Partnership Board Newsletter


Summertime, celebrations and looking forward… 

Posted 01/08/2019

As we reach the end of the academic year we take a look at some of the successes of 2018/19 and highlight what’s available in 2019/20. At July’s Partnership Board meeting the Careers and Enterprise Company provided the Board with the 2018/19 headlines, a new Terms of Reference for the Broader Horizons sub-group was presented and the Board approved three further programmes delivered through the Research School (more detail below). We hope Derby schools have an enjoyable, and restful, summer holiday. See you in September.

On Saturday 13th July, This Is Derby took over Derby’s Market Place to celebrate the talents and achievements of our young people. The day brought together arts, culture and sports activities and performances for everyone to enjoy, as well as the chance to learn more about some of the OA programmes by taking part in family activities hosted by a number of OA funded programmes: Family Engagement, Primary Business Links, Mental Health, Talk Derby and Targeted Student Support. The event was hugely successful with hundreds of children and young people taking part in a procession to kick of the event, a host of incredible performances and hundreds of spectators throughout the day.

Due to the success of the programme, This is Derby, led by Derby County Community Trust, will continue providing opportunities for young people to take part in high-quality arts, sports and cultural activities next academic year.

Next academic year, we will build of this year’s success, offering a range of KS2 School Improvement Programmes in phonics, reading, writing, maths, oracy (for KS2 and KS3 teachers) and English as an additional language. Each programme contains high quality training for key staff and support for in-school work over the year. Every primary headteacher should have now received personalised information with further details about each of the programmes, along with some suggestions from PSG to consider the particular programmes that fit best with the first analysis of this summer’s results.

At KS4, the OA Board has commissioned a programme to support the improvement of English and maths. The two main element of the programme are:
• Strengthening strategic leaderships through peer challenge, and
• Improving the quality of provision on English and maths through Training in subject knowledge and pedagogy and school to school support.

Targeted Student Support will continue in the next academic year, with feedback from parents and secondary schools being very positive. So far, almost 100 cases involving families and young people have been reviewed and a number of external referrals have been completed, providing support for families as well as schools. From September the following extra support will be available through the project:
• Think for the Future mentors appointed to work in selected secondary schools
• Counsellor appointed to address social, emotional and mental health
• English/maths tutors to help bridge gap in learning, and 
• Exercise therapy to address anger management.

Every school in the city has the opportunity to apply for grant funding of £1,500 to develop the emotional health and wellbeing of their school communities. Half of Derby’s schools have already taken up the offer and are in the process of developing plans on how to spend it. The mission of the Emotionally Healthy Schools project is to train every school in Derby in the leadership of emotional health and wellbeing, and develop a network of Designated Senior Leads for Mental Health from every school. All schools are either already involved or signed up for the final wave of training in the new academic year.

In 2018/19, the Research School offered two national programmes: Leading Learning: Developing an Evidence-Informed CPD Approach and Effective Use and Evaluation of the Pupil Premium. Following the success of these programmes, and through consultation with Derby schools, The Research School is offering three programmes next academic year:
• Teaching for Memory: Developing an In-School Lead
• Metacognition: Developing an In-School Lead
• Evidence Champions: Growing Research Engagement from Within.

TALK Derby is providing information, resources and activities for schools, practitioners and parents through its website as well as launching the TALK Derby Pledge (asking people to sign up to listening and talking more to the children in their lives). Early Years settings in eight priority wards can also access free support and early years training by booking on to any of the Elklan training courses or to identify strengths and opportunities for development through Better Communication’s Balanced System.

Next year will see the development of TEACH Derby – a growing programme of collaborative work organised by the partnership of ITT/ITE organisations (teacher training). They have obtained funding through the Opportunity Area Board for:
• City-wide promotional work to attract people into teaching careers. This will include a single website to link all training providers, promotional films and events, plus training in PR and social media.
• A major CPD Programme for up to 100 Derby teachers who are in the second year of their career to build on their NQT year and continue their development.
• School internships to fuel the interest of potential future teachers.

