Education Minister sees Blackpool school and college in action

It was business as usual at St George's CE Academy when Education Minister Gavin Williamson called in to see the school action.

Friday, 6th March 2020, 11:45 am
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson (middle centre) with pupils from St George's school

The minister in was in town to see how the Opportunity Area programme is working to improve opportunities for children and young people .

The resort is one of 12 such areas in the county and the high school is working with the initiative across a wide range of projects providing extra support for early and mid-career teachers, embedding the teaching of literacy across the curriculum and to help the most vulnerable pupils, with a range of needs from speech language and communication to emotional and mental wellbeing.

The Secretary of State spent over an hour at St George's and spoke to Academy and Trust leaders, toured the academy ,visited lessons and also spoke to a group of students covering who questioned him on a variety of topics ranging from his intentions for the future of education through to which book is he currently reading.

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Left to right - Scott Cubitt, B&FC's head of engineering and science, Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson and Bev Robinson OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of B&FC

His visit follows hard on the heels of a government announcement on it's pupil behaviour policy and he had a chance to see how the positive affects in action at the academy.

The strategies the Academy has implemented over recent years which have yielded impressive results he saw the transformation that has lead to a culture of learning and aspiration

.This visit comes on the back of an impressive year for St George',s which was rated Good by Ofsted, followed up by outstanding GCSE's and the highest progress 8 score in the Blackpool and Fylde area, the Government's key measure of secondary performance.

Headteacher Graham Warnock, , said: "The staff at St George's love working in the academy. Our high expectations and approach to discipline has created a calm, harmonious and purposeful environment where young people thrive socially and fulfil their academic potential.

"We have seen the difference caring discipline makes and I was pleased with the Government’s behaviour hub initiative announced earlier this week. It was fantastic for the Secretary of State to have the opportunity to visit this wonderful academy and see first hand the transformation this approach is having at St George's and the positive benefits and outcomes for our pupils."

The minister also visited Blackpool and The Fylde College, which is a key partner along with St Georges School in the delivery of the Blackpool Careers Journey which provides support for children and young people in the town to help them prepare for work.

More than £7m is being currently invested in Blackpool as part of the Opportunity Area programme and for Essential Life Skills and early speech and language.

The programme is working in three priority areas of raising attainment and progress in Blackpool schools, providing support for vulnerable young people and families to improve attendance and reduce exclusions from school and improving advice and support for young people when moving between schools/colleges and into work.

Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: "It was fantastic to get back to Blackpool today to see how we are raising the bar for young people living here, by investing in excellent teachers and improving education standards in key skills like literacy.

"Every child, in every part of the country, should have a fair chance – that’s why we are levelling up funding to make sure all schools can deliver a high quality education.

“We have also have recently announced an extra £18 million to extend the Opportunity Area programme, helping to cement the great work already being done to help Blackpool’s young people reach their full potential.”

College principal abnd chief executive Bev Robinson added: "Fundamental to the levelling up agenda, is the investment in technical and professional education and training aligned to the needs of the economy.

“Blackpool and The Fylde College is recognised as a leading provider in this space, working with employer partners to co-create learning opportunities leading to sustainable, vibrant careers. We welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate outstanding technical and professional education in practice to the Secretary of State and for students to share their success stories with him.”