• Ark Helenswood Academy is one of 11 schools DYT works with in Hastings

    Hastings will today be announced as part of the government’s ‘opportunity areas’ programme

  • The 12 ‘opportunity areas’ will receive a share of £72 million of funding to build teaching and leadership capacity and improve access to careers advice.
  • Driver Youth Trust (DYT) works in eleven schools in and around Hastings, where we implement our flagship programme, Drive for Literacy, which builds teacher capability and school capacity to identify and support learners who struggle with reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • DYT Founder and Chair, Sarah Driver, has been working in Hastings for the last 4 years in her role as sponsor and Chair of Governors at Ark William Parker secondary school and sponsor of Blacklands Primary School. Ark Blacklands was recently rated outstanding in every category by Ofsted having been rated ‘inadequate’ before this.

Driver Youth Trust (DYT) welcomes today’s announcement by the Education Secretary, Justine Greening of six new ‘opportunity areas,’ including Hastings.

DYT has worked in partnership with schools in Hastings since 2013 and now works in 11 schools, including Ark schools, funding and implementing the Drive for Literacy programme, having a real presence in the local education community. Furthermore, DYT has funded bursaries for Hastings’ pupils from Ark Sixth Form East Sussex to go onto university.

Greening announced an array of new funding totalling £72 million for the areas which have been identified as ‘social mobility coldspots,’ in a speech at PriceWaterHouseCoopers in London. The funding will be aimed at building teaching and leadership capacity, alongside the establishment of new research schools in each area.

DYT’s flagship programme, Drive for Literacy, is a collaboration between policy and practice and is informed by the evidence of our research. It is a whole school model for literacy, built around the Graduated Approach and starting from Quality First Teaching. Its aim is to build teacher capability and school capacity to identify and support children who struggle with reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Drive for Literacy is built around the following three principles:

  • Equal access, where all children are able to learn despite their difficulties
  • Understanding what literacy difficulties are and seeing merit in addressing its impact on educational outcomes for children and young people
  • Good teaching practice that not only benefits those with literacy difficulties, but every learner

All the resources associated with Drive for Literacy are available online for free at www.driveryouthtrust.com

The new funding offers a golden opportunity to improve outcomes for children in Hastings. The Drive for Literacy programme will support this goal by building teacher capability and leadership capacity to support learners with literacy difficulties.

One of the schools involved in the Drive for Literacy programme is Ark Blacklands in Hastings which last year earnt an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating, having been put into special measures in February 2014. It was one of only eleven schools in the country to achieve this exceptional outcome.

Commenting on the announcement, DYT Chair, Sarah Driver said:

“The extra funding announced today gives a great opportunity for Hastings.  As a coastal town with relatively poor transport links it faces particular challenges and this funding will go a long way to overcoming these in the field of education.


Driver Youth Trust is already deeply committed to education in Hastings and we welcome the potential opportunity to extend the Drive for Literacy programme and make further progress developing the best inclusive teaching methods for all learners in Hastings.


School leaders, governors and teachers need further support to understand the literacy difficulties that some learners have, that affect their progress, and how they can manage these. DfL works with schools on their systems, delivering training, advice on evidence based interventions and giving support for SENCos.  I hope the announcement by the Education Secretary will support this goal and I look forward to DYT playing an active role in helping to improve outcomes for children in Hastings.”