Time to start big education conversation in Blackpool
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The event at Blackpool Tower was held in response to research which found 68 per cent of adults in the North West do not believe the current education system is preparing young people for their adult lives.
Partners including Blackpool Council, Merlin Entertainments and charity Right to Succeed joined forces to hold a day of workshops and discussions.
Pupils, mainly aged between 11 and 16 from schools across Blackpool, were introduced to possible career paths at Blackpool attractions including the Sea Life Centre, Tower Circus and Madame Tussaud’s.
Later they took part in discussions with decision-makers about what changes were needed to improve employment and training prospects, in sessions led by Blackpool Youth Council.
The findings from the day, attended by around 200 people in total, will be used as part of ongoing work to reshape education policies in Blackpool.
Will Hamilton, Blackpool Council youth advisor: ‘’As a young person who has been through the education system, I know where it served me well and where it didn’t.
“The Big Education Conversation gives us a voice when it comes to the curriculum and transforming education.’’
Andrew Speight, also a youth advisor, said young people felt the education system was “in crisis.”
He added: “Our best hope of successfully navigating out of the state we’re in now is to share the power with those who the system impacts most – young people, teachers, parents/carers and employers.”
Sarah Smith, programmes director at Right to Succeed, said everyone was “buzzing” with ideas at the end of the day.
She said: “We want to help young people develop their leadership skills and show them how they can take action on things.
“Today was about taking a step back and looking at some of the big questions around education. Everyone was buzzing and there was a real sense that everyone had taken something from both parts of the day.”
Mayor of Blackpool Coun Kath Benson said: “Blackpool’s Big Education Conversation was an inspiring day for everyone involved and it was great to see young people taking the lead.
"It’s the responsibility of the adults in the room to listen and I look forward to hearing about follow up action that the Blackpool Education Improvement Board will take.”
A spokesperson for Merlin Entertainments said: “We are delighted to be hosting Blackpool's Big Education Conversation and careers event - as a local employer we are passionate about finding and developing local talent and the activities today enable us to do both.”