Category Archives: Education

Blackpool schools hit back at head of Ofsted’s claims food parcel ‘priorities’ may have hit learning

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Resort school leaders hit back at claims from Ofsted’s chief inspector that teachers’ “attention went very rapidly to the most disadvantaged children” during the pandemic, potentially hindering learning for other pupils.

 

Head of Ofsted Amanda Spielman.

Head of Ofsted Amanda Spielman.

Ofsted boss Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector for Education, said “disparities” were seen within state education compared with private schools during the pandemic, when remote learning was required in England.

Speaking at an Institute for Government event, she said although “the average private school has three times as much money, so far more staff, far more technology to mobilise to switch to teaching remotely,” it did not explain the differences in education between state and private schools while youngsters were learning at home.

Ms Spielman added: “In a lot of schools it felt as though their attention went very rapidly to the most disadvantaged children, into making food parcels, going out visiting.

Anchorsholme Academy headteacher Graeme Dow.

Anchorsholme Academy headteacher Graeme Dow.

“They put a great deal of attention into the children with greatest difficulties which is admirable, but in some cases that probably got prioritised. Certainly last summer, the summer of 2020, which may have meant that they did not have the capacity left to make sure there was some kind of education offer for all children.”

Her comments were met with contempt from resort school leaders, who jumped to the defence of their staff for their response to dealing with both remote learning and maintaining the wellbeing of their pupils during lockdown.

Pastoral and support staff at schools under the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT) umbrella, which include Armfield, Aspire, Gateway and Unity Academies, rallied round to support children outside of school to enable teachers to focus on lessons.

Sean Bullen, director of education at FCAT, said: “During this extraordinary period our young people received high quality food parcels that were generally well received by parents and carers, largely managed by support staff, thus leaving the way clear for teachers and teaching assistants to teach well constructed and delivered lessons whether it be remotely or onsite learning for the students whose parental work required them to be in school.

Sean Bullen, director of Education at Fylde Coast Academy Trust.

Sean Bullen, director of Education at Fylde Coast Academy Trust.

“The staff in all our schools responded so well to the sudden demands that required some quite unique responses – indeed we imagine this was the case in all schools in Blackpool and probably in the country.

“Headteachers expertly managed both the educational needs of the children in the form of quality lessons, and the welfare needs of all students, whether it be the provision of food, support with anxiety or the valued relationships that always exist in any school.”

Ms Spielman’s comments also received criticism from unions, which said staff balanced unfamiliar demands in circumstances they would not have found themselves in before the pandemic.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Schools have worked very hard throughout the pandemic to juggle many demands which have often been unfamiliar and required entirely new approaches and processes to be put in place.

“Our experience is that they have done extremely well in balancing these demands and doing the best they can for all their students at all times.”

Graeme Dow, headteacher at Anchorsholme Academy in Eastpines Drive, said his pastoral team and teachers had to readjust to “working differently” when remote learning and wellbeing support was needed outside of school.

Mr Dow said: “When the Government itself introduced free school meals vouchers that ran throughout the holidays, we had to distribute those, so our admin teams and pastoral staff and even our IT technician became very involved with that.

“But that wasn’t taking us away from other duties, they were new duties in addition to the ones we already had. So I think it’s a bit misguided to say schools have focused on one thing rather than another.

“We absolutely put the education of children as our continual priority, because that’s what it is. And we had to find new ways to do that through the remote learning systems that we put into place.”

When asked about plans in place to help children “catch up” after time at home during lockdown, Ms Spielman said: “Most of the catching up children will do will happen in their main classroom with their teachers, there are things that we an do to make that as good as it can be.

“But there’s this everyday magic that teachers do of really motivating children to want to learn and introducing them to the whole curriculum, taking them through in a well-structured way with minimal wastage of time.”

 

Blackpool Multi Academy Trust CEOs welcome plans to vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds in resort schools

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool academy bosses said they welcome the government’s plans to roll out first doses of Covid jabs to resort pupils from Monday.

 

The Blackpool Multi Academy Trust (MAT) Chief Executives group, which represents CEOs of MATs in the resort, said the town’s secondary schools would be working with appropriate health services to facilitate first doses of the Pfizer jab from next week.

The group is made up of CEOs of trusts with more than one academy, who have pledged to work together to find common solutions to the challenges faced by resort schools.

The government announced yesterday that children in England will be able to get their first Pfizer vaccination from Monday, after chief medical officers (CMOs) ruled the jabs would “keep pupils in the classroom.”

The Blackpool Multi Academy Trust (MAT) Chief Executives group said it would be working with health services to facilitate the rollout of Covid jabs for 12 to 15-year-old pupils in resort schools.

The Blackpool Multi Academy Trust (MAT) Chief Executives group said it would be working with health services to facilitate the rollout of Covid jabs for 12 to 15-year-old pupils in resort schools.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the decision to roll out jabs to youngsters aged 12 to 15 took into account the “extremely powerful” evidence on the impact of the pandemic on children’s education, as well as the risks to their mental health from missing school.

Andy Mellor, chairman of the Blackpool Multi Academy Trust CEO group, said: “Blackpool Multi Academy Trust CEOs are aware that it is the intention of the government to offer a dose of the Pfizer vaccine to 12 -15 year olds in secondary schools across the country.

“Take up of the offer of a vaccine will be entirely voluntary

“The Blackpool Multi Academy Trust CEOs welcome any steps that will help to improve the health of the nation and help to keep students at school and avoid disruption to their

education.

“Secondary schools in Blackpool will therefore work with the appropriate health service bodies to facilitate the hosting of the offer of a vaccine to 12 to 15 year old students in the same way that schools work with health agencies in the roll out of the annual flu vaccine in schools and other NHS led activity.

