Oldham's children and young people to benefit from fifth year of Opportunity Area funding

Date published: 27 May 2021

Oldham’s children and young people are again set to benefit from another year of investment from the Opportunity Areas (OA) programme.

Since 2016, the programme has invested £90 million on improving school standards, attendance, teaching quality and recruitment, careers training and advice, literacy and maths skills, alongside tackling barriers to learning that exist beyond the school gates.

Oldham was chosen by the Department of Education in 2017 to receive support from the multi-million-pound investment programme. 

This year an additional £18 million will be invested in 12 areas across the country, of which Oldham is one.

In Oldham, the programme has three aims:

Ensuring all children are school-ready by the age of five

Raising attainment for all (raising it fastest for the most disadvantaged)

Helping all children and young people to be ready for life, learning and work.

Furthermore, it is playing a vital role in helping areas recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.

A key priority for the programme this year will be ensuring sustainability of changes with a continued focus on the most impactful elements of the programme.

To ensure our borough becomes a better place to learn and achieve – as well as one where all children and young people can reach their full potential – an OA partnership board brings together local school and council leaders, businesses and community organisations to continue to move this innovative programme forward.

Cllr Shaid Mushtaq, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “As a result of the pandemic, over the past 15 months we have seen the education of Oldham’s children and young people affected like never before.

“Children and young people often face many challenges in life that can impact their education and the coronavirus pandemic has added a new layer of difficulties for them to deal with.

“That’s why we are grateful to be part of the Opportunity Area programme once again, as it means that we can continue to support our children and young people and help them reach their full potential despite the disruption.

“We’re fully committed to helping create environments that lead the way when it comes to emotional and mental wellbeing as these are the foundations that lead to healthy behaviours, improved educational attainments and further down the line, a successful journey into adulthood.

“This is why part of the overall funding has gone towards 70% of schools in the borough having professionals trained to deliver mental health initiatives to pupils.

“Oldham’s children and young people deserve the very best and we are working hard with schools, colleges and partners to achieve this.”

Over the past four years, each Opportunity Area has been led by local people with local knowledge who consequently deliver tailored solutions to tackle entrenched local problems and help young people to succeed.

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