The Department for Education has today agreed to a further year’s funding of £1.25m for the Hastings Opportunity Area, for schools and community providers across Hastings to deliver a range of programmes to support children and young people’s return to school and to deliver enhanced literacy, maths, mental health and enrichment programmes.

Ministers agreed to the high level plan for the programme, that has been developed in conjunction with schools and other providers working with children and young people across Hastings. The plan reflects learning from what has worked well alongside recommendations for priority areas, in response to Covid-19. 

It includes:

·       Support for early years providers, schools and the college to deliver programmes of ‘recovery’ learning and support for those children and young people who have missed out on learning since March. This will include funding for programmes of additional literacy and maths in school; one to one tutoring; and programmes to support children’s emotional well-being and readiness to learn.

·       A literacy fund that schools can bid into, to implement and further embed programmes to improve literacy and speech and language development.

·       Further support to implement Maths Mastery approaches to teaching maths and fully embedding this across all schools in Hastings.

·       Funding for emotional well-being key workers to be located in schools across Hastings.

·       A programme of work to support children and young people to engage in enrichment and after school activities, particularly within Hastings’ more deprived communities.

·       Targeted support for those children and young people most at risk of not attending school or of being excluded, with a particular focus on Hastings’ secondary schools.

An important part of the programme will be to ensure that learning from the projects is shared with schools and community providers, not just in Hastings but in other areas where there are significant challenges. 

Richard Meddings, Chair of the HOA Board, said “I am delighted that the Department for Education has agreed to an additional one year’s funding for the Hastings Opportunity Area. The Opportunity Area has over the last two years been able to develop really productive relationships with schools and community providers across Hastings. It has funded and supported a range of exciting projects that have resulted in improvements in children’s attainment in literacy and maths and improvements in their mental health. The impact of Covid has been very challenging for schools, families and for children and young people. We hope that this additional funding will provide schools and community groups with some additional capacity and support to enable children and young people to re-engage with school and to offer focused interventions for those children and young people who need this; whether in literacy, maths or to support their mental health.”

Meddings continues, “Over the coming months, we will be working closely with early years settings, schools and the college, to publicise funding programmes and to ensure that work can get underway to deliver the expert additional input and support that so many of our children and young people will benefit from. We are delighted that we have this opportunity to further support schools and look forward to working with organisations across Hastings, over the Summer and into the Autumn to take this forward.”

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