“Any further information about the logistics of the vaccine offer roll out will be released by the health services in Blackpool in due course and is not a matter for Blackpool secondary schools.”

 

Armed police scrambled and youngsters locked inside classrooms after intruders burst into Blackpool school to threaten staff and pupils

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Armed police swooped on a North Shore school after two teenagers burst in to threaten pupils and staff.

 

Youngsters at Unity Academy, an all-through school in Warbreck Hill Road for both primary and secondary-aged children, were kept in class and doors locked after the two lads got inside at around 10.35am today.

Headteacher Stephen Cooke said the incident lasted around 20 minutes – with no pupils hurt and the majority unaware anything was even happening.

He said: “The situation was brought to a calm resolution with the support of both Unity staff and police officers.

Stephen Cooke, headteacher at Unity Academy in Warbreck Hill Road, North Shore, said the school was put in a 'partial lockdown' after two teens burst in at around 10.30am on Thursday, September 16, 2021

Stephen Cooke, headteacher at Unity Academy in Warbreck Hill Road, North Shore, said the school was put in a ‘partial lockdown’ after two teens burst in at around 10.30am on Thursday, September 16, 2021

“The normal running of the school day was not affected.”

Parents were alerted to the incident, added Mr Cooke, who thanked his staff and the police but said he couldn’t comment further “due to ongoing police involvement.”

Three years ago, the nearby Westminster Primary Academy was also forced into lockdown when a gunman wandered through Cromwell Road.

Both Westminster, in Claremont Road, and Unity are run by the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT).

Spokesman John Topping said the lads are believed to have scaled a fence before getting into the school and into a “small corridor”.

He said staff dialled 999 and challenged the pair, who were unable to get any farther.

Two ceiling tiles were damaged, he said, while he said senior teachers would now be looking to fit more magnetic locks – which require fobs to open – to further bolster security.

“All FCAT schools have a robust security policy in place,” he said, with staff taking part in regular drills.

Lancashire Police said two boys, aged 15 and 13, were arrested on suspicion of public order offences.

The 15-year-old was also arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

“It was reported two boys had entered the school, running around and making threats to students and staff,” the force said.

“No pupils were injured during the incident.”

 

 

Blackpool’s youngest politician shares vision of brighter future as he takes up Council job

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool’s youngest elected leader, who bravely ventured into the world of politics when he was just 15, has shared his vision of a brighter future for the resort’s struggling youths.

MYP Andrew Speight filming for the Make Your Mark vote on Blackpool Promenade

MYP Andrew Speight filming for the Make Your Mark vote on Blackpool Promenade

As Member of Youth Parliament for Blackpool, and the chair of the town’s Youth Council, 18-year-old Andrew Speight has championed the rights and opinions of young Sandgrownuns, pushing for better children’s mental healthcare, reforms to high-stakes GCSE exams and SATS, and the abolition of university tuition fees.

Now he hopes to tackle the ever-present problem of unemployment as he takes on the role of youth advisor at Blackpool Council, with a special focus on creating strategies to reduce the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) in the resort.

He said: “I hope to prevent young people from becoming NEET in the first place by chaning the education system and various other factors that contribute to young people becoming NEET. I want to see options for young people are NEET at the moment, and introduce a strategy so that young people, when they are in education, employment or training, they are kept there.

Andrew at Westminster

Andrew at Westminster

“The numbers nationally for young people who are NEET is about 728,000, which is far too high.

“This can lead to poor mental health, poor sleep, and poor physical health. It’s also an economic problem as we have more people who are dependent on benefits to get by.

“I have learned a lot about how young people in Blackpool feel about how the education system sets them up to fail in some respects. In a conference in July, what young people told us was that education has a skills deficit. They are only taught to pass exams, and not skills that will help them in the workplace, so when they leave education and go looking for work and are asked what skills they have, they have none. This puts them at a disadvantage.

“One proposed solution is the establishment of courses colleges in deprived areas where schools can book half days for children to gain experience in key sectors, such as hospitality, beauty, and farming.”

MYP Andrew Speight at a meeting with Kier Starmer and MP Cat Smith

MYP Andrew Speight at a meeting with Kier Starmer and MP Cat Smith

Andrew, who lives in South Shore, was elected MYP in February 2019 with the aim of reducing terrible exam stress wreaking havoc on children’s mental health.

Since then, he has taken on all sorts of issues, from supporting local homeless charities to calling out academic corruption to diversifying the town’s economy – all while studying for A-levels in modern world history, psychology and sociology at Blackpool Sixth Form.

He said: “My biggest passion was tackling exam stress, which ties into mental health, which is such a big thing for people in Blackpool.

“Growing up in Blackpool, and speaking to young people from Blackpool, I think has given me the experience I need to help people going forward. But originally, what inspired me to take action was national factors that you would likely be experiencing anywhere in the country. It all started when my brother was taking his Y6 SATS in 2016, the new system had been introduced and there were major problems on the first day and children were in tears in the classrooms. I just thought ‘this is wrong’, and that’s what caused me to get into politics in the first place.

Andrew has spoken publically about the importance of supporting children's mental health

Andrew has spoken publically about the importance of supporting children’s mental health

“It really branched out from there, but that’s where it all started.”

As MYP, Andrew’s prerogative was to be the voice of Blackpool’s youth on the political stage, both locally and nationally.

He was guided by the results of the annual Make Your Mark campaign, which asks children aged 11 to 18 to vote on the issues they would like Britain’s Youth Parliament to focus on in the upcoming year.

Mental health was given top priority by Blackpool young people three years running, from 2017 to 2019. Protecting the environment, cracking down on crime, ending child poverty, and providing a curriculum that teaches life skills in schools also ranked highly in the town.

