Working together for young

Professor Sonia Blandford
Professor Sonia Blandford
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Teachers are set to be trained to better work with parents over children’s education.

This is just one of the bold plans be set in place by the Blackpool Challenge Board– being launched today – in a bid to improve all schools across the resort.

The Board has been established since primary and secondary schools across the town were hit by poor Ofsted reports, with figures showing low pupil attainment levels.

It will be headed up by chairman Prof Sonia Blandford, a professor of education and social enterprise at University College London Institute of Education, which has been brought in by the Government to support the town.

She said: “The word challenge means two things to me; celebrating all that is positive in schools, and balancing that with the fact that 100 per cent of children aren’t achieving 100 per cent of the time.

“There’s very good stuff going on in schools but we’re seeing data that there’s issues around children’s reading, writing and maths.

“We’re going to analyse the situation and provide additional support where it’s needed.”

Bosses behind the Board have stressed how this new approach means getting all interested parties involved - from teachers and school leaders, pupils and parents, to the business leaders who will one day employ today’s schoolchildren.

Support is being particularly sought from parents and carers for the Board to have effect.

From September, teachers will be offered extra training and resources to be able to support parents, empowering them to play a crucial role in their children’s learning.

Prof Blandford added: “Parents and carers play a critical role.

“Education is a shared endeavour, it doesn’t happen just in school.

“It’s about getting parents to work in partnership with teachers, and vice versa. There’s huge emphasis on that.”

Today Prof Blandford joins Coun John Jones, Blackpool Council cabinet member for school improvement, and Paul Smith, regional schools commissioner for Lancashire, along with pupils, parents, school and academy governors, teachers and leaders and business representatives at the Winter Gardens.