Our Future Derby aims to inspire children and connect primary schools with the world of work. 24 schools are now signed up to the project which will formally start next academic year. The Primary Futures portal can be accessed by any school in the city free of charge, so please do take a look and register your school – there are some fantastic resources on there that schools can use for employer engagement activities. The CPD launch of the programme will be on the 24th September where programme leads, school champions and leadership teams will work to ensure career- related learning is embedded throughout schools effectively. For more information about any OA funded programmes please get in touch:

Posted on 25th June, 2019

June News

At the June board meeting, the Derby OA Partnership Board received final proposals and allocated the remaining OA budget. The Board approved a number of programmes, which will kick off in September 2019 and run until August 2020. These are:

  • ‘This is Derby’ 2.0 – an extension of the current programme with a focus on continuing sports role as a vehicle for enhancing life skills in 5 hubs, including one SEND hub. This work will complement the successful arts council bid that will maintain art activity in target hubs;
  • Careers IAG –key research and analysis that will lay the foundations for a long-term careers strategy for Derby that aligns with the proposed D2N2 Careers and Employability Hub;
  • Exclusions – a project which aims to increase the capacity and capability of mainstream secondary schools to provide effective pre-exclusion interventions and support all pupils, with a focus on Key Stage 3, and reduce the overall number of exclusions within secondary schools;
  • Oracy – an oracy leadership programme to support the development of children’s capacity to use speech to express their thoughts and communicate with others.

The Transition Working Group recently advertised an opportunity for schools to express their interest in creating projects which develop practice that strengthens transition. In particular, the Working Group is looking to support projects that can have a positive impact upon:

  • The quality and efficiency of information sharing at any point of transition;
  • Increasing positive learning and reducing delays in learning progress at transition points;
  • Increasing inclusion and reducing exclusion of vulnerable around transition points.

The deadline for the submission of proposals is this Friday, the 28th June.

A Derby Opportunity Area Whole School SEND Conference will bring together the different threads of SEND improvement work across the city and, in particular, to share some of the key messages and effective practice emerging from the Derby OA programme of SEND Peer Challenges. The conference offers a diverse and relevant set of keynote speeches, briefings, workshops and SENCO network events to support professional development.

The event is being held on Tuesday 9th July 2019, 8.30am – 4.30pm at University of Derby. Places for head teachers are free and two further delegates per school can also attend for £50. To book your places visit:

Following the successful first round of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) grants that are currently running in Derby schools, the Partnership Board commissioned a further £250,000 of OA funding to offer grants for STEAM activities. Applications are now being invited for a further round of grants up to £25,000. The programme will fund a range of activities that help early years’ providers, schools, colleges and learning providers to improve outcomes for STEAM.

Proposals are invited through an application process at . There is no specific closing date for applications, which will be assessed and awarded on a first come, first served basis. All activities that receive funding must be completed on or before 31 August 2020.

Colleagues working in Derby’s early years’ settings now have the opportunity to become qualified as EY SENCOs. This high quality, substantial training programme, funded by Derby OA, is free for EY settings in Derby with small bursaries also available. Please email us to register your interest or to request information.

TALK Derby, a programme of Speech Language and Communication (SLC) support for early years’ providers, is now underway! The programme provides support for settings to fully understand their current SLC practice and training needs and encourages everyone to spend more time talking and listening to the children in their lives. There is also free training and support available for schools, childminders, children’s centres and other early year’s settings in the most disadvantaged areas of Derby. Visit , or follow @Lets_TALKDerby on twitter, for more information and to review what is available for your setting.

Posted on May 31, 2019

May Update

The OA Board met earlier this month to discuss the progress of OA programmes so far and discuss the need for any new activities in the final year. As a result of this conversation, and following the success of our Primary School Improvement programmes the Partnership Board have agreed to extend the Phonics, Reading, Writing and English as an Additional Language programmes for an additional year. They have also agreed to commission further work in Primary Maths and Secondary English and Maths.

The Board also agreed to provide a proportion of match funding to support Derby Theatre’s application to the Youth Performance Partnership Fund. Derby Theatre were successful in their application and have secured £1m of Arts Council funding to continue the arts work of This Is Derby for an additional three years. The Board are also considering options to secure funding for the sports side of This is Derby to continue next year.

Additionally, following the progress of the SEND peer challenge programme, the Partnership Board approved further SEND funding to respond to matters emerging from the main programme. This additional funding will support:

  • Specific leadership training for SENCOs to enable them to lead the improvement of quality first teaching and the deployment of teaching assistants in their schools that better meet SEND needs.
  • Direct targeted support to help schools identified through the peer challenge process that have significant difficulties in introducing SEND improvements.
  • Training for front-line classroom teachers, teaching assistants and practitioners on priority SEND topics.

