The Education Secretary has announced that 55 local authority areas in England will be made Education Investment Areas, as part of the government’s Levelling Up agenda.
The Department for Education defines the new EIAs as: “55 cold spots of the country where school outcomes are the weakest, to target investment, support and action that help children from all backgrounds and areas to succeed at the very highest levels. These include Rochdale, the Isle of Wight, Walsall, parts of Yorkshire and Sunderland.”
Aspects of this scheme include:
- Prioritisation for new specialist sixth-form free schools where there is limited provision to tackle inequality and educational disadvantage
- Moving schools that have been judged less than Good in successive Ofsted inspections into MATS (subject to consultation)
- Increased payments to retain teaching staff in priority subject areas.
Dr Antony Mullen, Research Associate in the Research Institute for Social Mobility and Education, said:
“The proposed Education Investment Areas are a step in the right direction to tackle educational disadvantage and to ‘level up’ the school system
“Research by the Centre for Cities has demonstrated that the secondary educational attainment gap widens in the ‘Red Wall’, and that a higher percentage of pupils in ‘Red Wall’ areas are in schools deemed inadequate or in need of improvement than the English average.
“It is right, therefore, that the Secretary of State has focused on areas such as these to address that gap.
“We look forward to learning more about the interventions in these 55 areas as the policy develops.”