Speaking at an MYP conference at the University of Leeds

Speaking at an MYP conference at the University of Leeds

Andrew spoke passionately in the House of Commons about the ‘immoral’ lack of funding for mental healthcare in December 2019, saying: “In my constituency we have the highest rate of boderline personlity disorders in the country, yet have the fewest BPD specialists in the country. We also receive the lowest levels of funding for our mental health provision. This is an explicit and an immoral injustice. In my constituency and undoubfully elsewhere there is a desperate plea that politicians lend their support to our mental health services, which are subject to radically unfair neglect.”

He liased with Blackpool MPs Paul Maynard and Scott Benton about the various challenges faced by young people, and wrote to the PM. Since then, the resort has seen an increase in its funding for its children’s and young people’s mental health services, with Blackpool Council recently pledging a £10m investment in children’s and adult social care for 2021/22.

Andrew also met Labour leader Kier Starmer and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith to discuss young people’s role in the future of British politics.

He was helped in his journey by youth outreach group Urpotential, on Central Drive, with funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, a charity which supports strong communities and social development.

He said: “(Becoming an MYP) has been the best decision I’ve ever taken in my life. I have very much enjoyed doing it. Sometimes it hasn’t been easy; before I was elected I wasn’t sure how national conferences worked and when I spoke against a motion I ended up with other MYPs standing up and shouting against me. But although it has been tough, it has given me a sense of purpose in life and has helped me make a difference for local young people, and young people nationally.

“I’m looking forward to helpint to make changes for young people. That’s what I’m really passionate about – making changes, making a difference – and I feel like that’s something I am going to achieve in this job.”

BLACKPOOL COUNCIL SAID…

Coun Jim Hobson, Blackpool Council cabinet member for children’s social care and schools, said: “Blackpool Council has been working for some time to support vulnerable young people who are at risk of ending up not in education, employment or training (NEET). The council recognises the importance of tackling NEET and in response to this a town wide strategy is in development which proposes to focus on three key themes – preventing young people becoming NEET, targeting further support for young people who are NEET and helping young people to stay in education, training or employment when they do start college or a job. A key part of this approach is to co-produce initiatives by working with young people. We are delighted that Andrew Speight is one of the youth workers employed by HeadStart to make this happen. There will be a consultation on tackling NEET in the Autumn with young people at the centre of this.”

Lytham St Annes High School to be demolished as new school plan is approved

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Fylde high school is set to be demolished and replaced  after proposals submitted to the council were given the green light by planning officials.

 

Lytham St Annes High School on Worsley Road in Ansdell had lodged proposals with Fylde Council to build a new large two-storey teaching building and a new sports centre at the site .

As part of the plans to erect the new buildings, the school would also then demolish the existing ones that it has replaced.

After being submitted in April, planning officials at the council have allowed the development to go ahead.

How the new school may lookHow the new school may look

As well as the new buildings, the school will also relocate a car park and as two sports courts as part of the large redevelopment.

In a flyer handed out to residents and parents earlier this year, the school said: “The proposals will ensure continuity of provision for the school and for community users during the build process, without the need for any temporary teaching accommodation.”

Among the 59 separate documents that were submitted to Fylde Council for the project, it states that the redevelopment is expected to be funded by the Department for Education as part of its ‘School Rebuilding Programme’ which was announced last year.

The school is expected to be moved further away from Worsley Road and it says that a two-storey building is required.

The plan states: “The development of the site layout has been informed by a number of factors; the constraints and setting of the site and the operation of the school.

“It also allows the building to be placed at a considerable distance from nearby residents.”

GCSE Results Day 2021: Carr Hill High School in Kirkham celebrates 72% standard pass rate in Maths and English

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Carr Hill High School in Kirkham has praised its Year 11 pupils for their commitment to learning as almost three-quarters achieve a standard pass in both maths and English.

 

Overall, 72 per cent of pupils at Carr Hill, in Royal Avenue, Kirkham, received a grade of 4 or higher in both Maths and English.

Some 83 per cent of pupils achieved grade four or higher in English, and 75 per cent achieved grade four or higher in Maths.

Some 53 per cent of pupils received Grade five or higher in both Maths and English.

Carr Hill pupils celebrate their GCSE successes. Pic: Carr Hill High SchoolCarr Hill pupils celebrate their GCSE successes. Pic: Carr Hill High School

Lancashire GCSE results 2021 LIVE: Students receive their results after exams ca…

Andrew Waller, headteacher, said: “All the staff at Carr Hill High School are very proud of the achievements of our Year 11. These students have had the most challenging two years and thoroughly deserve the results they have achieved today which reflect hard work and commitment, especially through the rigorous assessment period of the final few months.

“These grades genuinely reflect the performance of students across their years of study and will open doors for them as they prepare for the next stage of their lives. We wish all our students every success as they move on to college and apprenticeships.”

“Parents enjoyed taking photos and celebrating with their children, including proud parents of twin boys who are turning 16 today. Other parents were beaming with pride and recognising the achievements of their sons and daughters in difficult circumstances.

“Many are looking forward to celebrating their success over the coming days and weeks, enjoying the last of the summer holidays before moving onto local colleges, Sixth Forms and apprenticeships in the new academic year.

“The Carr Hill community wishes them all the very best for the future – massive congratulations and well done for all the hard work.”

 

GCSE Results Day 2021: A fifth of Rossall School Year 11s bag top grade 9

Rossall School in Fleetwood celebrated almost all subjects, including English, Maths and Science, being passed at grade seven or above on GCSE Results Day.

 

Over 55 per cent of all entries awarded were a grade 7 or above at the school in Broadway, Fleetwood, with a fifth of all grades achieving the top grade nine.

