Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area

Newsletter 9 July 2021

Message from our Chair

As this is the last newsletter of the academic year, I want to extend the Partnership Board’s thanks to you all for the way your have continued to support the children and young people in your schools and settings during what has been a very challenging year. It was good to see many of you at the recent webinars and Zoom meetings.

As always, we value your feedback as we prepare for the year ahead. Just this week, Tiffany and I met with a group of Opportunity Area (OA) advocates to discuss how we work together in the future. We shared lots of ideas about moving forward in Year 5 and the team will be taking note of these when planning the Year 5 programme.

So... thank you and I hope you have a well deserved break. We look forward to seeing you again in the autumn term. Who knows – we may be able to meet in person rather than always on Zoom!  

As ever, please contact the OA team on with any queries you may have.

With best wishes,
Tricia Pritchard


In this newsletter:


SEND – Virtual Experience of the Workplace

Four of our Cornerstone Employers, Morgan Sindall Construction, Cambridge Commodities, Anglian Water and G’s Fresh, ran a virtual experience of their companies for four OA special schools last week (28 June–2 July). The schools involved were Meadowgate Academy, Highfield Ely, Highfield Littleport and The Harbour School.

Each day, a different Cornerstone Employer delivered interactive presentations to students. The organisations supplied resources to the schools in advance. Students were able to learn more about the companies and opportunities within our area, develop new skills and have fun along the way. On Friday, all cornerstone employers and schools came together for students to present their learnings and ask questions.

Alvina Morey, Senior Enterprise Coordinator for Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, passed on her thanks:

"Much thanks and gratitude to all the employers and school careers leaders for making this possible."

Here is what the students said about their experience:

  • “We learned how to work in a team”
  • “Seeing how many jobs are there that you don’t know about”
  • “We looked at different job roles and what qualifications you need to do that job”
  • “Enjoyed hearing from the guest speakers”
  • “Had fun designing our own packaging”

More detail about this pilot will be shared in future communications when all the feedback has been gathered. It was a fantastic week brought about by fabulous collaborations.

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OA Insight Guide – Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Case Study

The second Opportunity Area (OA) Insight Guide, focusing on Teacher Recruitment and Retention, and Workforce Development has now published. We are very pleased that our very own Recruitment Incentives Grant project has been featured as a case study.

This case study highlights the positive impact of the project on the area, and includes feedback from schools that have benefited from the support. We hope you will find this guide an interesting and insightful read.

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Opportunity Area Updates

OA Webinar Series – EAL Resources

The OA Webinar Series has recently been updated with four webinars and a handbook focusing on English as an Additional Language (EAL) in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The webinars cover four key topics:

  • New arrivals with little or no English
  • Pupils in the early stages of acquiring English
  • More advanced EAL leaners
  • EAL new arrivals with SEND
We have had lots of feedback from schools saying that EAL is a key priority at this time. We hope these new resources will help your school with the challenges you face.

The OA Webinar Series is free and accessible to all schools across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. For more information, visit the OA website.

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Year 5 Update

Many thanks to the schools and stakeholders who joined us for the recent Year 5 Launch Event meetings. We were pleased to hear feedback from so many of you.

The plan for Year 5 of the OA programme is structured around four main themes:

  • Ready to Learn
  • Early Years
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health
  • Community Support
We received feedback that the plan aligned with schools' priorities for the upcoming year. Schools and stakeholders also suggested additional areas to focus on for the year, including curriculum development, parental engagement and support for teaching assistants. We will be using the feedback received at the launch events to shape our Year 5 plan further.

If you would like further details about our Year 5 plan or to share your comments, please feel free to contact us.

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OA Advocates

The first meeting of the OA Advocates took place earlier this week. This group is made up of local headteachers and early years setting leads who act as advocates for the OA locally.

We are still keen to hear from anyone else who may wish to join this group. If you would like any information about becoming an OA Advocate, or to express your interest, please contact

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Additional Updates

EYFS Online Support Service

From September 2021, all early years providers must follow the new early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework.

The key aims of the reforms are to:

  • improve child outcomes at age 5, particularly in early language and literacy, especially for disadvantaged children
  • reduce workload, such as unnecessary paperwork, so that practitioners can spend more time interacting with the children in their care.

To support the implementation of the revised EYFS, the Department for Education has developed a new online service for private, voluntary and independent early years settings and childminders. This service provides resources, advice and support to help practitioners to understand the requirements for each area of learning and development and what these requirements mean in practice.

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DfE Call for Evidence

The DfE will be consulting on revisions to both its Behaviour and Exclusions guidance later this year. To help inform guidance revisions, the DfE has launched a call for evidence on behaviour management strategies, mobile phones, managed moves, and in-school units.

To submit your views, respond to the call for evidence by 10 August 2021.

We would be grateful if you could disseminate this amongst your networks. This is not likely to be the only opportunity for individuals to provide their views; the DfE intends to invite the sector to provide further evidence during the consultation period in the autumn.

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Tutoring Offer 2021/22

On 2 June 2021, the Department for Education announced the next step in the government's plans to support children and young people make up lost learning as a result of the pandemic.

There are three subsidised tutoring options for 2021/22:

  • School-led Tutoring
  • Tuition Partners
  • Academic Mentors
These tutoring options will be available from Autumn term 2021. For more information on the entire tutoring offer visit the National Tutoring Programme website.

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Heritage Arts Projects

Karin Horowitz has co-created and is organising two Heritage Arts projects for schools, working with musicians/writers and Historic England Heritage Schools. The projects are:

  • When Cambridgeshire/Norfolk + Others Sings – the Young’uns, three times BBC folk award winners, facilitate the children in your school to write a song about the school’s heritage.
  • Just Beneath the Surface – travel writer and musician, Tom Kitching, engages Key Stage 2 children to develop their creative writing skills and appreciate their local history.

There are a small number of grants for these projects available to OA schools. If you are interested and would like more information about either of these projects, please contact

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