Funding to boost social mobility through education in Bradford

Bradford's school's chief is urging schools and colleges to apply for a share of a multi-million pound funding pot which will 'help pupils to develop skills and qualities which will help them in later life'.


The £5m Essential Life Skills grant is aimed at helping every school in the district to run new extra curricular activities.

The support has been made available after Bradford was selected as an ‘opportunity area’ by the Government to boost social mobility through education.

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Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s executive member for education, employment and skills, said: “I urge all of our schools to make the most of this programme. The Essential Life Skills funding provides us with a great chance to create new opportunities for our young people.

“We all want to ensure Bradford pupils achieve as much as they can in education but we also want to support them as they grow up to become confident, well rounded and responsible young people who are able to fulfil their potential in the world of work and contribute to society.

“This funding will help pupils to develop skills and qualities which will help them in later life.”

The funding is aimed at activities for pupils aged five to 18 which can help them develop life skills such as resilience, team working, communication and respect. Participating schools must be delivering new or significantly extended activities, prioritising opportunities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Evidence shows that these skills can be developed through activities such as arts, sports, volunteering, young enterprise and social action projects.

Schools are now being encouraged to apply for a share of the funding for activities from now until August 2019. They can choose to host their own or use funding to host programmes run by other organisations.

The Essential Life Skills Fund will build on the work carried out by the Bradford Pathways Framework, which aims to help develop the essential skills and employability of young people in Bradford’s schools. Bradford Pathways, led by Bradford Council, offers support to schools on developing a careers framework into the school’s curriculum.

The Essential Life Skills Fund will help to support the Pathway Essentials - which focus on allowing students to become critical thinkers, effective communicators, problem solvers and innovators – helping them prepare for life and the world of work.

The opportunity area programme was launched by the former education secretary Justine Greening in 2016 as a way of boosting “social mobility cold spots”. In total there are 12 opportunity areas, including the North Yorkshire coast, Bradford, and Doncaster. Bradford will receive more than £11m in government funding to raise the area’s education standards, under the plans.

The work will focus on four priority areas: strengthening school leadership and the quality of teaching, improving literacy in primary schools, broadening aspirations and support young people in to rewarding careers and using “evidence-based research to remove barriers to learning”.

Plans include investing in literacy projects, careers education and advice and additional support for vulnerable young people. Teachers and school leaders will also get a boost in career development training.