The money will be used to set up a Secondary Inclusion Partnership, which will see county schools working together, and with providers from outside the area, to share support and expertise.
The project, which is particularly aimed at disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs, will be led by Priory School, in Lewes – designated a ‘teaching school’ which provides training, development and support to other schools.
The funding, which will benefit 15 secondary schools, has been secured by East Sussex County Council from the Government’s £140 million Strategic School Improvement Fund.
Cllr Bob Standley, county council lead member for education and inclusion, special educational needs and disabilities, said the move would make a difference to children’s lives.
He said: “It’s vital that all young people in East Sussex leave school with the best possible chance of success regardless of their circumstances, and this new funding will help schools achieve that.
“Improving attendance, reducing the number of exclusions and delivering the highest standards of teaching are key to improving the performance of our young people and boosting their life prospects.
“This partnership means schools which have a proven track record in delivering strong, effective leadership and successful inclusion strategies can share their expertise and ways of working with other schools in the county.
“The successful bid is the result of the county council working together with maintained schools and academies to build a strong partnership with the aim of driving up standards and improving performance across the county.”
Tony Smith, head teacher at Priory School, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for schools across the county to work together with a range of partners to make a lasting impact on the future of many young people.”
The project will focus on securing high quality teaching, developing knowledge and leadership skills among school leaders, enabling schools to help others improve their inclusion strategies and improving the transition between primary and secondary school.