Pupils studying Art, Latin and enrichment subjects including Ancient Greek, Business Studies and Mandarin all achieved 100 per cent of their grades being 7 – 9.

Headteacher Jeremy Quartermain said “During this most difficult of years, Rossallians have excelled in every regard. These outstanding results are attributable to the indomitable spirit of our pupils and their teachers.

Rossall School celebrates top grades for GCSE Results Day 2021. Pic: Rossall SchoolRossall School celebrates top grades for GCSE Results Day 2021. Pic: Rossall School

“World-class teaching and the high aspirations and strong work ethic of our pupils serve to set Rossall apart as a unique community in this part of the UK.

“A burgeoning pupil, top-class academic results and sporting success on a national and international stage means that we will remain the obvious choice for families who want excellence within a compassionate and warm community.”

A significant proportion of the cohort achieved nothing less than a grade 7 this summer and with such a strong set of grades, backed up by excellent performance in rigorous examinations, pupils are looking forward to the start of their courses at Rossall Sixth Form.

Alice Christy achieved nine grade nines, a grade 8 and an A* in her Higher Project Qualification which was a detailed study of gender identity.

She said, “I am staying at Rossall to do my A Levels in chemistry, Biology, Maths and Psychology. I then hope to go on to study Medicine at university and ultimately train to become a doctor.”

Kai Wagner’s 12 GCSEs, all at grade 7 or above, were “a testament to his intellectual curiosity and determination to make the most of academic opportunities available on and off timetable,” Rossall staff said.

Among his grade eights and nines, Kai was most proud of his grade seven in Astronomy, a notoriously challenging subject offered in only a handful of UK schools that prepares pupils successfully for academically rigorous courses in theoretical physics.

He said, “I am very happy to have the opportunity to continue my education in Rossall, starting next year. I’ll be studying the IB with the subject Maths AA, Physics, Geography, History, German, and English, with the hope of studying Mathematics or Astrophysics at university.”

Sherman Wong joined Rossall school from Hong Kong at the start of Year 11.

Along with his commitment to football through the Rossall Football programme throughout the year, he also achieved a strong set of GCSE grades in nine subjects.

Sherman will be taking up BTEC Sport at Rossall in combination with Businesa s Studies A-level and the EPQ qualification.

 

GCSE Results Day 2021: Fleetwood High School headteacher praises pupils’ support for each other

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Fleetwood High School pupils received their GCSE results today – but as well as their academic achievements, the school’s headteacher commended their kindness and compassion.

 

Richard Barnes, headteacher at the school, in Broadway, said: “While we are celebrating so many students securing so many impressive sets of results, I think it is important that we look past the outcomes. These students have had to show tremendous resilience and determination. A lot has been asked of them, and we are delighted that so many of them are celebrating today.”

Pupils Tegan Hood, Aleks Bogdeva, Ben Darwin and Viktoria Byutulyuneva all performed “exceptionally well,” staff said, and have secured the grades that they need to follow their chosen destinations at college.

Tegan will take Psychology and Law, Aleks will take Maths, Psychology and Law and Ben will be taking Engineering.

Fleetwood High School Year 11s celebrate their GCSE results. Pic: JPI MediaFleetwood High School Year 11s celebrate their GCSE results. Pic: JPI Media

Viktoria was delighted to get both her English and her Maths, allowing her to move towards a career in teaching, teachers said.

Mr Barnes continued: “All our students have been so impressive. They have achieved as individuals, but what I take the most pride in is that they have worked together as a group to support one another. They have shown real kindness and compassion – and for that alone they deserve every accolade that we can bestow upon them.

“They are an extraordinary group of young people, who have been through an extraordinary experience. I would also like to thank and acknowledge my colleagues. All of the staff, from the teachers through to our brilliant cleaners, have played a role in helping today be one that will live in the memory.

“It has been a collective effort where everyone has done more than has been asked of them. While today is rightly about our pupils, every member of community should look at the smiles we are seeing and take a huge amount of satisfaction from that

Victoria Byutyuneva was shocked with her results... in a good way! Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaVictoria Byutyuneva was shocked with her results… in a good way! Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Tegan Hood celebrates her results. Pic: JPI Media

Tegan Hood celebrates her results. Pic: JPI Media

 

Blackpool photographers help resort youngsters capture creativity though camera lenses during library workshops

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Two Blackpool photographers joined forces to present resort children with opportunities to express their creativity during photography workshops.

 

Jill Reidy and Claire Griffiths have run Whipper Snappers photography workshops for the past seven years, and were overjoyed to have been able to bring photography back into little ones’ lives after lockdown.

Working with Blackpool libraries, the women were able to teach youngsters how to bring out their creativity through a camera lens, with sessions at Anchorsholme, Layton and Central libraries.

Whipper Snappers aims to equip children with the knowledge and passion to capture moments in new ways.

Claire said: “For me, and I think Jill would agree, taking photographs is a creative act so to be able to inspire young folks to take images in a new way feels really powerful.

“With a camera you can be brave, tell your own story and have an adventure. It is a visual language so sharing our love of photography with young folks in the town is amazing.

“Blackpool can be photographed in a disparaging way, so seeing the world through a child’s eyes is refreshing and somehow tells a different story.

“It was wonderful to see how excited the children were when we handed them DSLR cameras. Photography can be expensive so the chance to use a “real” camera can be really different to phone photography or use of iPads.”

An image produced by participants of the Whipper Snappers photography workshop run by Claire Griffiths and Jill Reidy. Pic: Whipper SnappersAn image produced by participants of the Whipper Snappers photography workshop run by Claire Griffiths and Jill Reidy. Pic: Whipper Snappers

Jill added: “We let the children experiment a bit, but we also set them certain activities. We asked them to find things beginning with different letters, taking portraits of people in different ways, and using different perspectives to capture things.

