The Derby Opportunity Area

The Derby Opportunity Area is now in its second year and we are seeing a lot of positive impact across our region. For lastest updates, see below or scroll further down to find out more about what the OA is and the scope of its work.


Current Updates for Schools

The primary Strategy and Secondary Strategy Groups for the Opportunity meet and provide updates for schools on a regular basis. Medium Term Plans from January can be found here – PSG and SSG medium term plans Jan 2018.docx

January Update for Schools – PSG and SSG Update Jan 2018

April Update for Schools – PSG SSG Update April 2018

September Update for Schools – PSG SSG Update Sept 2018

Second September Update for Schools – PSG Update B Sept Oct 2018

October Update for Schools – PSG SSG Update Oct 2018

To find out further please email


The Derby Opportunity Area

What is an Opportunity Area?

The Opportunity Area programme is a key part of the Education Secretary’s priority of tackling social mobility and improving opportunities for young people across the country. These 12 areas, identified as social mobility ‘coldspots’ – areas with both poor social mobility and schools that face challenges – will receive a share of £72 million to boost opportunities for young people in these communities. The areas were named in October 2016 and work has been underway ever since. This is part of a wider government agenda to tackle social mobility as a part of the ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’ vision.


How will the Opportunity Areas work?

Action Plans for each of the Opportunity Areas have been launched following a year of collaboration between local educators, employers and voluntary and community organisations to set out the key areas for improvement.

Local independent partnership boards – made up of school leaders, business owners, council leaders and other local partners – work to boost attainment from the early years of a child’s education right through to university. Other initiatives include projects to raise aspirations, by providing all young people in Opportunity Areas with at least four inspiring ‘encounters’ with the world of work, for example through work experience or mentoring.

Education Secretary, Justine Greening, said: ‘For too long, young people in these areas have been at a disadvantage because of where they are growing up. I want young people living in these areas to have access to a world-class education, that’s why we are setting out our ambition in these first six opportunity areas. As we prepare for Brexit, it is vital that we raise the horizons of young people and give them the opportunity to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.’


What’s going on in the Derby Opportunity Area?

The work of the Opportunity Areas is listed here with local delivery action plans coordinating action around the central themes. The Derby delivery plan is focused around these three core aims:

Priority 1: Increase the number of children achieving a good level of development in the early years.
Priority 2: Raise attainment in our primary and secondary schools.
Priority 3: Ensure that all our children benefit from a broad range of experiences throughout their school lives.

‘Evidence suggests that real change in these areas will equip all our children to have the opportunity to go where they want to in life, influence their personal success, and with this success, to help our city to grow and thrive. We know that this won’t be easy, and that some of the issues we face are complex and long standing, but we simply cannot afford to fail. This plan sets out where we will focus our efforts in the coming months: the areas the partnership board has identified as critical to young people in Derby achieving their potential. Our chosen activities will develop and grow over the three year programme, but will always be shaped by our vision and priorities.’
Professor Kathryn Mitchell Chair of Derby Opportunity Area partnership board

Who is on the Opportunity Area Partnership Board?

Professor Kathryn Mitchell – Chair

Professor Kathryn Mitchell became Vice Chancellor at the University of Derby in 2015 and before that she held a number of senior positions at the University of West London, including Deputy Vice Chancellor. Kathryn has spent much of her career in the Higher Education sector, as a Wellcome Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, London and has worked at the University of Chicago, the Rockefeller Institute, New York and the Friedrich
Meischer Institute, Basel. She is a chartered psychologist and continues to play an active role within research, currently working with colleagues across the Psychology and Health teams at the University and in collaboration with University of Nottingham.

Partnership Board Members

• Andy Smith: Strategic Director of People, Derby City Council

• Jane Calladine: Executive Head, Parkview and Redwood Primaries

• Katrina Woodward: Local Enterprise Partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

• Kevin Gaiderman: Head, Chellaston Academy

• Kim Harper: Community Action

• Mandie Stravino: Chief Executive, Derby College

• Natalie Cramp: Chief Operating Officer, Careers and Enterprise Company

• Nicola Swaney: Education Manager, Rolls-Royce

• Pam Hallam: Children and Young People People Network

• Richard Blackmore: Regional Director East Midlands, Confederation of British Industry

• Sue Bradley: Head, Kingsmead School

• Wendy Colebourne: Head, Harrington Nursery


How can I get in touch?

For school specific enquiries, please contact