‘Our schools are not good enough...’

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Young people are becoming ‘unemployable’ because Blackpool’s secondary schools are letting them down, a leading councillor has warned.

Coun Don Clapham says failing secondary schools are deterring businesses from locating to the resort because they cannot find the skills they need.

He told a meeting of the full council: “The story at primary and junior level is good in Blackpool, but something goes wrong in the transfer from primary to secondary,

“There is a major problem there.”

He added the problem seemed to be “within teachers at secondary level” and called for more support for them.

Coun Clapham said: “All we can do is make sure support is given to the management of secondary schools and to teachers.

“We must give them the tools to do the job and give children a good education.

“It is difficult to get companies to come here offering jobs when we cannot give young people the skills and education to be taken on.

“There is a widening gap in Blackpool and they have become unemployable if they do not have the skills for the job.”

Coun Ivan Taylor, cabinet member for children and young people on Blackpool Council, admitted more needs to be done to improve the prospects of youngsters.

He said: “Our primary schools are doing very well.

“However the results at secondary level are not as good as we would like.”

He added: “We are working locally with an improvement board with our schools and with an action plan to find out what happens when they leave primary.

“The quality of the teaching is one issue we are trying to tackle.

“We want to ensure we are active in this matter, and we are working with all our schools to try and improve performance. It is not good enough at the moment, but I believe we can turn it round and we are determined to turn it round.”

Blackpool’s School Improvement team was inspected by Ofsted over five days last December.

While the council is still awaiting a formal letter from Ofsted about its findings, it has identified a number of areas which need addressing.

A report to councillors says improvements are still not creating sufficient impact on prospects for secondary school pupils.

Secondary schools slammed by Ofsted for ‘inadequate’ standards

Three Blackpool secondary schools have been placed in special measures in recent times following critical Ofsted reports.

Montgomery High School in Bispham, the now defunct Bispham High School and Highfield Humanities College have all been put in special measures.

Inspectors who visited Highfield last October reported seeing “poor” behaviour, “inadequate” teaching, and “ineffective” leadership using “inaccurate” evaluation.

In June last year Montgomery High School was rated inadequate by government inspectors in its first Ofsted inspection since it became an academy.

Inspectors said teaching was “insufficiently challenging” and this had led to “widespread underachievement” in a number of subjects.

Bispham High School was placed in the lowest category by Ofsted inspectors following an inspection in 2013.

Twelve months later, in March 2013, inspectors visited again and ruled the school was “not making enough progress towards the removal of special measures”.

Bispham High has since merged with Collegiate High School to create the new Blackpool Aspire Academy.