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Blackpool Challenge marks a new era for education

A new vision for improving educational attainment in Blackpool is launched

Posted by Stephanie Broad | June 28, 2015 | Teaching

Led by Sonia Blandford, Professor of Education and Social Enterprise at University College London Institute of Education on behalf of Blackpool Council, the Blackpool Challenge aims to collaborate with and support, leaders, teachers, parents and carers to raise aspirations and improve outcomes .

Its vision statement is: “100% of children progress 100% of the time.”

Its aims are:

  • To make Blackpool a place where all children receive a world class education, enabling every child to achieve their best regardless of background, vulnerability or disadvantage.
  • To ensure every child has local, regional and national employment prospects, where they have the freedom to pursue their chosen career.
  • To work together to improve the outcomes for young people through a self-improving education system.
  • To ensure strong and inclusive learning communities, build resilient learners and foster supportive relationships between parents, carers and the local community.
  • To make all Blackpool schools and settings outstanding through strong leadership, quality teaching and high expectations of learners. This fosters the aspiration for every child to achieve their full potential.

The Blackpool Challenge Board, which was created by Blackpool Council and the Regional Schools Commissioner in March 2015, includes senior leaders from academy and non-academy schools, local authority and academy representatives and others.

It is designed to bring about improvement across schools with many schools and academies now rated as “inadequate” or “requiring improvement” by Ofsted.

The launch event on June 22 saw the very best in secondary school academic and performance talent, both in person and on video, as a reminder of their enormous potential. The young people then joined forces with senior leaders including Professor Blandford and other senior leaders to discuss the Blackpool Challenge and how it can help to shape schools’ in the future.

Professor Sonia Blandford, Chairman of the Blackpool Challenge Board, said: “While the key outcome we’re striving for is raising the aspirations of our young people; we must first raise our own aspirations.

“That’s why we’re setting out a vision to strive towards providing a world class, universal standard of education; to ensure that we’re raising aspiration in the educational professions too.

“What we need to do is help provide the educational framework to allow them to achieve that potential.”

Cllr John Jones, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for School Improvement, said: “Improving educational standards, particularly at secondary level, and raising aspiration in Blackpool is vital.

“While we’ve been striving to do so, and have made some good progress in supporting schools through the School Improvement Board, we need to make more progress at pace.

“Young people from this town can achieve anything they want to achieve and the key for us is to ensure our educational facilities are in a fit-state to allow them to do so.

“There are some fantastic schools in Blackpool and we need to work hard together to help them to achieve their potential.”

Paul Smith, Regional Schools Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire, concluded: “I want every child in Blackpool to have the opportunity to go to a school that is good or better and to acquire the skills required to compete for the best jobs.

“The Blackpool Challenge will be at the forefront of the drive to make that happen.”

www.blackpool.gov.uk    

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