Transforming education in Blackpool

Posted on Friday 22nd January 2021

Blackpool Council logo on a purple background

Plans to transform education to enable children to thrive and achieve their potential in adulthood are at the heart of a new ten-year education strategy. 

The Education Vision and Strategy 2020-30 sets out the ambition to provide the highest quality education and improve outcomes for children and families in Blackpool.

One of the proposals is to group schools into three geographical areas – north, central and south, each with its own leader for education.

The vision is the result of a joint effort from Blackpool Council and the partners within the Blackpool Education Improvement Board (BEIB).

Two key priorities are at the centre of the plans: improving standards of literacy and promoting inclusive practice.

Inclusive practice is an approach to teaching that recognises the diversity of pupils to ensure that they can access the right support to help them develop their talents and achieve their goals.

Ultimately, this will help them become resilient, happy and successful in life.

The aim is to have more local children taught in Blackpool schools instead of them being educated outside of the area, with fewer exclusions.  

The priorities to improve literacy and promote inclusion aim to:  

  • Reduce the numbers of children who are NEET (not in employment, education or training) 
  • Improve the levels of attainment and progress for children across the town 
  • Reduce the numbers of pupils who are excluded from schools 
  • Improve attendance  

The Blackpool School Improvement Board (now the Blackpool Education Improvement Board), was developed in 2015 to improve outcomes for children, particularly in the town’s secondary schools.

Leaders from both primary and secondary schools work collaboratively and share good practice from within and outside of Blackpool.

Their main goal is to ensure that all children in Blackpool receive a positive, inclusive and inspiring educational environment in which they can succeed and achieve.

The school improvement strategy underpins the work of the BEIB and is an integral part of a town-wide ambition to improve outcomes for children and families in Blackpool.

This vision for change will complement the ambition to build solid foundations for future generations.

Key achievements include:

  • Primary School standards in Blackpool have never been higher, with 94% of primary schools rated as ‘good’ or better by Ofsted
  • Fifty per cent of the secondary schools in Blackpool are rated as ‘good’, with a realistic ambition for them all to be ‘good’ or better by 2023
  • Sixth Form provision is outstanding, as is the Special School sector within the town
  • The Pupil Referral Unit has been a ‘good’ school for a number of Ofsted cycles, with realistic aspirations to be ‘outstanding’
  • A thriving Higher Education provision and pathways for many young people into university for undergraduate or postgraduate study

This vision and strategy for change fits into the town-wide priority two, which is ‘creating stronger communities and increasing resilience’ and forms part of Blackpool’s resurgence as a town.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Blackpool Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:

“Our vision for education in Blackpool is that we want all children and young people to achieve their full potential in education, learning and future employment.

“We need to ensure that we can give our children the best possible start they deserve. Our 2020-30 education strategy aims to deliver this and will produce a sustainable quality provision for all pupils and improve career prospects and life chances.

“There is a real appetite from everyone in our schools’ community to work together and bring about change to the education system.

“We will continue to capture the passion and drive of everybody to better life-chances and to stabilise our community.

“Providing children with the highest quality education, innovative curriculum delivery and caring, responsive pastoral care means that they will have real, tangible opportunities to become a vital part of Blackpool’s resurgence as a town and to become the drivers of our change.

“They can then bring their valuable skills to the workplace, building solid foundations for future generations.”

Cllr Kath Benson, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Schools, Education and Aspiration, said:

“We all want our children and young people to thrive, and to be happy, healthy and successful.

“Blackpool schools are better than ever, with most children attending a good or better school. The perceptions of Blackpool schools and the quality of the education that they receive are changing.

“Now is the time to be positive and to believe in the ability of our teachers and leaders to bring the education vision to life over the next decade.

“This new vision sets out the plans to deliver equality of educational opportunity and improve attainment for all.

“There is no shortage of ambition in Blackpool and we are determined to equip each pupil with the skills that they need to succeed and reach their potential.

“There’s a place for everyone to join this journey in transforming learning and we would encourage schools and communities to get involved with our improvement journey and support Blackpool’s key priorities.”

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Posted on Friday 22nd January 2021

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