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West Yorkshire Combined Authority – Raising Aspirations Pilot for Schools and Colleges


The Raising Aspirations Pilot will provide support for secondary schools and colleges to address the needs of disadvantaged pupils and will fund projects which seek to raise their aspirations.

From early April, colleges, secondary schools or a consortium of secondary schools will be able to apply for grants ranging from £7,000 to £50,000. Projects should support an increase in activity to raise aspirations amongst disadvantaged pupils by strengthening engagement with employers, widening pupil’s experiences of jobs beyond their home communities or engagement with young role models working in priority sectors. An evaluation of the pilot will also be undertaken, and the pilot will culminate in a best practice workshop.

The Combined Authority has been delivering the Enterprise in Education service since 2015 and is currently working with 90% of Leeds City Region’s secondary schools and colleges. This pilot provides a unique opportunity to address ‘cold spots’ through a fund only available to schools and colleges in order to design solutions for the most disadvantaged communities. The pilot will also deliver against the Strategic Economic Plan’s priority of “skilled people, better jobs, great education connected to the business”.

The Combined Authority will be responsible for managing the scheme and it will enhance and complement the work undertaken by the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Enterprise Coordinators. Applications for grant funding will be made against an eligibility criteria.

Aim of the pilot

  • Pilot a grant scheme that allows schools flexibility to tailor innovative solutions for employer engagement, according the need of their students, to raise aspirations.
  • Support secondary schools and colleges to achieve high quality careers education and demonstrate progress towards the ‘Gatsby Benchmarks’ in line with the Government’s Careers Strategy 2018
  • Support the Combined Authority’s ambition to give extra support to the most disadvantaged learners to increase aspirations and promote social mobility.

The scheme will aim to deliver an enhanced model of enterprise education to 3,500 most disadvantaged learners in the Leeds City Region and will engage an additional 20 employers to deliver 6,000 employer encounters.

How will the pilot work?

  • The call will be open for an initial period of 12 weeks. A further call may follow depending on how many projects are supported in the first round.
  • An Enterprise Coordinator will, as part of their caseload of schools/colleges, act as the Combined Authority Lead and support schools with their application.
  • Schools and colleges will complete a full application form using guidance notes.

What funding is available?

The pilot will award grants ranging from £7,000 to £50,000 to mainstream secondary schools and colleges.

Grants can be used to support new or existing projects (with no displacement of funds); non-staffing/administration costs; staff cover costs; training costs; transportation cost; volunteer expenses; physical materials; small-scale equipment.


A school or college must:

  • Be a state funded secondary school or college located in the Leeds City Region. This includes mainstream secondary schools including special educational needs and pupil referral unit provision where pupils are ‘on roll’.
  • Be a part of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Adviser Network
  • Have a nominated ‘Careers Leader’ in place who is committed to or has already undertaken relevant training.

An application / project must:

  • Benefit young people aged 11-18 who are from disadvantaged backgrounds (up to 25 for SEND pupils).
  • Be a new project or increase the scale of an existing project. Grants cannot be used for displacement of existing activity.
  • Involve employer engagement either directly with pupils or indirectly through other beneficiaries such as teachers and parents/carers.
  • Commence and complete between September 2019 and July 2020.


Activity Date
Raising Aspirations Schools Pilot opens Early April
Final deadline for applications 21 June 2019
In principal decision Letters issued to schools 8 – 17 July
Delivery of projects supported by the Raising Aspirations Schools Pilot September 2019 – July 2020
Evaluation of activities and collated case studies May 2020 – October 2020


More detail is available to all applicants through the guidance notes.

To find out more about the pilot, please contact the Enterprise in Education Team at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Tel: 01133481812, Email:

Original Author: johnjarmstrong Bradford Opportunity Area article >

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