“It was really good fun, the kids enjoyed it. We’re arranging for different exhibitions for their photos at each library too.”

And both photographers also have their own exhibitions on show in the resort at the moment – capturing life at the seaside.

Jill has her exhibition, When the chairs went up, at Cafe No 5 in Cedar Square, which portrays myriad reflections on lockdown in Blackpool.

An image produced by participants of the Whipper Snappers photography workshop run by Claire Griffiths and Jill Reidy. Pic: Whipper SnappersAn image produced by participants of the Whipper Snappers photography workshop run by Claire Griffiths and Jill Reidy. Pic: Whipper Snappers

Claire’s work is also being showcased in the Seaside: Photographed exhibition in the forecourt of the Grundy Art Gallery in Queen Street, a national exhibition looking at the relationship between photography and the British seaside from the 1850s to the present.

 

A level Results Day 2021: The Blackpool Sixth Form College celebrates success

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Sixth-formers in the resort are celebrating their A-level results in the wake of a turbulent year of Covid lockdowns and home learning.

 

At The Blackpool Sixth Form College in Blackpool Old Road, students on 59 courses achieved a 100 per cent pass rate, with the college’s overall pass rate standing at 99.6 per cent.

The percentage of students achieving the highest grade possible also increased for the third consecutive year, despite the disruptions to learning Covid has brought over the last 18 months.

Jill Gray, Blackpool Sixth Principal, said: “We are delighted with these wonderful results and are extremely proud of our students. We cannot underestimate the significant effort that they have shown in achieving these exceptional outcomes.

Students jump for joy as they celebrate outstanding A-level results. Pic: Daniel Martino, JPI MediaStudents jump for joy as they celebrate outstanding A-level results. Pic: Daniel Martino, JPI Media

“The results truly reflect the hard work, adaptability,resilience and determination that students have shown during such an unsettling time in their education. We are also incredibly grateful for the invaluable support and understanding of our parents and carers.

“Of course, none of this would have been possible without the passion, dedication and professionalism of our amazing staff, who continually give their all and inspire our students to thrive and succeed.

“We wish our students every success and happiness as they move onto the next stage of their education or career.”

Across the UK the proportion of top grades handed out to students increased to 45 per cent this year.

Blackpook Sixth students and principal Jill Gray celebrate their grades and overall pass rate of 99.6 per cent. Pic: Daniel Martino, JPI MediaBlackpook Sixth students and principal Jill Gray celebrate their grades and overall pass rate of 99.6 per cent. Pic: Daniel Martino, JPI Media

The record-breaking results saw 37 per cent of all A-level students in England get three As or better – which is more than double the 17.9 per cent in 2019, the last year exams were held.

Students and staff faced myriad challenges while adapting to home learning during the pandemic, but their determination and dedication cemented thousands of university places nationwide.

Formal exams were cancelled this year for the second year running, after education settings were closed in January due to Covid.

Grades were set by teachers this year instead, which were then quality-assured by exam boards via an evidence-checking process – but fewer than one per cent of grades were amended.

Maisie Green will choose an apprenticeship with her grades, to pursue a career in financial services and investment banking. Pic: Daniel Martino, JPI MediaMaisie Green will choose an apprenticeship with her grades, to pursue a career in financial services and investment banking. Pic: Daniel Martino, JPI Media

Bruno Eaves, 18, from Wrea Green, came to Blackpool Sixth from AKS Lytham and achieved four A*s in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry.

Bruno is heading to University College London to study for a maths degree, which he hoped would open doors to a variety of potential careers.

He said: “I haven’t really decided what career path I want to go down yet, but I really enjoy maths so I chose to study that at university as a more general subject.

“There are so many things I could do with maths such as teaching or accounting, and I’m hoping to do drama in my spare time as well.

Bruno Eaves is heading to UCL to study maths. Pic: Daniel Martino, JPI MediaBruno Eaves is heading to UCL to study maths. Pic: Daniel Martino, JPI Media

Maisie Green, 18, from Hambleton, achieved two A*s in economics and geography and an A in business studies.

Instead of going to university, Maisie has chosen to undertake an apprenticeship in a bid to pursue a career in financial services and investment banking.

And she already has three apprenticeship options to choose from – with offers from Ernst and Young, J.P Morgan and RSM.

Maisie, who came to Blackpool Sixth from St Aidan’s High School, said: “To be honest, the lockdown was absolutely fine. We felt like we were with our teachers anyway while we working at home, and that got us through it.”

Lewis Melville, 18, achieved three distinction stars for BTECs in travel and tourism and musical theatre.

Lewis hoped his grades – which he will be taking to Manchester Metropolitan University to study international tourism management – will allow him to jet-set around the world with his sights set on America first.

Andrew Speight is going to work for Blackpool Council after achieving three A*s in modern history, psychology and sociology. Pic: Daniel Martino, JPI MediaAndrew Speight is going to work for Blackpool Council after achieving three A*s in modern history, psychology and sociology. Pic: Daniel Martino, JPI Media

He said: “I’m really excited about moving to Manchester, I really love it there. I’m hoping to do a placement overseas and of course America is the first place in mind, but I’d be happy anywhere.”

Hannah Doyle, 18, from Staining, collected her results with her Nan Heather Perkins, who said she was “extremely proud” of her granddaughter’s success.

Hannah achieved two A grades for music and music technology and a B in photography, which has secured her place at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts to study sound technology.

Hannah, a former Hodgson Academy pupil, said: “I did BTEC music first and on our course there was only four of us, so when I was in lower sixth we had to join up with upper sixth. I think there are fewer people taking music at A-Level because there aren’t as many taking it at GCSE anymore.

“I’m hoping to go into either live sound or studio recording in the future.”

