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 

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

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 – 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 by 7th December 2020.

Design a University

Children from across Suffolk have been rewarded for designing their dream university during the Covid-19 lockdown

Max Collett from Stowmarket with designs for his Max Collett from Stowmarket with designs for his “space university” Picture: UNIVERSITY OF SUFFOLK

Nine youngsters from across the county were named winners of the Design a Uni competition, organised by the University of Suffolk, which aimed to help keep kids creative while at home.

The competition ran via Facebook for pupils between Years 3 and 9, with a different aspect of the university – from halls of residence to lecture theatres – announced each week.

Supporting Year 11s transitioning to college

Over the last two years a partnership between Ipswich secondary schools and the University of Suffolk has enabled over 200 students to receive support to prepare for Maths GCSEs on Saturday mornings through the IOA “What a Difference a Day Makes” programme, with noticeable improvements in GCSE outcomes. 

Ipswich and Norwich Opportunity Areas and NEACO are working in collaboration this summer to provide a skills and learning based “Step Up” tutoring programme for those students who were year 11 leavers this year, and who will be attending Suffolk New College this September.

The programme aims to provide 24 hours of extra online learning and tuition to around 35 students from Ipswich: 3 hours a week of commitment from young people to improve their English, Mathematics and Study Skills in preparation for their next step into college. This learning will be fully supported by tutors and mentors, encouraging and coaching students to get the most from the opportunity. 

More details about the course can be found here.

The programme came about as a response to the current pandemic. As Year 11s faced an abrupt end to their school career, and a long period without learning, this Summer programme helps increase confidence and independence for post 16 study.  As well as providing wellbeing sessions, NEACO has provided additional support in the form of vouchers for students who stay the course to help with the cost of resources for their college course in September.  Students in low income families with limited access to technology received laptops to support their online learning.

Careers and Coffee

Jordan Holder & Josie Finch of New Anglia LEP’s Enterprise Adviser Network team have created a Live YouTube show called ‘Careers & Coffee’.

Broadcast Live during term time at 12:30 every Tuesday & Thursday, Jordan hosts and interviews a range of guests with varying careers including: Crown Court Judges, FTSE 100 Chairs, Fashion Models, STEM professionals and everything in between.

 Josie produces the show and liaises with guests and leads on the technical side of New Anglia LEP’s new initiative to boost virtual encounters for young people with local employers.

What makes Careers and Coffee unique is that students can post questions which Jordan puts to the guests live so that students can better understand the roles of the professionals he is interviewing.  

Jordan & Josie look forward to welcoming you to their next broadcast to ask questions to their guests, LIVE!


The Team at icanbea… have been working hard over the last few months, supporting local schools and students who have had so much to deal with throughout this time.  2020 started well with a number of workshops and events booked in, and a full range of new lesson plans, a teacher dashboard and the virtual tours available.  From mid-March it became apparent we were entering unprecedented times, and given that the project works predominantly through schools it has been a challenging time for the team, however, some quick thinking meant that we were able to work with Ipswich Opportunity Area Team to make the resources funded by them publicly available, this meant we were able to support as many students as possible to stay engaged in work inspiration and researching their potential for future education or employment.   

Because of the ‘on demand’ nature of the resources and that they are accessible through PC, laptop, tablet and phone the website and app have continued to receive around 4000 site visits a month.

Of particular interest has been the amazing Employer Virtual Tours where an individual can ‘visit’ any of five key local employers, hear from the staff and understand what it would be like to work for that employers.  There is also a Careers Wizard where you can discover which jobs might suit your interests and skills or the Education/Home Schooling Index where they have collated lots of resources offered by a range of providers all in one place for easy access.

In response to this work icanbea… is still showing good engagement with IOA Schools with nearly 1400 registered users and we are now working on plans to consider this work over the summer and into next term.  If you would like to see how to use icanbea… please take a look at our Easy Guide or if you would prefer to speak to the team about what icanbea… can do for your school please contact us on