Essential Life Skills – Round 1 Awards

Six projects were awarded a total of more than £350,000 by the Essential Life Skills Fund to deliver extra-curricular projects and activities for children and young people aged 5 – 18 years old.

There was considerable interest in the first funding round, with 30 applications received, proposing a wide range of varied and exciting projects. Such was the strength of the submissions that many organisations were invited to apply again in round two. The successful projects, submitted by five charities/not-for-profit organisations and one school, will give children and young people in the area the opportunity to be involved in a range of extra-curricular activities from mentoring and custom design projects to sport and the arts

NYMAZ will bring together five very different music projects, from song writing and performing at a festival, to learning an instrument; all engaging young people from lower socio-economic groups or those with additional needs.

Creative Briefs invites local organisations to create a design brief for an issue or opportunity that they have. Creative Briefs work with young people who have special education needs and difficulties to come up with an imaginative solution that is then pitched back to the client at an exhibition.

Northstead Community Primary School will work with local companies to offer learning sessions with links to sport, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that will develop and raise ambitions and broaden the learning experience for children and their families.

North Yorkshire Sport will deliver a 12 week programme of sporting opportunities that will teach young people about the values underpinning sports, provide personal development opportunities and engage the local community.

North Yorkshire Youth will provide Youth Mentors who will work with young people on a one to one and group basis, in and out of school, to meet the needs of young people, provide support, and build and encourage personal development and confidence.

Stephen Joseph Theatre will run an out of school Life Skills Club for young people across nine schools to engage with the performing arts.

Diana Logan, Associate Director (Education) at Stephen Joseph Theatre said ‘It is a fabulous investment for the young people of the borough. We are thrilled to be delivering this project and working with so many young people and their families. It will mean that they are able to have free access to high quality arts activities which will enable them to embrace opportunities and try new skills. This project will allow them to build essential skills for a fulfilling future on the North Yorkshire Coast.’

 Jason Bowers, Creative Briefs, said ‘Working on live design briefs helps young people recognise and rejoice in their successes and learn from the processes involved. We will put these young people in a situation where they can build on their individual strengths, work on live projects, and share their achievements through something which interests them.’

Collaboration is Key

Tuesday 20th March saw the advent of our first Coast Collaboration Conference. The Conference, run in joint partnership between the Opportunity Area programme, North Yorkshire County Council, the Scarborough and Esk Valley Teaching Schools and the Research School, brought together Heads and senior leaders from schools and colleges in the area to inform and discuss the wide variety of professional development opportunities available to them.

Over 50 school leaders attended the event, held at the very scenic Downe Arms Hotel. The meeting involved an overview of the Opportunity Area offer for schools, presentation of a shared calendar and brochure of CPD activity and breakout sessions where schools were invited to discuss one of the individual priorities in the Opportunity Area delivery plan and reflect on the opportunities and challenges that this priority presents.

Following the lively session we asked schools to consider the contribution they would be able to make to continual professional development in the area through their own institution, with very encouraging feedback. Schools also identified challenges in accessing existing CPD provision, including staff capacity and location of training activity, and said they would like to see a wider offer in terms of the content of training and beneficiaries. We will be using the ideas generated, as well as the challenges and gaps identified by schools to inform future ongoing collaborative professional development activity.

The shared calendar of CPD will be updated termly and is available here. There is a brochure alongside this, available here

Giving children more opportunities in life

Sir Martin Narey, Chair of the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area 

I live in Whitby – it is an area I love and choose to call home. For a long time it has saddened me that Whitby, Scarborough and Filey are areas in which young people don’t realise the same opportunities to get on in life as they do in other parts of the country. I believe we can do something about this.

I was born in Middlesbrough in the 1950s. Although no one knew it at the time, I was fortunate to be born into a period of rapid social mobility. My father was a labourer in the Teesside steelworks but I enjoyed opportunities of which he could only dream. I was able to climb the social mobility ladder into more rewarding – and much easier – jobs. Social mobility has since slowed in this country and it’s particularly poor here in this area, as has been highlighted by the Social Mobility Commission.

We know that our children and young people here on the coast are born with no less potential than other children up and down the country. But, for too many, ambition and aspiration does not blossom and they don’t achieve as well as children and young people do elsewhere.

So I was delighted to accept an invitation from Justine Greening, the then Education Secretary, to chair the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area Board – part of the Department for Education’s flagship social mobility programme and which includes 11 other areas in the country.

We have created a programme board drawn from professionals across the area and have drafted a plan that we think will make a difference. This has followed extensive work to look at current performance, identifying where there are particular problems in our area, and then identifying what works in other parts of the country. Our plan, which was published in October 2017, sets out four priorities and details practical things we will improve over the next three years.

It begins with providing great early years education so children are ready for school. This will mean helping nurseries and other providers to improve how they interact with children and to develop strong speech and language skills. We can’t shy away from offering more support to parents and carers too so they can help their children’s early development.

The plan also sets out two further ambitions that have an impact on later life: maths and literacy. Too many of our disadvantaged children and young people are being left behind in these essential subjects. We are establishing a maths centre to train teachers in world-class approaches to maths teaching. We will also launch a literacy campaign across the area in the spring. We expect this campaign to have a significant impact and nurture a love of reading in children, young people and their families.

Our fourth priority is to enable more young people to attend good or outstanding schools. We will support the improvement journeys for schools which need to do better. This will mean that 2,000 more young people are attending a good or better school by the end of the programme. We will promote this area as a great place to live and work for new and experienced teachers.

We have already started this work; the new approach to maths teaching has been launched with primary schools; there is support for early years settings led by an outstanding nursery school in Scarborough; we have engaged a group of committed employers from the area to give young people encounters with the world of work; and we are helping more young people to access National Citizen Service. This year we will be launching a programme to provide free out of school activities for our most disadvantaged children to develop essential life skills of team work, resilience and self-confidence.

I have been asked regularly what success will look like. Many have been shocked when I have talked about some young people venturing away from the coast in my answer – whether that is in pursuit of work, university education or travel. We can’t pretend that our area will deliver opportunities for everyone and meet all ambitions –neither can Leeds, Manchester or London. But what we can do, and will do, is equip our young people with a brilliant education that means they can achieve their dreams in life, wherever that may take them.

Follow our journey @coastOA.