2.

Cultural Enrichment Programme

The Creative & Cultural Futures cultural enrichment pilot was designed with schools and stakeholders to test the types of activities that support the development of essential skills and create wider benefits for students, such as knowledge of available jobs in the creative and cultural industries.

HE Parent Champions

A parent champion and ambassador network to support parents of prospective university students with the process of choosing, applying to and attending university 

What A Difference A Day Makes (WADADM)

A short programme of Maths and English interventions to help students prepare for their GCSEs.

Virtual Work Experience

Four Cornerstone employers and four Special School Careers Leaders come together to deliver a SEND Virtual Week – “Experience of the Workplace”. Based on the 10 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning employment skills.

Learning Behaviour Leads

A network of support staff in schools and colleges trained to support the most vulnerable children and young people to engage with learning.

Virtual Tours

A project developed in response to Covid-19 to support parents and children with starting reception.

Resilience and Wellbeing Hubs

A local system of professionals based in educational establishments who are trained and equipped to identify needs and provide support for mental health and wellbeing for young people and staff.