A group of service providers have now been appointed to provide an extensive programme of Speech Language and Communication (SLC) support for the next 18 months. This programme offers support to help early years’ settings (nurseries, PVI providers, Children’s Centres, childminders and school’s with Foundation Stage classes) to improve their SLC provision.

The first TALK Derby Network Meeting was held on 20th May at the Derby Conference Centre, with over 130 EY settings in attendance. The meeting provided EY settings with information on the support and training available to them through TALK Derby, as well the opportunity to network. To find out more about TALK Derby, or to sign up for training, visit:

Funding has now also been approved for a 12 month city wide SLC campaign to promote learning across early years, primary and secondary. The campaign will raise the profile and promote the importance of SLC development across the city, giving a range of audience’s, including parents, childminders, early years professionals, health professionals, teachers (both primary and secondary), and businesses, access to information, tools and resources.

Funding has also been approved to vary the Department for Educations existing Grant with Nasen, the Early Years Disadvantage VCS Grant. The variation will provide 36 qualified EY SENCOs (in addition to the 24 already committed in the existing Grant), CPD for 120 EY Professionals, Training for 15 EY SEND Reviewers and 60 EY SEND Reviews.

Derby’s research school, Wyndham Primary Academy, has been funded by the Opportunity Area to provide two leadership training programmes for Derby schools. Each programme offers three days of face-to-face training with lots of practical tools to take away and support implementation, two coaching sessions and a follow up network impact event. The aim is to build capacity and support sustained impact which is bespoke to an individual school needs. The two programmes are:

  • Leading Learning: Developing an Evidence-Informed CPD Approach – Using evidence based practice to enhance teaching & learning. A chance to explore the evidence for a range of different strategies and plan for effective implementation and evaluation of new approaches.
  • Effective Use and Evaluation of the Pupil Premium A chance to develop, implement and review an evidence based high impact Pupil Premium strategy and framework. Developed by the Education Endowment Foundation and Research Schools Network, this 3-day programme draws upon the most recent and robust evidence of impact. For more information about any of the opportunities available in Derby, please email

The Primary Business Links project is now up and running. The project is an exciting opportunity for primary schools to access expert support in embedding career related learning into the curriculum and connect to local employers. It aims to broaden children’s horizons, supporting them to see the links between the subjects they study and the world of work and dispel the stereotypical images they develop from a young age, including gender stereotypes. Watch out for further information over the coming weeks.

This Is Derby held a symposium on the 24th May to celebrate the success of the programme so far and discuss how the work fits in with the wider work and priorities of Derby Opportunity Area. The event took place at Pride Park Stadium and included performances by young people involved in This Is Derby, a congratulatory video from Minister Nadim Zahawi, panel discussions, a research presentation and an exclusive preview of the This is Derby documentary – all while overseeing primary pupils take part in ELS activity on the pitch.

For more information about any of the opportunities available in Derby, please email

Posted on April 8, 2019

Spring Into Action

Over the last few months the Opportunity Area Partnership Board have approved a number of new OA projects. Including, awarding the Research School funding to deliver two key programmes in 2018/19; Leading Learning: Develop an Evidence-Informed CPD Approach and Effective Use and Evaluation of the Pupil Premium. The Research School will also be supporting Derby’s schools in 2019/20.
The board discussed an opportunity to secure Arts Council funding for the city over the next three years, which would help to sustain its ‘This is Derby’ activity and approved a proposal to support students transitioning between primary and secondary schools, more details of both programmes are given below.
We’re pleased to announce that the Board also approved the new Derby OA logo. The winning entry in the design competition came from Ravensdale Junior School and has been digitised by a student from the University of Derby. For a copy of the logo please email

There’s been a lot of activity on our Emotionally Healthy Schools Project recently and training has now begun for Designated School Leads for Mental Health (DSLMH). 94 schools have signed up to the programme and 44 have already have started their DSLMH training. Thanks to all schools who provided input into the web portal consultation. A service specification has now been drafted in line with the findings of the consultation and will go out to tender in the near future.

