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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The aim of the project was to help pre-school children in the Opportunity Area get the opportunity to achieve a good level of physicaldevelopment linked to their language and literacy skills. In doing so, it increased the children’s self-esteemand 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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