William Eichler 19 January 2018

Government announces £45m for ‘successful’ academies

The education secretary today announced £45m would be invested in ‘successful’ multi-academy trusts in a bid to drive up education standards in underperforming schools.

The funding, part of the Multi-Academy Trust Development and Improvement Fund (MDIF) announced last October, will go to more than 400 multi-academy trusts (MATs) with a proven track record.

The aim is to help them drive further improvements and raise standards in deprived areas.

‘Standards are rising in schools across the country but there is more to do to make sure that every child benefits from the progress we’ve already made thanks to an incredibly talented generation of teachers,’ said the education secretary Damian Hinds.

‘By supporting good and outstanding schools to help others improve, and focusing on disadvantaged areas where our young people need extra help, we can continue to make a difference to people’s everyday lives and build a Britain that’s fit for the future.’

The education eecretary also announced 75 school-led initiatives will share £25m to help them support the teaching of basic skills in schools. This is part of the Strategic School Improvement Fund (SSIF).

Mr Hinds, who replaced Justine Greening in the recent cabinet reshuffle, also announced the next six Opportunity Areas. These are Bradford, Doncaster, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich and Stoke-on-Trent.

The focus on Opportunity Areas was an initiative first brought forward by Ms Greening in 2016. It aims at supporting areas identified as ‘social mobility coldspots’ with extra funding.

Responding to the announcement, Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation and Evidence Champion for the Opportunity Areas, said: ‘We know that your chance of getting on in life is strongly linked to where you grew up and that low levels of social mobility are becoming entrenched in some parts of the UK.

‘Improving outcomes for young people in these ‘coldspots’ needs a concerted effort from local partners, schools and other organisations across every stage of a young person’s life.

‘So it is welcome to see this evident in today’s six plans. The need now is to move swiftly from planning to action so that children and young people experience the benefit of this investment.’

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