Former head of Barnardo’s to lead social mobility drive on the coast

This story was published 17 July 2017

A top Government adviser and former chief of Barnardo’s will oversee a programme for the North Yorkshire coast to raise aspirations and improve social mobility for children..

Sir Martin Narey

Sir Martin Narey will chair the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area, one of 12 Opportunity Areas set up in a £72 million Government programme to target areas of the UK which face the greatest challenges in relation to social mobility.

The initiative represents a concerted effort across education, business and communities to create programmes tailored to what will actually work for very different parts of the country facing very different challenges.

Sir Martin, a government adviser on children’s social care who was also chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, will lead the North Yorkshire Coast partnership board which covers Scarborough, Whitby and Filey.

Sir Martin who lives on the coast and is deeply committed to the area said he was “very pleased” to accept the Department for Education’s invitation to be the chair for the coast: “Most of my working life has involved trying to help those born in disadvantageous circumstances better to fulfil their potential. And, living as I do in Whitby, I recognise the particular challenges in the wider Scarborough area. But I'm optimistic that we can find practical things to change and improve which will make a real difference to the prospects of our young people.”

Opportunity Areas will see local partnerships formed with early years providers, schools, colleges, universities, businesses, charities and local authorities to ensure all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Jane Douglass is Executive Headteacher of the Esk Valley Alliance which is forming a research school for the Opportunity Area to investigate teaching methods which work best for the coast. She said:

“The opportunity area programme is already making a positive impact on the North Yorkshire Coast – it’s bringing people together and encouraging us to work more effectively together towards a common goal. We look forward to continuing that collaborative approach.”

The North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area builds on pioneering work by North Yorkshire County Council. The Council has already committed £750,000 to an initiative called the Scarborough Pledge to bring about a community-wide shift in attitude about expectations for the area’s young people.

The Pledge was established to improve literacy skills, work with partners like the Stephen Joseph Theatre to provide cultural experiences and attract high quality teachers and teaching to the Coast. This work will continue through the Opportunity Area programme.

“Sir Martin’s considerable experience, accompanied by his understanding of the Coast make him a great fit for the role,” said Cllr Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for the Children and Young People’s Service: “We are looking forward to working with him and the partnership board to build on the successes of the Scarborough Pledge and to improve outcomes further for children and young people.”

Note to Editors

After a brief career in the NHS, Sir Martin Narey DL began training to be a prison governor in 1982 and worked at a number of prisons before moving into a succession of Whitehall posts. He returned to the Prison Service in 1997 and became Director General (CEO) in 1998.

In 2003 he became the first CEO of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). During this period he received the Chartered Institute of Management’s Gold Medal for Leadership, the first public sector recipient of this single annual award for ten years.

He left NOMS in 2005 to become Chief Executive of Barnardo’s where he stayed for five years. He now advises the Ministry of Justice about penal issues and the Department for Education about children’s social care issues. In June 2016, after being commissioned by Number 10 and DfE, he completed a major review of the quality of care for the 9,000 children living in residential homes in and has just embarked on a similar review of Fostering in England. He is Chair of the Trustees of The Brain Tumour Charity, Chair of the Portman Group, and a non-executive board member at the Ministry of Justice and of The Sage, Gateshead.

He was made a Knight Bachelor in 2013 in recognition of his services to vulnerable people.

Opportunity Areas were selected by the Department for Education from areas identified in the social mobility index published by the Social Mobility Commission.

Picture shows: Sir Martin Narey