The OA transitions working group has developed city-wide transition arrangements for Year 6 pupils moving into Year 7 in 2019, including common transfer days, improved information sharing and support for vulnerable students. With the purpose of beginning the important dialogue between primary and secondary schools, a transitions information exchange event took place on Thursday 4th April. 400+ students so far have completed the Year 7 survey of their transfer experience. Responses are providing a wealth of valuable information and will ensure that the student voice shapes the work.
We’re also working on improving the recruitment and retention of teachers in Derby’s schools. Over 100 interviews took place recently for this year’s Derby NQT Pool, with over 70 trainees now looking to start careers as teachers in Derby. Further interviews will be taking place in March which may add more candidates into the pool. The Board also recently approved funding for a new recruitment and retention project, Teach Derby, which will be starting later in the year.
The Family Engagement (FE) Next Steps Careers Fair in Normanton on 28th February was a resounding success. There was a great turnout of over 100 young people and their families. Employers ranged from the Police and Fire Service, to Rolls Royce and Bombardier, all providing information on career pathways and apprenticeships. Primary FE activity continues with a full day event held on 2nd April, for all primary school FE leads participating in this OA project. This networking event provided an opportunity to share good practice with the aim of creating a shared vision across the city that will lead to increased engagement between schools, families and local communities.
Through the Essential Life Skills programme, we allocated £1m of funding to schools across Derby, based on a pupil premium formula, to delivery activity to support the development of skills such as confidence, resilience and teamwork. Schools have told us about the fantastic range of Essential Life Skills work underway across the city, So far over 860 sessions have been delivered to 4,023 students. 1565 (39%) of these were eligible for pupil premium.
In addition to schools funding, the ELS programme awarded £1m of funding to Derby County Community Trust to lead a consortium of sport, art and culture organisations to deliver ELS activity to young people across Derby, focusing in nine specific wards, with an additional hub targeted at children and young people who attend special schools. Over 1,600 children and young people have engaged and activities over the last month and activity will continue for the remainder of this academic year. For information on activities happening in your area please email

Posted on January 25, 2019

New Year News

As we head into the New Year, Derby OA programmes are well underway and we’re starting to hear positive feedback from participating schools and the programme providers.
Work has started on the Secondary Family Engagement Programme and plans are in place this term for a number of schools to be involved in an English as an Additional Language Careers Fair and a Family Learning programme in the local community. Selected families will be invited to attend and work on engaging with the schools and their child’s learning journey. Funding has also been approved for the Primary Family Engagement programme with meetings underway to shape an action plan for the coming terms.
A Mobility Support Worker has now been recruited to support the Targeted Student Support work. She is based at Landau Forte College but will be spending a lot of time in schools with young people and their families to try and reduce the amount of students changing secondary placements during KS4.
All schools should now have received an email newsletter from the co-ordinator of the Emotionally Healthy Schools Programme. This newsletter outlines exciting opportunities for free training for designated mental health leads and the chance to help develop the online web portal.
The Primary Business Links proposal was approved by the OA board and is live on the council website. The tender seeks an organisation to work in partnership with primary schools to develop a programme of employer engagement and provide pupils with the opportunity to learn about the world of work. The application deadline is 3rd February:
95% of eligible schools have taken up the offer of Essential Life Skills funding and many have already started to put the funding to good use. The Derby County Community Trust lead ELS programme, ‘This Is Derby’ kicked off last year, with activity set to ramp up over the coming months. The programme is being delivered across 10 hubs and provides pupils opportunity to develop life skills such as resilience and team work through sport, art and cultural activity.
Derby Research School have two leadership training opportunities available this term, which is free for participating schools:
• Leading Learning, which uses evidence based practice to enhance teaching and learning, and;
• Effective Use and Evaluation of the Pupil Premium, which provides a chance to develop, implement and review an evidence based high impact Pupil Premium strategy and framework
Lastly, The Secretary of State previously announced a new free website to advertise school vacancies. The website is now live here: and has been rolled out across the East Midlands and Humber.

To find out more information about any of the programmes in this update, or how to get involved, email

There’s a host of activity happening over the coming year and we look forward to continuing work with partners to improve social mobility across Derby. Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019.

Posted on December 7, 2018

Winter Wrap Up

The Opportunity Area (OA) Partnership Board met in November to discuss and agree the priorities for the remainder of the OA programme. It was agreed that only those projects that align to the strategic priorities set out in the OA delivery plan and that will achieve greatest impact will be funded.

