Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area

Newsletter 27 November 2020

Message from our Chair

This month we are pleased to share our new Early Years Offer and OA webinar series, and remind you of offers that will shortly be coming to a close. Year 4 of the Opportunity Area (OA) programme continues at pace and the team has thought carefully about how to support you best as you navigate the 'new normal'. I am very grateful to those of you who joined us for the recent virtual heads meetings. It is very helpful to hear your feedback and we have enjoyed seeing you together again, even if just on a computer screen.

I want to thank you again for all your hard work in supporting pupils, colleagues and families during this difficult time. The Partnership Board recognises the tremendous efforts you are making to support the children and young people throughout Fenland and East Cambridgeshire. We are awaiting the outcome of the government's Spending Review. In the meantime we are focusing firmly on continuing to build networks, sharing good practice and deploying resources to raise attainment and improve the life chances of all pupils within the Opportunity Area.

The Social Mobility Commission has recently published a report, which makes very interesting reading: The long shadow of deprivation: Differences in opportunities across England. A key message from the study is ‘where you grow up matters.' Do read it as it raises some important questions.

Please continue to visit the OA website for the latest information on our offers. The OA team can also be contacted on with any queries you may have.

With best wishes,

Tricia Pritchard


In this newsletter:

New Opportunity Area Offers

Early Years Offer

Pirjo Mudd is the new OA Early Years Lead, working 3 days per week for the OA programme, alongside her work in the Cambridgeshire County Council Early Years Service. This year, we are launching an exciting new early years-focused programme of work, consisting of:
  • A targeted offer for 20 targeted early years providers
    • A bespoke offer unique to each participating provider
    • Designed in response to trends and issues in the targeted areas
    • Taking place in the spring and summer terms, 2021
  • A universal offer for all early years providers in the OA
    • Designed to respond flexibly to the needs of all providers
    • Designed in response to feedback from early years staff working across the OA
    • Set in the context of the priorities for Covid-19 recovery
There will be a mixture of training, cluster meetings, coaching and mentoring of individual providers. Support for providers will cover topics including:
  • Practice and pedagogy
  • Communication and language
  • Parental engagement and home learning
  • Business and governance support, including finance
All early years providers, including childminders, in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire are invited to attend the virtual launch of the Early Years Offer on Tuesday 1 December. This session will provide more details about the programme so you can consider if you would like to engage in any of the activities.

The launch will take place via Zoom and will run twice:
  • 14:00 - 15:00
  • 19:00 - 20:00
If you are interested in attending this event, please email, indicating which timeslot you would prefer.

Return to Contents

School Improvement Universal Offer Grants (for Primary Schools) 

Thank you to all the secondary and special schools that have submitted forms for the School Improvement Universal Offer Grant. The deadline for these has now passed and we will be in touch regarding next steps.
As discussed in the Primary Heads meeting this week, we have now launched the School Improvement Universal Offer Grant for primary schools. We want this offer to be as supportive as possible for all schools across the OA, so aim to tailor support to individual school needs. Each school is able to apply for up to £5,000 funding through the grant.
To apply, please complete the Primary School Universal Offer Grant request form. Please then return you completed form to and by Friday 4 December.
We have set out some suggested areas you might want to fund but please feel free to add any other suggestions you have.
We will review your application in a panel meeting and aim to inform you of the decision by the end of the autumn term. Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee anything at this stage but will consider each application carefully. Once confirmed, we will send out a grant agreement letter to confirm the total amount awarded. This letter will include conditions of the grant, one of which is to complete and return a short report by 30 June 2021 to share the impact of this funding.

Return to Contents

OA Webinar Series

We are pleased to announce the launch of the OA Webinar Series, hosted on the KnowledgeHub platform.

To access the series, you will need a KnowledgeHub account:

  • Go to
  • Complete your details and verify your account - you will be sent an email to verify
  • Sign in and accept the site terms
The OA Webinar Series is accessible to all schools across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and will release new content over time. Some content is available immediately, a proportion will be released in December and other sections will be posted from January 2021. An announcement will be sent to all group members as and when new content arrives and it will be included in this newsletter. The OA Webinar Series has been set up as an ongoing and sustainable central hosting site for information and CPD for schools across the county, to be continued after the OA programme ends. Topics covered could include:
  • Subject-specific training, e.g. English, maths, history, music, PE
  • Leadership
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • NQT/RQT support
  • Gaps in learning
  • Governance
There will be a mix of pre-recorded videos and live sessions listed in the ‘Library’ section.

For more information, please contact the OA team on

Return to Contents

Ongoing Opportunity Area Offers

Recruitment Incentives Grant - Deadline Extended

We have streamlined the process for applying for the Recruitment Incentives Grant and extended the deadline to apply until the new year. The grant is for up to £5,000 per school/EY setting to fund recruitment incentives for recruits from outside the Opportunity Area. Incentives could include:

  • CPD
  • Learning visits
  • Driving lessons
  • Childcare vouchers
  • Cover for personal days
  • Moving costs

The process to apply is as follows:

  1. Email with the details below (deadline Wednesday 6 January 2021):
    • The type of vacancy/vacancies you have (e.g. class teacher, Level 4 EY practitioner)
    • The incentive(s) you would like to offer to the recruit(s)
    • How much funding you would like to claim
  2. The OA team will confirm whether your proposed request is approved
  3. Advertise your vacancy/vacancies, mentioning the incentive(s) available for candidates external to the OA
  4. Once you have recruited, complete the application form and submit this to by Wednesday 24 February 2021

The application form, including full conditions of the grant, is available to download from the Recruitment Incentives Grant webpage.

Please note, funding is available on a first come first served basis so applications may close earlier than the deadline above if demand is high.

Return to Contents

SEND Reviews (Inclusion Offer)

For those schools who are yet to submit their second SEND Review please be mindful that the deadline for submission is 30 November 2020.

If you would like any support to complete you SEND Review then please contact The team can then set up a virtual meeting or call with a SEND Reviewer for you. Please also see the SEND Review Key Information document for more details.


Return to Contents

Outreach Support Workers

The OA Outreach Support Workers are available to support you with your whole school social, emotional and mental health (SEMH), STEPs or Nurture approach.

Please contact to arrange a call or virtual meeting with a member of the team.


Return to Contents
If there is anybody who you think would like to receive this email, please feel free to forward it on. Email to be added to the distribution list.
View this email in your browser
Copyright © 2020 Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp