Back to School

The Opportunity Area (OA) Partnership Board met in September to discuss progress so far against our priorities and plans for future activity to improve educational outcomes and life chances for Derby’s children and young people.

Feedback from our first wave of primary school programmes has been really positive and there has been improvement across all areas where we took action. On average, outcomes of those schools involved in our primary OA programmes, covering phonics, reading and maths at KS1 and KS2 have improved faster when compared to other schools. So we know we are making a difference. We will be running similar programmes in year 2, working with schools most in need of support.

Our speech, language and communication (SLC) pilots have also been positively received:

  • Outcomes for learners, both practitioners, leaders and teachers were particularly successful; with measurable improvements in confidence across a range of measures, including identifying and supporting children’s SLC needs, and supporting the SLC development of all children, as well as an increased range of strategies at their disposal for doing this, and a reported increase in their use.
  • Knowledge and confidence scores of practitioners across all groups showed significant improvements.
  • Improvements were also seen amongst parents, both in terms of their confidence and knowledge in supporting their child’s speech, language and communication development.

We are now working on next steps and plans for spreading these successful approaches across the city.

The percentage of children achieving the phonics standard at the age of 6 years has also increased to 82% in Derby (from just 64% in 2014). This means that we have achieved the national average in a key primary phase indicator and are now ranked 76th nationally (compared to 150th in 2014). Well done to all schools and to all involved at DEYTSA (Harrington) for their leadership of this work over these years.

At secondary, we also made some good progress in raising standards in Year 11 and we are now considering collaborative approaches to narrowing the maths and English attainment gaps for disadvantaged students in Derby.

We were delighted to be invited to the launch of THIS IS DERBY on 25 September, hosted at Pride Park by Derby County Community Trust, Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership & Derby Sport Forum. THIS IS DERBY, a significant part of Derby Opportunity Area’s Essential Life Skills programme, is an exciting and innovative new collaboration of arts, culture and sport, which aims to provide young people with the opportunity to develop their essential life skills, engage within their community and celebrate their talents and achievements. Find out more at:

As we head into the new academic year, we are looking forward to working with you to raise educational standards from early years, through school and beyond so we can provide every child and young person in Derby with the chance to reach their full potential in life, helping to make Derby a great place to grow up and thrive.


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