‘Help pupils take leap to secondary’

Coun John Jones
Coun John Jones

Helping pupils make the switch from primary to secondary school and providing more vocational learning are two of the ways in which education in Blackpool could be improved, councillors have been told.

Coun John Jones, cabinet member on Blackpool Council with responsibility for education, told the Resilient Communities Scrutiny Committee he had already met with head teachers across the resort to discuss key issues.

We are looking at the transition from primary to secondary

He said: “We are looking at the transition from primary to secondary.

“It is a big jump and there are big numbers involved in secondary schools and some pupils can get lost in that.

“There are all sorts of issues for behaviour.

“The way forward is for primary schools and senior schools to work together for that transition and there will be a focus on this as part of the Blackpool Challenge.”

Coun Jones added: “We don’t have the vocational curriculum that we had.

“While young people are learning English and maths, they can also be taught other skills as well.

“Not every child has the ability to sit in school and concentrate.” The Blackpool Challenge was launched last month to raise educational standards in the town after a number of poor Ofsted reports.

Concerns were also raised by the scrutiny committee about the number of looked after children in the resort.

Delyth Curtis, director of people at Blackpool Council, said the number currently stood at 441 which is the lowest level in two years but still the highest level in England per head of population.

She said: “It hasn’t gone below 440 for a number of years.

“People come here because they have been on holiday here and they have happy memories of Blackpool, and also there is a mass of low cost housing.

“And sometimes they are in a chaotic state.”

Coun Jones said a lot of work was done with families before children were taken into council care.

He said: “It is not an easy choice but one you have to accept because of the issues in Blackpool.

“It is not a picture we like but we have a responsibility to ensure children are safe.”