£2m funding boost to improve opportunities for Blackpool pupils

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Blackpool is to get nearly £2.1m of additional funding towards raising educational outcomes for youngsters in the town.

The resort is one of 12 Opportunity Areas across the country to share £18m of government cash being ploughed into the programme which is being extended into a fifth year.

It brings the full amount Blackpool has received over five years to £10.4m.

Priorities in Blackpool include improving exam results, supporting vulnerable families to cut down on truancy and better career advice for pupils.

Funding will go towards improving educationFunding will go towards improving education

Frank Norris, chairman of the Blackpool Education and Improvement Board, said: “The welcome extension of a further year of Opportunity Area support and funding will help provide additional stimulus to deliver our recently published 10-year Education Vision and Strategy for the town.

“We have created a step-change in improving the educational outcomes and life chances for Blackpool’s young people and this additional year will enable us to securely embed the progress gained so far.”

Schemes underway in Blackpool as the funding enters its fifth year include a mentoring programme for children aged 11 to 19 who are disadvantaged, vulnerable or at risk of falling out of education.

The project is run by Blackpool Football Club. which also works with Fleetwood Town Football Club to include even more children.

The Blackpool Opportunity Area is also twinned with Lancashire to provide enhanced careers support for young people most at risk of not finding a job or going into further training or education when they leave school.

Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, director of the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub, said collaberation had gone on between school, colleges and employers.

She added: “This has become even more vital, as the pandemic has impacted on young people’s ambitions and their perceptions of the job market. ”

Last year the council agreed a 10-year education strategy put together by the Blackpool School Improvement Board (now Blackpool Education Improvement Board) working in partnership with the Blackpool Opportunity Area Board.

Its aims include improving school readiness among five-year-olds, and extending specialist provision in mainstream schools so more children with complex needs can be taught closer to home.

It is also hoped to identify children considered at risk of exclusion at an earlier stage in order to provide the support they need ‘before they reach the point of crisis.’