Andrew Speight, 18, from South Shore, is pursuing a different path in life after sixth form – and has secured a new role as a youth advisor for Blackpool Council.

Andrew said he is passionate about encouraging young people to stay in the resort to build their careers, and will be advising the council on their strategy for youngsters who are not in education, training or employment.

He said: “I’m serving at the moment as member of youth parliament and the chairman of Blackpool youth council. So I have experience in the voices of young people already and I gave a speech in the House of Commons in 2019.

“I didn’t want to go to university, so I’ve had experience of job-hunting myself, and I’ve realised how hard it actually is of not having experience when all the jobs are asking for it.

“So I want to work on making sure there are opportunities for young people in the town, and help to create employment for young people, so they don’t need to move out of the area.”

 

Thames Primary Academy latest to adopt ‘school buddy’ road safety signs in Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A further set of school buddy road signs are to be installed at  Blackpool school in a bid to encourage parents and motorists to drive and park safely around pupils.

 

Thames Primary Academy and Nursery on Severn Road in South Shore is the latest school in the resort to be given a set of the six signs.

The signs, which match the schools’ uniforms, will hopefully help tackle the issues of inconsiderate and dangerous parking as well as speeding motorists..

The school buddies, inset, have been donated to the academy Coun Derek Robertson, who represents the Waterloo ward.

School buddy signs will soon be installed at Thames Primary Academy and NurserySchool buddy signs will soon be installed at Thames Primary Academy and Nursery

He requested £892.23 as part of his annual ward councillor funding.

Coun Robertson said: “They are something that is needed at our school to protect our pupils, parents and teachers. It is a great idea that I have seen at other school and Thames Academy approached me about it and I was happy to donate the funds.”

Gateway Academy and Unity Academy received signs back in May and they were paid for by the West Lancashire Freemasons Charity.

Westcliff Primary Academy was also given six signs in March following a ward grant donation from councillors Don Clapham and Paul Wilshaw.

 

Ascent Trampoline Park Blackpool to bring secondary school starters together from this weekend with special event

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool trampoline park is putting on special “open day” events for various Fylde coast secondary school starters after many schools cancelled open days during lockdown.

 

Many Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde secondary schools were unable to put on their annual open days for new year seven school starters amid Covid restrictions and social distancing guidance.

But Ascent Trampoline Park in Cornford Road, Marton, hopes to rectify that with a series of special events to bring youngsters starting school together.

It has planned a series of “open day” events for a variety of Fylde coast schools, which will include team-bonding games, food and the chance to bounce into year seven having already met new friends.

Ascent Trampoline Park is putting on special "open day" events for various Fylde coast secondary school starters after many schools cancelled open days during lockdown.Ascent Trampoline Park is putting on special “open day” events for various Fylde coast secondary school starters after many schools cancelled open days during lockdown.

A spokesman for Ascent said: “We understand how huge the transition from primary school to high school can be and understand it can be very daunting.

“That’s why each year we hold School Opening Day events that help soon-to-be Year Sevens from the same school meet up, make friends, take part in team bonding games and help ease that transition.”

The dates and times for each school are:

Sunday August 8

12pm – Lytham St Annes High School

4pm – AKS Independent School

Monday August 9

12pm – Hodgson Academy

4pm – Highfield Leadership Academy

Tuesday August 10

12pm – Montgomery Academy

4pm – Aspire Academy

Wednesday August 11

12pm – Armfield Academy

4pm – St George’s School

Thursday August 12

4pm – South Shore Academy

Friday August 13

4pm – Fleetwood High School

Saturday August 14

12pm – Millfield School

4pm – Carr Hill High School

Sunday August 15

12pm – Kirkham Grammar School

4pm – St Aidan’s High School

Monday August 16

12pm – Garstang Community Academy

4pm – Rossall School

Tuesday August 17

12pm – St Bedes High School

4pm – St Mary’s Catholic Academy

Wednesday August 18

12pm – Cardinal Allen High School

4pm – Baines School

Thursday August 19

12pm – St Annes Grammar School

4pm – Unity Academy

Each event lasts for 90 minutes and includes food, team-bonding exercises and entry to the trampolines for £13.95 per child.

Email Ascent or ring 01253 768868 to book a place.

Blackpool Sixth teacher welcomes Department for Education’s Latin in schools plan

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool teacher has welcomed the education secretary’s plans to reintroduce Latin into some secondary schools, and hoped resort pupils will be among those who will benefit from the scheme.

 

Blackpool Sixth teacher Peter Wright regularly works with charity Classics For All to deliver Latin in Fylde coast schools, including St John's Primary School in Poulton (pictured).

Blackpool Sixth teacher Peter Wright regularly works with charity Classics For All to deliver Latin in Fylde coast schools, including St John’s Primary School in Poulton (pictured).

Education secretary Gavin Williamson announced over the weekend that the £4 million Department for Education Latin Excellence scheme will be rolled out to 40 secondary schools across England.

The scheme will be rolled out to 11 to 16-year-old pupils from September 2022.

It was hoped, the Government said, that by introducing Latin back into state schools, the subject would shed its “elitist” stereotype.

Blackpool Sixth teacher Peter Wright said teaching youngsters Latin would also benefit their English and modern foreign language learning.Blackpool Sixth teacher Peter Wright said teaching youngsters Latin would also benefit their English and modern foreign language learning.

Currently, only around 3 per cent of state schools in England teach Latin on the curriculum, in comparison to just below half of all independent schools.

Mr Williamson said: “We know Latin has a reputation as an elitist subject which is only reserved for the privileged few. But the subject can bring so many benefits to young people, so I want to put an end to that divide.”

The Latin Excellence programme will also give pupils the opportunity to visit Roman Heritage sites to broaden classics knowledge further, the Department added.

