Supporting evaluation and use of evidence in Oldham

The Opportunity Area have today announced the successful Oldham Insight School, alongside the announcement from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) of a new Associate Research School. This shows Oldham’s investment and commitment to using evidence and evaluation to inform practice. The two organisations will work together and with the wider Opportunity Area programme. They will help to improve social mobility in Oldham and make the best use of our local resources.

For more information on who and what they are, and the differences between them:

Oldham Sixth Form College Associate Research School
Following a national selection process across the Research School Network, the EEF announced extra funding for a new Associate Research School at Oldham Sixth Form College. This builds on the work that Oldham Research School have done over the last two years to develop capacity around the use of evidence within Oldham. It also recognises the commitment to evidence-informed practice, capacity and capability of Oldham Sixth Form College, as a Teaching School, MAT and regional science centre.

The Associate Research School brings an injection of expertise to help the Research School work with and support more schools and teachers in Oldham. This will be through professional learning programmes and events to use evidence and develop their teaching and learning.

The Oldham Sixth Form College Associate Research School is working with the Oldham Research School at Greetland Academy. The Research Lead for the Associate Research School will be: Louise Astbury

Oldham Insight School
The Oldham Insight School aims to provide Oldham’s school leaders and teachers with practical findings from some of the Opportunity Area projects. The Insight School will involve teachers and schools with the evaluation of Opportunity Area projects. They will share findings, reports and case studies to support the understanding of the impact of the work and help drive improvements.

The Insight School is a collaboration between three of Oldham’s Teaching Schools. Each has committed a senior member of staff to work for the Insight School:

  • Harmony Trust Teaching School Alliance (Mel Eccles)
  • Oasis Innovation Teaching School Alliance (Robert Caudwell)
  • St Chad’s Teaching School Alliance (Jo Appleyard

Dr Claire Forbes from the University of Manchester joins them in September 2019 as the school’s Researcher in Residence.

One research project is already underway, with the official launch of the Insight School in September 2019.

More information about the Insight School will be out in August. Follow us on Twitter (@OldhamOA) for the latest news.

Event: Maths Mastery readiness and training

26 June 2019 from 9am-12pm at Earl Mill, Dowry Street, Oldham, OL8 2PF.

This summer, Northern Alliance Teaching School are hosting a free maths mastery training event in partnership with the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) and Maths Hubs.  The event is for primary teachers and head teachers.  Come along to find out more about what the training involves:

  • An introduction to mastery
  • How to prepare a school to be ready to implement teaching for mastery
  • Initial steps in leadership and in classroom teaching
  • Strategies to overcome potential barrier
  • This is also an excellent opportunity to network with other schools who are developing mastery readiness.

To book, please contact Mireille Mawdsley, (, 0161 785 5062)

We look forward to seeing you there!

Oldham Opportunity Areas Team

Visit the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics website for more information on Maths Mastery

Event: Oldham aspirant school leaders

The White Hart, Lydgate, Oldham, OL4 4JJ, Wednesday 12 June 2019

Despite continuing challenges and levels of accountability, school leadership remains a vibrant, life fulfilling role. Areas like Oldham need even more great leaders, and secondary, primary and special schools in Oldham are working closely with each other
to promote a greater sense of ambition and optimism amongst the workforce and make leadership of learning in Oldham schools sustainable in the long term.

As part of this strategy there is a twilight event on Wednesday 12th June at The White Hart in Lydgate. The event will be attended by aspirant leaders along with head teacher colleagues (ideally each leader will bring their HT) where delegates will hear from existing heads and sign up to be part of an Aspirant Leader data base. This will lead to Aspirant Leaders having opportunities for leadership coaching and being the first to hear of relevant job opportunities that may be available locally.

It should be stressed that such opportunities (promotions, secondments, job swaps etc.) will only be realised with the agreement of all parties. This work is intended to encourage leadership development for colleagues who volunteer to take part. Colleagues will need to be proactive in pursuing opportunities, this initiative is funded by the Opportunity Area and enables us to create a space in which we can encourage aspiration and opportunity

List Teaching Vacancies for free on new DfE teacher recruitment website

The Department for Education has recently launched the Teaching Vacancies website. This is a free teaching vacancy listing service for schools, and is intended to tackle the significant costs that schools face when recruiting and advertising for staff. Instead of paying for adverts, schools can list available jobs on the site for free.

The service is available here: List a teaching job at your school

The site is being rolled out in geographical phases and is due to be rolled out in Oldham in the week commencing January 14th. We want to make sure that schools in Oldham are all able to access the system as soon as it goes live.

In that week, every school will be sent a registration email centrally from the DfE team. You can sign up using that email, when it arrives.

There will be an advertising campaign for Teaching Vacancies starting shortly, aiming to raise the profile of the service and to make it the first calling point for teachers looking for a new teaching role.

The Oldham Opportunity Area Team

Meeting the people making lasting change in Oldham

Since 2016, Oldham has received additional Government funding as an ‘opportunity area’, to help improve the life chances of its children, young people and their families. Activity is happening all over Oldham, so when the Opportunity Area (OA) Partnership Board met recently, we were delighted to meet some of the people who have benefited from that work.


Two young people in front of a powerpoint presentationWe met Meghan and Sharif, two of Oldham’s Young Ambassadors. They represent a group ranging in age from 11 to 18 who have worked together to help shape the priorities for investment in Oldham. Their hopes for the future are at the forefront of their minds; they spoke eloquently about feeling positive when they see the redevelopment and changes in the town centre. But they also feel that these chances aren’t open to everyone, because of their personal circumstances.  They provided a passionate reminder of why supporting children and young people to do well at school, and get decent jobs with good prospects really matters to the people of Oldham.

We also met with three parents who told us about how the youngest children in Oldham are being supported in new ways, which I hope will make an impact for years to come.  They have taken part in Making it REAL, a project in schools which gives parents confidence to improve their children’s reading and writing. I was struck by how those parents not only saw the difference in their children, but also felt a difference in their own abilities and confidence, which brings a positive knock-on effect for older siblings too.

Three parents from the Making it REAL programme

The OA Partnership Board were interested to hear suggestions from both the parent and Young Ambassadors about where things could change or improve. These comments came at just the right time, as the Board were reviewing where else we should be investing the funding we have. One message which came through strongly was the need to communicate to help build a shared sense of the efforts which are underway to improve the future for children and young people in this community.  That’s why I will be sharing more about what is happening across Oldham, to help celebrate success, and to encourage more schools, families and young people to get involved.

I will next meet with the other members of the Partnership Board in the New Year, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is working so hard for Oldham, and to wish you all a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas.