A MULTI-million pound scheme to improve the future prospects of Bradford’s young people has officially begun.

The district has been named an Opportunity Area - one of 12 across the country selected by the Department for Education to receive extra funding to reverse years of poor education standards.

Bradford will now share £72 million with the other areas over the next three years to help make sure young people can access “high quality education and opportunities” at all stages, and are not “held back”.

The project will be run by a partnership including Bradford Council and other partners, including schools, academy sponsors, local and national businesses, Local Enterprise Partnerships, further education colleges, universities, the voluntary sector, and Government-backed organisations such as the Careers and Enterprise Company and National Citizen Service.

Dixons Academy Trust, which runs a number of schools in the district that have been rated outstanding by Ofsted, has been established at the Bradford Education Endowment Foundation research school as part of the programme, and will work to find the best ways of raising standards and improving education in the district.

Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “Giving the young people of Bradford, regardless of their background, the best possible start in life is a top priority to me, the Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

"As the youngest city in the UK, Bradford has the potential to produce our region’s next generation of productive, highly skilled people, who will drive forward the growth of tomorrow.

“The Opportunity Area offer will help us to unlock that amazing potential and support our children to achieve. By providing vital skills development we will ultimately enable young people to find fulfilling, good quality employment.”

Robert Goodwill, Minister for children and families, said: “I’m delighted that this important work has launched in Bradford to create better opportunities for young people growing up in the city.

“Tackling social mobility is how we unlock potential, and no-one should feel held back by virtue of where they live.”

Cllr Imran Khan, the executive member for education, said: “The launch of Bradford as one of the country’s Opportunity Areas is great news.

"The focus of this work will help us to achieve our ambition for all our young people to have the best start in life, access a good education and achieve the qualifications they need to ensure they and the district can have a bright future.”