A total of £18.1 million has been allocated to extend a programme to improve the social mobility of pupils in some of the most deprived areas of England for a fourth year.
But the annual funding for the Opportunity Areas programme (OA) is being cut by a quarter, a Department for Education letter, published today, reveals.
The letter states that the funding for the 12 areas will be “used to mitigate the negative impact of Covid-19; to bring together other parts of government to effectively tackle multi-faceted problems”.
Social mobility: Concerns over DfE's £72m social mobility programme
Back in April Opportunity Area leaders called for funding to extend into a fourth year, arguing that the pandemic had “exacerbated and compounded inequalities across society” and that the OA had “a really key role” in rebuilding opportunity and educational strength.
Funding to boost social mobility
However, while the OAs have already received a total of £72 million over the past three years – averaging £24 million a year – the total fourth-year cash will only be £18.1 million.
The areas to benefit are as follows: