Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area

Newsletter 25 February 2019

Message from our Chair

This month we are pleased to share with you the good news that some of our successful projects are being extended to more schools within the Opportunity Area. We are also making available a phonics resource grant for primary schools. Further details are included in this newsletter.

A date for your diary is 11 March, when we invite you to attend an Opportunity Area conference entitled ‘Overcoming Barriers and Raising Aspirations’. The conference will include keynote speeches on curriculum planning and perspectives from Ofsted in relation to the challenges of narrowing the gap between the achievement and aspirations of pupils. A series of workshops will provide opportunities for everyone to continue the discussion. We hope to see many of you there.

Please feel free to get in touch with the team about any aspects of the programme on

With best wishes,

Tricia Pritchard


In this newsletter:



OA Curriculum and Ofsted Conference: overcoming barriers and raising aspirations

Places at the OA Curriculum and Ofsted Conference, taking place on Wednesday 11 March at the College of West Anglia, Wisbech, are now available to book here. With the event date fast approaching, please register by Wednesday 4 March.

The conference will be open to headteachers, curriculum leads and governors from all schools within Fenland and East Cambridgeshire and will focus on curriculum planning (how to start thinking about developing or enhancing your existing whole-school curriculum, and practical advice on how to implement and embed it within school) and
Ofsted (what should you be considering pre-visit and what next steps you can take post-visit). Delegates will also have the opportunity to attend two workshops from a choice of three.

Confirmed keynote speakers include Nigel Battey, School Improvement Adviser, and Alex Bedford, Trust Primary Adviser.

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Phonics Resources Grant

We are pleased to announce that we will be making available a Phonics Resources Grant for primary schools in the Opportunity Area. The aim of this grant is for all primary schools in the area to have an effective phonics teaching programme in place to support children in learning to read.

We are offering a grant of up to £3,000 per school to enable you to purchase a phonics teaching programme from the DfE’s list of approved phonics schemes. More details, including conditions of the grant, can be found in the application form.

To apply for this grant, please complete the application form linked above and return to
by 17:00 on Tuesday 31 March 2020.

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Recruitment Incentives Grant Extension

The Opportunity Area’s Recruitment Incentives Grant has already been used by schools in the area to support the recruitment of over 50 new members of staff. To continue this recruitment support we are reopening the grant and invite you to apply for up to £5,000 funding for recruitment incentives for your school or Early Years setting. 

The grant can be spent on a range of incentives advertised in your job adverts to encourage teachers and Early Years practitioners to apply for your vacant posts. The incentives include:
  • CPD (including Masters courses)
  • Learning visits to other schools (including in other parts of Europe)
  • Driving lessons
  • Childcare vouchers
  • Cover for personal days
  • A rental deposit
If you would like more information or to request this grant, please contact If your school has already benefited from this grant and would like further support for your ongoing recruitment you may be eligible for additional funding so please do not hesitate to contact us. Please note the deadline for notification of intent to claim the grant is 30 May 2020 and schools will have until the end of June 2020 to claim the funding.

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STEPs Parents Guide

Many schools have already received training in the STEPs approach, which is a therapeutic, understanding approach to behaviour. To help spread the messages of this approach with parents at your school please feel free to share this STEPs Parents Guide.

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YMCA Mental Health Training

We have partnered with YMCA Trinity Group to offer a range of funded mental health training for schools and early years settings. Even if you have already taken part in this training, you can apply for courses you have yet to access. More details about each of the courses on offer can be found in this application form.

Places are available on a first come first served basis, with a final deadline for applications on 30 May 2020, so don’t miss out!

To apply for funding, please complete the application form linked above and return to
as soon as possible. You will then be sent a booking form to secure your course.

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The Ambassadors of Reading Conference #arc 

November 2019 saw not only fireworks but also a fantastic gathering of authors and Reading Ambassadors, all committed to exploring their love of reading.

Funded by the SSIF and sponsored by companies such as Brooke Weston Trust, Twinkl and Pandora Books, an amazing reading conference was organised by the Wisbech Schools Partnership and held at the Secret Garden Caravan Touring Park in Wisbech. The event comprised a series of workshops led by real children’s authors and attended by Year 3 and 4 children from 14 primary schools from Wisbech and the surrounding area.

The authors included Amanda Peddle, Caryl Hart, James Nicol, Isabel Thomas, Joshua Seigal, Tony Higginson and Justin Miles. The children chosen to be Reading Ambassadors had already participated in a Festival of Reading in September, during which they completed challenges using their reading skills.

For more information, please contact Amy Harvey:

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Student Collaboration on a Year 12 Resilience Day  

At the end of January, 25 Year 12 students from Thomas Clarkson Academy, Neale Wade Academy and Cromwell Community College came together to take part in a resilience programme. The one-day programme was kindly delivered by a national charity, the Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP) and supported by two of our cornerstone employers, Morgan Sindall Construction and Anglian Water.

Students participated in modules covering: resilience (what it is and why we need it); self-awareness and response to pressure; goal setting; teamwork and the importance of supportive relationships; managing emotions productively; and beliefs and changeable habits of mind.

Feedback from the students was very positive and amongst some of the comments were:
"This has helped me to goal set properly”
"I can identify my future goals and how I can achieve them”
"I have learnt how to deal with stress and how to look after myself to achieve more"

It was a great opportunity to bring the schools together to participate in such a worthwhile event and hope we may be able to build on this in the future.

you to the team at SMBP, London, Marcia Davis at Anglian Water & Helen Clements at Morgan Sindall Construction for making the day a success.

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