Partnership Board Newsletter

Happy Half Term

Posted 17/02/2020

It’s been a busy few months, including a General Election and an announcement of a one-year extension to the OA programme! The Partnership Board, sub-groups and programme leads have all been hard at work to ensure we continue to make a positive impact and leave a legacy in Derby.

In November, the Partnership Board approved two new programmes: Derby Scholars, a programme supporting, disadvantaged, high attaining secondary pupils aspire to high tariff institutions such as Oxbridge, and Boundary Leapers, an initiative providing targeted support for GCSE students who show the potential to ‘leap’ key exam grade boundaries in English and maths.

On Tues 25th and Wed 26th February, events are being held for 900 Y11 pupils at Landau Forte College. Over the two days, lessons will be taught by secondary teachers from across the city, covering topics that provide the greatest challenge for pupils at key grade boundaries. Participating schools will also receive supplementary resources to use in the coming weeks and months to support on-going activity.

An online ‘Common Transfer Portal’ will be launched after the February half-term which will support the flow of information between Derby’s primary and secondary schools in order to aid smoother transition. Primary schools will enter transfer information in one place, rather than completing multiple transfer forms, and secondary schools will be able to log in to access all their future pupils’ information from multiple primary schools.

A Secondary Information Exchange Event is also being held on 2 April 2020 to help facilitate transitions conversations, for particular pupils in need of additional support, between primary and secondary schools. Secondary school colleagues are being asked to attend all day and an online booking system is now open for primary schools to select their preferred time slots:

Training to develop quality first teaching in SEND is available from February to April. Training will take place St Martins School and will look at frameworks to:

  • Reflect on SEND attitudes and practice to develop quality first teaching;
  • Reflect critically and proactively on the requirements for learners;
  • Promote effective Teaching Assistant deployment;
  • Increase staff retention.

Book places at  

The Family Engagement School Toolkit is now live and available to download from the app store. The website and app will guide and support parents with various aspects of their child’s learning and development, covering 5 key themes: school life, academic, community, health and wellbeing and safety. The School Toolkit website and app will be translated into five different languages – Polish, Kurdish, Urdu, Slovak and Latvian. A ‘roadshow’ is currently taking place in the 18 primary schools involved in the project and a social media campaign to promote the website and app has been running since 1 January. Visit or follow @schooltoolkit on Twitter, and school_toolkit on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date.

The Our Future Derby project is reaching out for volunteers to take part in a programme of career related activities within 32 primary schools in Derby. People across Derby are being asked to sign up and spare a couple of hours to go into a school and tell their career stories. The project is looking for a wide range of professions to get young people to explore a whole range of careers. Volunteers will be fully supported by a team of experts who will be on hand to facilitate the activities. You can volunteer through the Education and Employer website:

On 26 February, the secondary Family Engagement project are hosting Next Steps Careers Event at the Pakistani Community Centre in Normanton. The aim of the event is to raise the awareness, and aspiration, of employment pathways for pupils from The Bemrose School, City of Derby Academy and Merrill Academy. Translators will be readily available to support parents who do not have English as their first language. The event will build of the success of the Raising Aspirations Careers Fayre that took place in Normaton last year, where over 100 pupils and their families, and a range of local employers, attended. (You can find more information on last years event on our Good News Blog page!)

The Teach Derby website is now live – The website promotes teaching and teacher training opportunities in Derby, and shares success stories.

So far, few Derby schools have taken advantage of the Department for Education’s offer of support with Integrated Curriculum and Financial Planning. This is a management process helps schools plan the best curriculum for their pupils with the funding they have available. It involves measuring your current curriculum, staffing structure and finances, and using the data to create a 3 to 5 year plan. Also available is support from a Schools Resource Management Adviser. You can find more information here:

Autumn Update

Posted 22/10/2019

…And just like that we’re in the third year of the Opportunity Area programme!

We hope you all had a restful summer break and that you’ve settled well into the new school year. At the first Partnership Board of 2019/20, the Board reviewed the progress of OA funded programmes and approved a bid from the University of Derby to encourage and support Derby students applying to Oxford and Cambridge. The Board also emphasised the importance of creating a lasting legacy and will hold an away day in October to discuss ideas on creating a legacy and sustainability plan.

Derby OA has a number of high quality school improvement programmes available for primary schools this year, including Phonics, Reading, Writing, Maths and EAL.
This year we will also be offering Oracy, a new programme led by Hardwick School (a limited number of places are also available on this programme for secondary colleagues).
Places on all these courses are limited. To find out more, or register your interest, please contact

Every school in Derby has now committed to training a designated lead for mental health, and have attended at least one training day. Schools which trained in cohorts 1 and 2 are now being asked to complete their action plans and return them to Leeds Beckett University by the 24th October.
For more information on the Emotionally Healthy Schools programme, and for some helpful hints, tips and links, visit

The next Derby OA SENCO Network session is taking place on Wednesday 13th November 4-6pm at the University of Derby, with special guest, Ofsted’s Nick Whittaker (HMI, SEND). Heads and SENCOs from all school phases are invited to attend. To book your place please email

Early Years settings have the opportunity to take part in free, SEND CPD. Nasen is currently scheduling two further training sessions, the time and date for which will be advertised in the near future. To register your interest please email

Our Future Derby formally launched last month, with the aim of inspiring primary children to see the relevance of schooling to the world of work and connect primary schools with employers. Delivery leads have been in touch with primary schools in target wards to encourage and support sign up. For those schools not within a target ward, the team will be developing a careers portal for all primary schools in Derby to access career related learning opportunities. Find out more:
Our Future Derby is also recruiting volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds in all forms of job roles. Your commitment can be as much, or as little, as you can offer; from giving up just one hour to share your career journey in an assembly, to supporting a day of inspiring activities at a local school. Sign up today:

Important transition dates for your diaries:
Thursday 2nd April – Secondary Information Exchange Event – for key staff from all schools
Tuesday 7th – Thursday 9th July – city-wide Common Transfer Days for all schools.

The Department for Education has announced details of the Mathematics and Physics teacher retention payments pilot, which will run from 2019/20 and 2020/21. Maths and physics teachers, in their first five years are eligible for a £2,000 retention payment after tax. The pilot is open to teachers employed in a state-funded secondary in Derby Opportunity Area, whether they are employed on a full-time or part-time basis. For further information and to register interest, please visit

As an Opportunity Area, funding is available for Derby’s school staff to participate in funded national professional qualification programmes. If you’re interested, visit: