Schools debate prompts anger

A former cabinet minister has come under fire for damning comments he made about Blackpool during a debate in the House of Lords.

Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 3:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 3:55 pm
Lord Adonis

Lord Adonis singled out the education system which he blamed for a catalogue of problems facing the resort, including what one national paper recently claimed GPs referred to as ‘s*** life syndrome’.

Dave Blacker, who helps run the Blackpool Boys and Girls’ Club, said he was ‘shocked’ by Lord Adonis’ views.

“I would like to know who these doctors are who are saying that,” he added.

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Former education minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown Lord Adonis said in his speech, reported in yesterday’s Gazette, that Blackpool was a town in ‘social crisis’.

He added: “Politicians who have had the misfortune to attend party conferences know why we stopped going to Blackpool.”

Mr Blacker today hit back saying: “I think what he said was an incredibly one dimensional view of Blackpool.”

He also criticised Lord Adonis’ call for schools to be banned from excluding pupils.

The Labour peer claimed pupil referral units (PRUs) for children expelled from school were ‘a giant training camp for the criminal justice system’.

Mr Blacker added: “What he’s trying to do is improve schools, but who’s to say that PRUs aren’t the right solution?”

Work has started on building a £25m new conference centre at the Winter Gardens in a bid to win back conference business.

Blackpool’s pupil referral unit is based across four sites in the town including The Oracle on St Annes Road in South Shore.

It provides education for students unable to attend mainstream school due to reasons including behavioural or medical needs.

In 2016 it was reported the majority of the students were excluded pupils who were not originally from Blackpool.

Last year Blackpool developed a plan to reduce permanent exclusions from schools by reinstating the Behaviour and Attendance Partnership to intervene before a student is sent to the Pupil Referral Unit.

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