£6m vision helping Blackpool youngsters fulfill their potential
A £6m action plan to raise achievement among Blackpool children is now being delivered in schools.
The Blackpool Opportunity Area, set up and funded by the Department for Education, has just come to the end of the second year of a three year programme of intervention.
Work has been done to address three priorities identified by the board when it was set up in 2017 as part of a national government scheme focusing on 12 of the most disadvantaged areas of the country.
The priorities are : raising attainment and progress in schools; supporting vulnerable children and families to boost attendance; and improving advice for young people moving between schools and into work.
Blackpool Council's deputy leader Coun Graham Cain said work was now underway in a number of important areas.
These include the transition from primary school to secondary school, reading abilities among 11 to 14-year-olds, helping vulnerable children remain in mainstream lessons and supporting more school leavers to find jobs.
In a report to councillors, Coun Cain updated them on work which had been done to meet the set of priorities.
This includes ensuring all pupils in their last week in primary school spend a week in secondary school to get used to the change, while reading schemes are focusing on the skills of 11 to 14-year-olds.
Coun Cain said this was designed "to reduce the dip experienced in Key Stage 3" which has seen some children performing poorly in secondary education compared to when they were at primary school.
A group of 67 pupils who were at risk of missing lessons have been provided with support teams to help them remain in mainstream education. This help also involves supporting parents.
Post-16 education has also been targeted with extra resources for five schools where pupils have been under-achieving, while businesses have come on board to provide employment opportunities for those leaving school.
Coun Cain said in his report: "Start Blackpool is a bespoke careers platform to promote future local employment opportunities to school and college leavers.
"The prototype is being piloted in three secondary schools and businesses are being engaged to promote opportunities ready for the full launch September 2019."