We’re recruiting in the Early Years

Early Years Family Support Practitioners (3 posts)

Ipswich Opportunity Area are seeking to appoint three Enhanced Support Practitioners to place in nurseries across Ipswich for the current academic year.

Job Description:

You will:

  • work with families to deliver a bespoke programme of support during the Covid-19 Crisis
  • support children both within and outside the early years setting to ensure equitable access to provision and during 1:1 intervention with parents signpost parents and families to the wide range of support and provision available to them in Ipswich
  • work with colleagues to provide a safe, welcoming, purposeful, stimulating and encouraging environment both indoors, outdoors, and digitally
  • support families with strategies to help their children make the transition to school.

Main duties include, but are not limited to:

  • supporting the families you work with and signposting to additional support as needed
  • developing work/support packs to send home to families not currently accessing the provision
  • assisting in the development and implementation of a timetable of online, interactive sessions
  • recording progress and attainment
  • attending weekly Ipswich Opportunity Area network meetings
  • writing the IOA 1/2 termly report, detailing impact of interventions.

A job description can be downloaded here: 

All Enhanced Support Practitioners recruited by the Opportunity Area will work predominantly in one nursery in Ipswich but will be part of a supportive network that may support other Ipswich nurseries where needed.
Training will be provided, and this role represents an excellent opportunity for further development.

Please download the job description.

Apply by sending your CV, email and telephone contact details of two referees with a covering letter outlining how you meet the person specification to: ipswichopportunityarea@gmail.com

Ipswich Opportunity Area schools are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all the children and expect their staff to share this commitment. Appointments will be made subject to safer recruitment procedures, including an enhanced DBS check and satisfactory references.


We take the safeguarding of children and young people very seriously. 

We make every effort to ensure that children and young people taking part in activities funded by the Ipswich Opportunity Area are kept safe from harm.

The following designated staff are in post; 

Designated Safeguarding Officers       

Jacqueline Bircham jacqueline.bircham@newanglia.co.uk

Kirsty Langley-Kara kirsty.langley-kara@ipswichopportunityarea.co.uk  

Contact telephone 07795 199609 

Our Child Protection Policy can be found here

NTP Webinar for schools


All state schools in England can now sign up for the NTP webinar on the 10th February, to find out how the National Tutoring Programme works and hear from our Tuition Partners on their individual tutoring models.

To sign up and for more information click here

Who’s Who on the Opportunity Area team

   Who’s who in the IOA team 
Name  Area of work  Contact details  
Jackie Bircham   Jackie is our programme director and oversees the programme as a whole.  She has a focus on sharing learning Jacqueline.bircham@newangia.co.uk 
Katrina Gardiner  Katrina leads all things Mental Health, Wellbeing Resilience, and our communications and twinning work k.gardiner@uos.ac.uk 
Ben Gough  Ben, as programme coordinator keeps us all on track.   Ben also manages our procurement and finance across the programme.  Ben.gough@suffolk.gov.uk 
Jemma Hudson  Jemma is our Early Years lead managing all our 0-5 work and is the main contact for our pre-schools and nurseries Jemma.hudson@suffolk.gov.uk 
Melanie Scotland Mel is our transitions lead, working on projects to support year 6 to 7 transition Melanie.scotland@suffolk.gov.uk 
Hazel Weekes  Hazel is our remote learning coordinator, supporting our Remote Learning support assistances and leading on What a difference a day makes  Hazel.weekes@newanglia.co.uk 
Vanessa Bally  Vanessa supports Jemma to manage the work in the early years  Vanessa.Bally@highfield.suffolk.sch.uk 
General   ipswichopportunityarea@gmail.co.uk 

Suffolk TA Network Launch

The Suffolk TA Network is an exciting new project developed at Westbourne Academy, launching on Monday 7th December, with two additional dates in January. 

We are delighted to invite your teaching assistants to one of the launch events to hear about the key aims of the network:

  • To provide training and support for the TA role
  • To provide networking opportunities to share good practice
  • To keep TAs up to date with the latest evidence based approaches for supporting learning
  • To celebrate and raise the profile of the TA role

These launch events are also an opportunity for your TAs to help shape the way the network meets their needs.

Please do pass on the attached flyer and encourage them to join Abi Joachim, TA Network Coordinator on either 7th Dec (10.30), 14th Jan (12.30) or 19th Jan (1.30). To book email name, email address, choice of date and school to: SuffolkTANetwork@suffolk.gov.uk

Vision and Voice Offer

We have partnered with a cooperative of community and voluntary sector organisations to deliver Vision and Voice.   Working with schools’ vision and voice will provide a range of support for students and staff wellbeing and mental health.  

