The SSIF, Where Funds Have Been Awarded and Why

Posted on 13th March 2018

The £280m Strategic School Improvement Fund (£140m per year) is a grant to support a wide range of UK schools. It is expected to further build the school-led system and targets resources at the schools most in need. These establishments require increases in school performance, support for teacher development and improvements in pupil attainment. The SSIF can be used to support a range of areas for improvement, including leadership, governance, teaching methods or even financial health.

So where have funds been awarded so far – and what projects have been funded?

In September 2017 the recipients of the first round of funding were announced, with 56 learning projects sharing grants totalling £20m. These included schemes to improve progress in reading, literacy and numeracy, modern foreign languages and science. For example:

One project, led by Swavesey Village College, will initially appear in 23 schools across Cambridgeshire and will support students from disadvantaged backgrounds to make greater progress in modern foreign languages and science.

The Hackney Learning Trust is another beneficiary, and will work with 21 primary schools across London, Suffolk and East Sussex to introduce and embed new approaches to boost reading skills.

Essex County Council has received £500,000 to improve boys’ English results, using a collaborative scheme comprising teaching school alliances in Essex.

14 primary schools in Norfolk and Suffolk have been given almost £1m to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils involving inspiring a love of maths in girls and tackling low reading attainment in deprived areas.

140 schools in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire are set to receive a share of £1.8m in funding, to help boost literacy and numeracy.

75 school-led initiatives across the country will share £25m to help more children from disadvantaged backgrounds, including support to help master the basics of reading in primary school.

Furthermore, the West Midlands is a great example of how the above successes were achieved. The West Midlands has a well-developed sub-regional structure to support and co-ordinate the work of its teaching schools.  SSIF Round One demonstrated how effectively this structure works, since 8 collaborative bids – produced by teaching schools working together in this sub-regional structure – were awarded, which as a percentage of successful bids, was the highest of any region in the country.  Approximately £8m was given to fund a range of projects aimed at supporting improvements in Early Years reading, writing, language acquisition, maths, the progress of disadvantaged pupils and closing the gap in transition. 

Having seen the benefits of collaboration, local authorities and teaching schools started to identify and plan their bids for both Rounds Two and Three.  This resulted in 4 bids being awarded in Round Two, some of which were around £1m.  Currently intense collaboration is occurring with respect to bids for Round Three, with approximately 20 bids being prepared. If successful, this should see millions of pounds coming into the West Midlands to support schools and, most importantly, result in hundreds and possibly thousands of children having improved learning outcomes.

Clearly, and as desired by the government, fund applicants are aiming to make a difference in the lives of those children who traditionally struggle. Supporting these pupils primarily with key skills in literacy and maths will make a huge improvement in their overall education and prospects for the future.

The West Midlands School Leaders Conference will take place on Friday 18th May and will equip leaders to get to grips with the SSIF. Over 250 delegates are expected to attend including senior staff from hundreds of schools. Join us to hear about the burning issues in schools now, meet other innovative and inspirational leaders, work through real-life examples and leave with a toolkit to use when you return to your own school.

#WMSchoolLed18 #schools #teachingschools #specialschools #schoolleaders #governors #education #conference #SSIF

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