Multi-academy Trusts to get £45 million social mobility funding boost


New education secretary Damian Hinds has unveiled a £45 million funding package to help successful multi-academy trusts transform the fortunes of underperforming schools.

It will target those schools in disadvantaged areas and Mr Hinds also revealed plans for former education secretary Justine Greening’s six ‘opportunity areas’.

The move comes in addition to £25 million of funding that will be shared around 75 predominantly school-led projects to aid disadvantaged children via the Strategic School Improvement Fund.

While efforts to improve social mobility, the Government’s scheme will target 12 areas using £72 million of funding, including a new research school to focus on the Ipswich opportunity area.

Other areas of attention include Doncaster, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Hastings and Bradford.

A network of research schools already exists in the opportunity areas, but now Highfield Nursery school is set to become the first early years location to join.

Funding for the school comes via the Government scheme and through an initiative featuring the Institute of Effective Education and the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF has suggested that “low levels of social mobility are becoming entrenched in some areas of the UK” and said that improving outcomes for students in those regions will need a “concerted effort” from all parties.

He welcomed the new plans and has called for them to be put into action quickly so that young people can feel the benefits.

The latest £45 million funding forms part of the Multi-Academy Trust Development and Improvement Fund, and an estimated 300 academy trusts in areas of greatest need across England will share more than £30 million of it.

Mr Hinds said that while standards are improving across the country, efforts can still be made to deliver further progression.

“I want all children to get a truly world-class education that not only inspires them to make the most of their lives but also gives them the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions, no matter where they live,” he added.

“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.”