We are now inviting tenders for our TALK Derby programme. The tender process is broken down into four separate Lots: Lead Coordinating Organisation, Family Engagement, SLC Training Provider and Evaluation. TALK Derby will support and strengthen the development of speech, language and communication (SLC) skills in the early years. The deadline for tenders is 2 January and work will start shortly thereafter.

Ofsted recently published the percentage of childcare providers judged to be good or outstanding as of 31st August 2018. Derby is 13th best nationally with 98% of our childcare providers judged to be good or better compared with 94.5% nationally. This is a great credit to the fantastic work being done by childminders, settings and schools

Almost every secondary and special school and the over ¾ of primary schools responded to the Transition Survey early this month. Key decisions that were strongly supported by the survey responses include:
• 2019 Common Transfer Day for all schools – Tuesday 2nd July 2019
• Transfer Information Exchange Event – An event all schools to discuss the specific needs of key Y6 pupils moving to Y7 and share critical information to support their smooth transition. Dates TBC
• Best piece of independent writing – every Y6 child to take a piece of written work into Y7 which will be used to establish minimum expectations for standards in Y7
• A move to three common transfer days in 2020
• Additionally, a new Working Group has been commissioned to support improvements in the transition of ‘vulnerable students’ as they leave Y11.

70% of children in the foundation stage achieved a good level of development in 2018 compared with 72% nationally, the gap to national was 6% in 2015. This now places Derby at 113th of 152, up from 138th in 2015.

When looking at specific pupil characteristics, the achievements are even more pronounced:
– 35% of Derby’s children on SEN support in the foundation stage achieved a good level of development, compared to 28% nationally placing Derby as 12th best achieving nationally.
– 61% of Derby’s FSM children in the foundation stage achieved a good level of development, compared to 57% nationally and this places Derby as the 30th best achieving nationally.
– 64% of Derby’s EAL children in the foundation stage achieved a good level of development, compared to 66% nationally placing Derby as the 73rd best achieving nationally.

Our Derby SEND Peer Challenge programme continues to roll-out across the city, schools involved so far have welcomed the reviews as valuable and worthwhile. This programme continues through this school year and next and there are still opportunities to get involved as a peer reviewer or ‘Challenger’ aimed at Heads, SLT or SENCOs and a financial contribution is made towards backfill costs. To get involved please email Debbie Gerring at St Martins who is co-ordinating places at forthcoming training:

As we head into the New Year we are looking forward to start work on a number of our key OA projects, including Emotionally Healthy Schools, Family Engagement, Targeted Student Support, Primary Business Links and New to English/GRT.

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas break.

Posted on October 4, 2018

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.

 Posted on August 8, 2018

Summer is here

It feels like we have made a number of big steps forward since the spring. During 2017/18, we delivered a number of small-scale primary programmes, covering phonics, maths, reading and comprehension, and a programme on EAL leadership. Encouraging progress has been made in many of the participating schools. We will be running similar programmes in year 2 and targeted at similar numbers of schools.

At secondary, we have also delivered programmes in maths and English and are working closely with Chellaston Academy, helping to plan Chellaston’s strategic school improvement fund activity that will support secondary schools with maths and English throughout 2018/19.

The Board has approved three significant activities, which will start from the autumn term:

  • Targeted Student Support, aiming to reduce the number of school moves made by secondary students in years 10 & 11;
  • Family Engagement programme to support families who find it hard to engage with their child’s education, starting with secondary schools; and
  • Emotionally Health Schools, a proposal aligned to the mental health green paper to support school leaders to develop policies and supportive environments conducive to positive emotional well-being.

We have allocated our Essential Life Skills funding, including a large grant to a consortium led by Derby County Community Trust, a number of small grants to providers working with Derby’s schools and schools, academies and Derby College have been notified of their Essential Life Skills allocations.

We have also awarded a number of collaborative science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) grants, which will deliver a range of activities that help schools and learning providers to improve outcomes for STEAM.

Our SEND peer review pilots have been succesful and we will be rolling out the peer review programme from the autumn term.

The OA Board has seen some changes and we are delighted to welcome three new appointments, Angela O’Brien, Debbie Gerring and Simon Carnall.

We would like to wish everyone across the city, especially those working with Derby’s children and young people, a relaxing and enjoyable summer break!

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