School gets £200k to boost social mobility

Stephen Tierney and Simon Eccles at St Marys Catholic Academy
Stephen Tierney and Simon Eccles at St Marys Catholic Academy
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A £200,000 cash boost for a Blackpool school will be used to give youngsters in the resort a better chance in life.

St Mary’s Catholic Academy, in Layton, has been named as one of 11 new ‘research schools’ by education secretary Justine Greening.

Education Secretary Justine Greening

Education Secretary Justine Greening

The cash, awarded over three years, is aimed at driving up teaching standards.

It has been targeted at areas identified as social mobility ‘coldspots’ and aims to use research to better effect in classrooms to tackle the problem.

Simon Eccles, headteacher at St Mary’s, on St Walburgas Road, said: “We are delighted to be selected as a research school within Blackpool.

“We have always worked hard to develop our use of evidence to improve our teaching in the classroom and to help teachers have maximum impact.

Putting teachers in the driving seat can make all the difference

“This has resulted in positive outcomes for our students in terms of progress and attainment data backed up by our recent good Ofsted rating.

“We are looking forwards to being able to further develop this work and to support colleagues from across the area in placing research evidence at the heart of developing practice to improve outcomes for young people across Blackpool.”

Stephen Tierney, chief executive of the Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy Trust, said: “This will help us raise aspirations not just with children at our schools, but every school across Blackpool.”

Each of the 11 schools will get £200,000 to build regional networks with other schools and get more teachers using research evidence in the classroom.

Ms Greening said: “Teachers are key to making sure that young people can reach their potential, regardless of where they start in life, so helping the profession be the best it can be will help tackle social mobility.”

The new research schools are part-funded through the Government’s Opportunity Areas programme and part of a joint initiative between the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Institute for Effective Education (IEE).

Sir Kevan Collins, EEF chief executive, was appointed ‘evidence champion’ with a remit to help boost social mobility among young people, particularly those from disadvantaged areas.

He said the new measures will ‘break down barriers’, adding: “The new research schools will be crucial.

“Putting teachers in the driving seat can make all the difference.”