The 12 opportunity areas (OAs) are social mobility cold spots where the Department for Education (DfE) is prioritising resources, and bringing local and national partners together, to break the link between a child’s family background and where they get to in life. The core objective of the programme is to improve outcomes for children and young people, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds in the 12 OAs – from early years through to employment.

Derby was one of the first 6 OAs to be announced in October 2016, with the aim of improving social mobility by raising educational standards from early years, through school and beyond, providing every child and young person in the area with the chance to reach their full potential in life. DfE delivery teams spent a year consulting with local partners, to form a strong partnership model, and local networks, to advise on the programme locally and ensure long-term sustainability.

Local consultation included schools, young people, system leaders, multi-academy trusts (MATs), local authorities, early year providers, businesses and third sector organisations – helping us to understand the challenges faced by the city.

The Derby OA programme focuses on early years, school improvement and broadening horizons.