Resort’s school boss highlights difficulties working in poor areas

Blackpool Councillor Sarah Riding

Blackpool Councillor Sarah Riding

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Teachers face tough challenges working in some of the poorest areas of Blackpool, the town’s head of education has admitted.

Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for education on Blackpool Council, said working in poorer areas of the resort was difficult, particularly for inexperienced members of staff.

She said: “It’s certainly difficult if you have got new staff or staff who haven’t worked in high levels of poverty and high levels of transience.

“It does require unique skills and hopefully we have got all of those skills there.

“You need that blend of really experienced staff who can help and guide new staff, who can bring new and different things to it.”

Her comments come as the council is part-way through an investigation into the conduct of staff at Revoe Primary School, on Grasmere Road.

Six members of staff at the school, including headteacher Cath Woodall, were suspended in February following allegations a boy had been put into a ‘cooling off room’ – used for pupils in isolation.

A seventh member of staff was later suspended.

The alleged incident which prompted the staff suspensions is thought to have involved a child threatening to stab himself and others.

Lancashire Police also launched an investigation into the claims but dropped its inquiry in March, saying they had not uncovered any conduct which warranted a criminal prosecution.

A Blackpool Council spokeswoman said: “The disciplinary process regarding the members of staff suspended from Revoe School is still ongoing.

“Each suspended member of staff has been contacted to inform them of the next stage of the process.”

The school also received a critical report from Ofsted inspectors in May.

Inspectors said the school had “declined rapidly” in recent years and the school was placed under special measures.

A report said there was a wide variation in the quality of teaching.

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