What 2018 will bring for Whitby youngsters

What 2018 will bring for the area's youngsters.
What 2018 will bring for the area's youngsters.

The North Yorkshire Coast has been given a share of £72million in a bid to help children get the best start in life – no matter what their background is.

The region was selected as one of 12 opportunity areas which have barriers to social mobility.

A report released last month ranked our coast at 295th out of 324 areas surveyed for social mobility.

It suggests that young people growing up in these areas have less chance of achieving good outcomes and often end up trapped by a lack of access to further education and employment opportunities.

In 2016, 400 children did not achieve a good level of development across early years goals. While at the end of year 1 just over a quarter of children do not reach the expected standards in phonics.

Older pupils have also fallen below compared to national figures.

At the end of key stage 4 (year 11) disadvantaged pupils in the area attained 9% lower in maths than disadvantaged pupils nationally as well as overall achievement being below national averages.

The North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area programme was set up to tackle these issues head on.

Richard Benstead, of the Opportunity Area programme, said:“I think that over the next 12 months we will see the programme invest in more proven approaches that will champion social mobility in the area.

“This will result in more opportunities for children, young people and their families to develop essential life skills and try out new activities.

“This programme has to be meaningful to people and it will do that in 2018 if we can clearly show that it is making a difference.”

About the programme, he said: “It will focus on ensuring all children can access high-quality education at every stage. It will focus also on opportunities outside of school that will raise sights and broaden horizons for young people.”

The delivery plan looks at high quality, early years education, engagement with literacy to unlock future opportunities, improving outcomes in maths at all ages and creating more good places in secondary schools.

The plan has been developed by a board, chaired by Sir Martin Narey, and consists of individuals from schools, businesses and the public and voluntary sectors.

So far they have launched training in maths teaching at primary school level and £115k has been invested in secondary schools by the Careers Enterprise Company.

Mr Benstead said: “This is being used to make sure that all young people leave work having had at least four encounters with the world of work.”

A Research School has also been created. This will be delivered by the Esk Valley Teaching School Alliance and will support schools to use evidence to improve teaching and outcomes. Mr Benstead said some of the main focuses the programme has going into early 2017 include organising high profile and high impact events that engage children, families and communities to develop literacy skills.

They also want to improve the resilience of pupils through support in schools and are looking at launching funding that schools and youth-led groups can access to run their own projects to boost social mobility.