Ipswich classrooms boosted by £1m pot to develop teacher skills

PUBLISHED: 16:27 12 February 2019

Richard Lister said feedback from teachers was that the Ipswich Opportunity Area scheme was a 'breath of fresh air'. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Richard Lister said feedback from teachers was that the Ipswich Opportunity Area scheme was a 'breath of fresh air'. Picture: GREGG BROWN

More than £1million of government cash is being pumped into the training and development of teachers in Ipswich, it has been revealed.

Castle Hill principal Gemma Andrews said it was a Castle Hill principal Gemma Andrews said it was a "once in a lifetime" investment for Ipswich schools. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich was one of 12 places in the UK designated ‘opportunity areas’ by the Department for Education – areas where targeted work to improve all aspects of education were outlined.

The scheme has been underway for a year, with a dedicated pot of £1m being put into Ipswich for career progression and workforce development on top of other funding pots.

Richard Lister, chairman of the Ipswich Opportunity Area board, said: “The workforce development funding is just one way the opportunity area is making Ipswich a great place to be a teacher with bespoke training that will raise pupil grades and aspirations.

“Headteachers have told us this project is a breath of fresh air and transformative for their schools’ professional development.

“Bringing headteachers and staff together in supportive forums like this also gives the project a lasting legacy by strengthening networks to share best practice, expertise and resources so Ipswich’s pupils get the best chance to fulfil their potential.”

Each of the 53 schools and colleges in the opportunity area have been awarded between £10,000 and £50,000 depending on their staffing levels, to spend on workforce development.

Opportunity area chiefs said the aim is for the cash to supplement schools’ own staff development programmes rather than replace them.

The workforce development aims to improve the skills and career progression of staff, help them to inspire youngsters in their learning and support recruitment and retention of teaching staff.

Gemma Andrews, principal at Castle Hill Infant and Junior Schools, said: “We are proud at Castle Hill at looking at what do children nationally and internationally need – where is the best practice and we want that for the children in our school.

“This gives us the ability to find that best practice and bring it to Castle Hill.”

Ms Andrews said the opportunity area was “massively significant”, and added: “I see that this is almost a once in a lifetime opportunity to get some real investment in our staff, and investment in our school to ensure that children are on that national stage.”

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