National charity Classics For All, which already works with schools nationwide to provide Latin learning to youngsters, said the scheme was a “good start.”

Jimmy Mulville, chairman of the charity, said: “Any move by government to re-establish the teaching of any of the classical subjects in state schools is most welcome so this initiative focusing on Latin is a good start to that ultimate goal.”

Blackpool Sixth teacher Peter Wright, who teaches A-Level Ancient History and works with Classics For All to deliver classics subjects to Fylde coast pupils, also welcomed the announcement.

The Blackpool Sixth Form College wins national award for promoting Latin and Cla…

However, Mr Wright said he was “cautiously excited” amid uncertainties of which areas in England would benefit, but hoped Blackpool would be chosen for funding to teach Latin.

He said: “It’s very good news, I’m cautiously excited though as there are only 40 schools being piloted and £4 million isn’t a huge amount of money in education.

“But it’s definitely a good start for education to finally realise there is value in it. It’s not a case of learning Latin for the sake of it, that’s a very outdated idea.

“If you look at any language and the academic languages used in the classroom, it contains a higher degree of Latin words. If we’re teaching kids even very basic Latin, we’re giving them the gift of etymology to further their understanding of those languages.”

Mr Wright has worked with Classics For All for the past four years, and regularly teams up with teachers across the Fylde coast to deliver lessons in classics to their pupils.

He said working with the charity gives schools the chance to introduce fully-funded classics subjects such as Latin and Greek with minimal training required for teachers.

He continued: “We conducted a research policy with two Year Six cohorts at Norbreck Academy, and the results were phenomenal, especially when it came to boys.

“Boys showed a 74 per cent significant improvement in their literacy skills after learning Latin, so it really is a game changer. There were such huge improvements, and particularly amongst pupil premium pupils.

“Introducing Latin has such a profound effect on language learning, not only for English but for modern foreign languages and oracy, the public speaking and debate side of things as well.”

Teachers who are interested in introducing Latin to their pupils before the Government scheme is launched can email Peter to discuss further.

 

Blackpool Sixth College: how to enrol for 2021

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The future might seem uncertain, but that shouldn’t stop youngsters making important decisions about their studies.

 

These are strange times, but the disruption brought by Covid-19 doesn’t mean students’ futures are on hold

These are strange times, but the disruption brought by Covid-19 doesn’t mean students’ futures are on hold

These are strange times, but the disruption brought by Covid-19 doesn’t mean students’ futures are on hold.

Even though Year 11 students have now finished school, there is still time to apply for a September place at award-winning Blackpool Sixth college.

For younger students, the start of a new school year is a good point to begin thinking carefully about where they want to be in the future.

For younger students, the start of a new school year is a good point to begin thinking carefully about where they want to be in the futureFor younger students, the start of a new school year is a good point to begin thinking carefully about where they want to be in the future

Choose to succeed

Jon McLeod, Head of Admissions at Blackpool Sixth, said year nine or year ten is a good time for youngsters to start thinking about which college best suits them and what subjects they might take.

“If you have a career in mind already, then build that into the subjects you choose to study in sixth form and beyond,” he says.

“Also, pick subjects you enjoy. That often gets missed by parents who want to guide children towards subjects they think will lead to a good job. If a student isn’t interested, they are unlikely to succeed and will probably change their mind at some point.”

There is still time to apply for a September place at award-winning Blackpool Sixth collegeThere is still time to apply for a September place at award-winning Blackpool Sixth college

Know your type

How do you learn? Do you prefer to put pen to paper in an exam setting, or build up grades as you go through practical work? A Levels suit students who enjoy an academic approach with lots of theory to learn, while BTEC or vocational-style courses suit others who like to put the theory they are learning into practice in a context related to particular jobs.

Blackpool Sixth offers a choice of ways to learn. Students can opt to focus on A Levels or BTEC qualifications, or a combination of both.

“Our combined programme means students might pursue a health and social care BTEC but also an A Level in sociology,” adds Mr McLeod. “It’s a good way to group together courses to create an individual package of learning.”

Keep an open mind

Students should always consider subjects they might not have experienced before. Blackpool Sixth, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, offers more than 50 different courses including subjects like A Level psychology, electronics and textiles, BTEC Level 3 sport and exercise science and travel and tourism. All topics which students might not have explored in school.

“It can be good to keep options open and choose courses that could lead in a number of directions,” added Mr McLeod. “For example, students might combine art, media studies and English language, giving them the chance to go to art school if they want or switch direction and study English or journalism instead.”

Plan to succeed

University and the world of work might seem far off but look around now at what is offer so you can plot your course properly. Check university websites, UCAS and apprenticeship programmes to see what qualifications they are looking for.

If you’re planning to start sixth form college in September, chat now with college staff to discuss your options.

Why choose Blackpool Sixth?

Blackpool Sixth Form College offers a diverse range of courses and a flexible approach to learning for 16 to 19-year-olds. Because it is strictly for that age group, the college can focus on helping students achieve their aims for the next stage in their lives, whether they choose a vocational route, A Levels or a combination.

With a 100% pass success rate across 50 subjects, and 99% of leavers going on to positive destinations, it has a proven track record in helping young people on the path to success. While its BTEC College of the Year award is proof of its strong vocational programme, approach to learning and links with employers.

Enrolment for next term takes place online on Thursday 12th, Friday 13th, and Monday 16th August – contact admissions@blackpoolsixth.ac.uk to apply if you are a school leaver and haven’t applied to the college yet.

Blackpool Sixth will be holding an open day on Saturday, 2nd October, and another on Saturday, 13th November.

