A £12 MILLION scheme to improve education in Bradford has already helped some schools improve.

But some Councillors fear that the Opportunity Areas fund may just be offering a short term fix to Bradford’s education problems.

In 2017 the Government designated Bradford as one of 12 Opportunity Areas - chosen as these areas were seen to be social mobility ‘cold spots.’

It was announced that £12 million in funding would be allocated to the district for a variety of projects to improve the chances for the District’s young people.

A progress report was given to members of Bradford Council’s Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday.

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Members were told that compared to August 2017, 6,000 more Bradford children are in schools judged Good or Outstanding by Ofsted.

And Ofsted had judged that three schools chosen as pilot schools for a school improvement programme are now improving.

More teachers had been provided with training to help spot signs of autism in pupils and £100,000 was made available to offer tuition in English and maths to 300 Year 11 pupils across five schools.

Funding of £55,000 has been provided to each of 26 schools rated ‘requires improvement’ or inadequate, and these schools were provided support from successful head teachers to improve standards.

Councillor David Ward (Lib Dem, Bolton and Undercliffe) said: “I’ve been involved in lots f programmes like this over the years.

“There is lots of good stuff going on here. However, it is very easy to spend a lot of money doing good stuff, but the big question is is it sustainable?

“It might bring a positive result for the current cohort, and it might lead to them having better lives, but what does it do for the next cohort of children?

“It is difficult to identify where the sustainability will be in some of these projects. While this spending is all very beneficial for the young people in the here and now, could it be spent on something a bit more sustainable?”

Damon Boxer, head of delivery for Opportunity Areas, said: “We are investing in things that can be sustained. There are conversations in Bradford about what can be learned by what is being done.”

He said education bosses would pick up vital skills, training and advice through the scheme that would allow them to continue its legacy once the funding had ended.

Christian Bunting, Director of the Bradford Birth to 19 Teaching School Alliance and members of the OA team, said: “There is a huge investment in supporting and inspiring leaders in schools. The leaders will be nurtured and given an enhanced skills set. Theses skills will be applied in Bradford once the show has left town.

“We’ll support 17 new leaders in that period.”