Welcome to the Derby Opportunity Area website

What are Opportunity Areas?

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 is to improve outcomes for children and young people from early years through to employment.

Derby was announced as an Opportunity Area in October 2016.

In 2016, Derby was ranked 303rd in the Social Mobility Index and dropped to 316th in 2017. In 2017, Derby’s educational performance was weak, with results at primary and secondary below the national average and almost a quarter of schools rated by Ofsted as less than good.

We have seen significant progress over the last three years, but further activity is required to secure and build on these improvements.

Our aim is to ensure that Derby’s children and young people, regardless of their background, are able to fulfil their potential and access the opportunities available to them – from early years through to employment. We have prioritised three key areas, namely:

  • Priority 1: Early Years: Increasing the number of children achieving a good level of development in the early years.
  • Priority 2: School Improvement: Raising attainment in Derby’s primary and secondary schools.
  • Priority 3: Broadening Horizons: Ensuring that all Derby’s children benefit from a broad range of experiences throughout their school lives.

These priorities are underpinned by two additional themes: Mental Health; and Transitions and Pathways.

Your can read more about our work in our delivery plan.

Extension to the Opportunity Area Programme

In November 2019, the Government announced a one year extension to the Opportunity Area programme, to run to August 2021. A further extension to the project was announced in June 2021, to run until August 2022. In Derby, Year’s 4 and 5 will focus on support for and to school aged children, both in the classroom and pastoral support for the vulnerable. We will continue supporting phonics and KS2 English and maths to secure improvements and support those schools that remain behind the curve. We will continue to strengthen careers links between employers and the primary sector across the city and continue to support schools at KS4 and college students resitting English and maths, where improvements have not yet been realised.

Further information on the projects currently funded by Derby OA can be found: here.