  • Access Community Trust ‘Peace Meal’: Through their PINK Orange suite of services. The Peace Meal concept is an add on from PINK Orange Essentials and includes additional wellbeing support through items such as worry dolls, educational resources and access to mental health support services in addition to the usual signposting across services in the third sector as well as the original box of food and menu.   
  • Green Light Trust ‘Natural Alternative’: Natural alternative is a person-centred programme delivered by GLT at Castan Wood in Ipswich. It allows those struggling for whatever reason, be it mental health, anxiety, behaviour, SEND or any other challenges to develop through access to the natural environment.    
  • Survivors in Transition ‘Tope’: This confidential abuse support for young people (13+) is a relatively new and much-needed service for Suffolk.   
  • Community Praxis: Therapeutically informed youth work. delivered in blocks of 6 sessions to individuals. These 6 sessions will be targeted at young people who will benefit from a therapeutically informed youth worker., Traditionally the young people who will benefit from this therapeutic approach are those facing specific challenges in their lives, but this is not exclusive.  Therapeutically Informed Youth Work appeals to one and all as it enables a safe space to grow and work in an equitable space where feelings, emotions and experiences can be shared and learnt from.  The 6 sessions will be underpinned with building positive and meaningful relationships. Young people will be given the means to name their world, explore a sense of responsibility and participation along with been exposed to new situations and environments. All young people will have a Clarity 4d profile and action plan produced.   
  • Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality; will conduct what is known as an Equality Impact Assessment, create an Action plan and manage the implementation of the action plan through a school/community reference group.   
  • Volunteering Matters ‘Mentors’ Will offer mentoring for young people of all ages across IOA with referrals made directly to VM by the school.  VM recruit, train, supervise and match mentors with a young person and includes safeguarding, vol expenses and impact demonstration.  
  • Menta: Through Clarity 4D up to 50 profiles will be produced through the other engagements in this offer. The youth profile is aimed at 14 – 19-year-olds and supports a variety of integrated areas and it has also been utilised as an opportunity to attach the usual 1 dimensional CV with a clarity profile, giving a rounded approach to those looking at supporting the individual with skills enterprise or employability options. 

We also have some funding set aside to respond to presenting needs from schools, we would encourage all schools to contact either Vision and Voice or Katrina Gardiner to discuss needs that cannot be met through the above offer.

To access contact

Vision and Voice directly using the email address IOAVisionandvoice@greenlighttrust.org 

For presenting needs or if you wish to discuss any other needs of your school regarding mental health, wellbeing or resilience please contact Katrina Gardiner  


Suffolk TA Network

The Suffolk TA Network is a new venture developed from the vision of Abi Joachim, HLTA, and Maxine Maxine Abbott, SENCO at Westbourne Academy who led a project to support the effective deployment and practice of teaching assistants as part of their IOA Evidence Based Practice grant last year.

In collaboration with the EEF, Unity Research School, IOA and Suffolk County Council Abi and Max are now launching the Suffolk TA Network recognising the valuable work undertaken throughout the county by Teaching Assistants.

Teaching Assistants across Ipswich and Suffolk are invited to join the network. Key aims of the Network are to provide training and support, networking opportunities to share good practice, keep TAs up to date with the latest evidence based approaches for supporting learning and raising the profile of the TA role.

To find out more and to help shape the network, teaching assistants are invited to join one of the following virtual launch events.

Monday 7th December 2020 – 10:30-11:45

Thursday 14th January 2021 – 12:30-13:45

Tuesday 19th January 2021 – 13:30-14:45

To book your place email your name and school and choice of date to SuffolkTANetwork@suffolk.gov.uk

Fully Funded CPD programme

School Leaders are invited to apply to join the network and benefit from fully funded CPD:

  • Making the Best Use of TAs: This EEF designed programme supports school leaders to review and reform TA deployment based on recent research evidence to ensure that TAs make a meaningful contribution to teaching and learning. The programme brings the evidence to life with practical tools to support policy and practice and runs across the Spring term in 6 modules â€“ some delivered as live online sessions, and others self-directed. 
  • Maximising the Practice of TAs: a training package developed by the Institute of Education at University College London. Sharing practical strategies and reflective activities, it provides TAs with the skills to scaffold learning and help pupils become confident, independent learners. This programme for TAs will be delivered as a series of online and self directed modules over the Summer term

Further details of the funded CPD above can be found here. Schools are invited to express their interest in this opportunity by emailing Jacqueline.Bircham@newanglia.co.uk by 7th December 2020.