Government invest over £1.1 million to fund Hastings Opportunity Area for a further year

May 19, 2021

Today, Hastings Opportunity Area, funded by the Department of Education, are delighted to announce that the government has committed over £1.1 million to fund a  further fifth year of the programme. 

For the fifth year of the programme, Hastings Opportunity Area has received a funding allocation of £920,000 to continue to address social mobility issue for children attending Hastings schools, and a further £210,000 to support children and schools in Rother and other parts of East Sussex where there are high levels of disadvantage.

The funding will enable the HOA to continue to build on the successes of the programme to date, and focus specially on those areas requiring further support. This will include: 

  • Secondary school improvement – working closely with the Multi-Academy Trusts and secondary schools on the periphery of Hastings, to continue to drive forward improvements across secondary schools and close the achievement gap particularly for the most disadvantaged pupils;
  • Transitions – providing funding to ensure that the significant improvements that have been made across Hastings primary schools are maintained when children transfer to secondary schools, by improving the quality of information shared between primary and secondary schools and improving the quality of the curriculum between years 5-8;
  • Continuing to focus on improvements in literacy and maths;
  • Continuing to fund the emotional well-being key work service so that it can support children’s mental health and emotional well-being in 11 schools in Hastings that have the highest level of need;
  • Twinning with other areas in East Sussex, to maximise impact and promote the long term sustainability of the programme.  

Richard Meddings, Chair of Hastings Opportunity Area Board, said:

“There is no doubt that education is the foundation upon which children’s futures are determined, so it is with great pleasure that we are able to continue the transformational work that has been achieved by the Hastings Opportunity Area over the past 4 years. 

Moving into year 5, we will be working closely with our secondary schools to continue to drive improvements, alongside supporting those moving from primary to secondary school, a transition which can be particularly challenging. The new funding will extend both the breadth and depth of the work done to date, in particular, enhancing prospects for our most disadvantaged children”.

Lorraine Clarke, Regional Director, ARK Trust, said:

‘We are delighted that the HOA has received funding for a further year. This will enable schools in Hastings to really embed those programmes that the HOA has funded over the last 3 years and which are having such a positive impact on improving outcomes for children and young people in Hastings.  The majority of our schools, have been able to continue to engage with the learning and support that the HOA has provided, alongside the additional support that has enabled our children to continue to access enrichment activities and to re-engage with learning.  We are really excited that this additional funding will enable us to ensure that this work is sustained, and that we can continue to ensure that children who require additional support with their learning, particularly as a result of Covid, are able to access this.’

Dr John Smith, Chief Executive of the University of Brighton Academies Trust, said:

“The continued funding of the HOA into a 5th year is a tremendous opportunity to build on the exemplary work in the first 4 years, in particular the significant improvements we’ve seen in Maths and literacy and the vital recovery funding in response to the Covid19 lockdowns. The potential to further strengthen this work in year 5 is crucial to the success of Hastings schools and the attainment of their pupils”. 

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