Find out more at www.blackpoolsixth.ac.uk

 

Layton library gifts books to Blackpool youngsters to encourage excitement for reading

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Layton library held virtual assemblies for resort primary school children in a bid to get them reading more during the summer holidays.

 

Youngsters in Years Two and Five at Devonshire Primary Academy in Devonshire Road and Year Five at Layton Primary School in Meyler Avenue took part in the library’s first virtual assemblies.

They were given books paid for by Layton ward grant funding by councillors Kath Benson and Martin Mitchell, in a bid to encourage a love of reading and improvement in literacy skills.

Coun Benson and Layton library manager Jane Berry spoke to the youngsters about the library, in hopes it would spark a keen interest in delving deeper into the world of storytelling.

Year Five at Layton Primary School with their gifted books. Pic: Blackpool CouncilYear Five at Layton Primary School with their gifted books. Pic: Blackpool Council

Coun Benson said: “It was tremendous and an absolute pleasure to virtually visit the children. We were asked some amazing questions about the number and types of books that the library has, most popular authors, when the library was built and so much more. It was fantastic to see their curiosity and I hope that it will inspire them to read more.”

Coun Mitchell added: “It was terrific to be part of this project and to encourage the gift of reading amongst the new generation. Of course when a child opens a book it reveals a pathway to a hitherto unseen world, a world where imagination and the senses can triumph.”

The project is part of a wider initiative among all Blackpool libraries – the summer reading challenge “Wild World Heroes,” which encourages children to keep up with their reading over the holidays.

Layton library will continue working with Layton and Devonshire schools, to encourage pupils to become members and nurture a love of reading.

Jane Berry, library manager, said: “It was lovely to be asked by a child about when I had joined a library myself. It was a joy to share my memory that I had joined at the age of around seven and used to visit the library on Saturday mornings on my bike with my dad once a fortnight.”

Natalie Dean, a teacher at Devonshire Primary Academy, added: “In 2020 we set ourselves a reading goal to ensure that all of our pupils had a chance to not only visit Layton library, but also become lifelong members, so they could access the wonderful opportunities that the library brings.

“Before Covid temporarily closed the library, we had managed to bring several year groups on a trip to see the library and it was amazing to watch the children in awe and wonder, marvelling at the limitless choices on the bookshelves. For some pupils, it was their first time inside a library outside of our school library.

“We are thrilled to have been asked to be a part of the local literacy campaign being led by our local councillors and we have been lucky enough to be visited ‘virtually’ for story time. We look forward to being able to continue our work with the library.”

 

The Blackpool Sixth Form College wins national award for promoting Latin and Classical History in Fylde coast schools

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Sixth is celebrating recognition for teaching classics subjects to youngsters at Fylde coast schools, and four of its students have been given special bursaries to study classics at university.

 

The college won acclaim from London-based charity Classics for All, which has a mission to increase the study of Latin and Ancient Greek, plus other aspects of the classical world.

Staff and students across the country were recognised by the charity in celebration of its 10th birthday, and Blackpool Sixth A-level Ancient History teacher Peter Wright was among the recipients of a teaching award.

Mr Wright, who is also the coordinator of the Fylde Coast Classics Network, received the award for the work he has spearheaded not only within the college, but also in nine Fylde coast primary and secondary schools.

A Latin assembly at St. John’s Catholic Primary School in Poulton, part of the Fylde Coast Classics network. Pic: Blackpool SixthA Latin assembly at St. John’s Catholic Primary School in Poulton, part of the Fylde Coast Classics network. Pic: Blackpool Sixth

He has trained six local primary schools to teach Latin bringing the language to over 400 primary pupils in the resort, and introduced classics to three secondary schools and a Pupil Referral Unit.

Mr Wright has worked with Classics for All to train teachers to deliver Latin lessons as an additional part of the curriculum, and the work with schools has had a major impact on literacy scores for pupils.

“The results have been really impressive,” he said.

“73 per cent of the boys involved in the project improved their literacy scores, around 65 per cent of the girls and 55 per cent of children from low income households.”

Mr Wright was also informed that the charity would be providing a £2,000 bursary to four of the college’s students who will be studying classics at university level.

Students Callum Jones, Kane Barnish, Thomas Owen and Matt Mitchell were the lucky recipients of the bursaries.

Matt, who has.a conditional offer from York University to study archaeology, said, “My passion for history, classics and archaeology was furthered by my time at Blackpool Sixth where I have been able to study ancient history at A-level which would not be an option at many other colleges.

“This has been further supported by the passion for the subject from the tutors that I have witnessed over my two years there which has again furthered my interest in the subject.”

Fellow ancient history student Kane Barnish said: “It was a really enjoyable course with interesting and unique modules which covered a wide time period and

themes. It was also taught in a very dynamic and fun way, keeping the course fresh over the two years.”

Kane, who plans to go to Swansea University to study Egyptology and ancient history, added: “The bursary will help me as it will help cover living costs and make the first year at university less stressful, allowing me to focus on my studies.”

Mr Wright added: “It is wonderful to lead the partnership between Blackpool Sixth and Classics for All. I’m incredibly proud that our work in Blackpool has been recognised nationally. The enthusiasm of teachers and teaching assistants in the schools involved has been inspiring. It is fantastic to see Latin being used effectively to boost English vocabulary, aid literacy, improve oracy and public speaking, and promote language learning.

Blackpool pupils condemn racist abuse towards England players after Euro 2020 final

Youngsters at a resort school penned messages of support for three England footballers racially abused after missing penalties during the Euro 2020 defeat to Italy.

 

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka were subjected to vile remarks online after Sunday’s loss – but have been swamped by messages of kindness, love, and tolerance in the days since.

Pupils at Westcliff Primary Academy, in Crawford Avenue, Bispham, were among those spending time writing cards and well-wishes.

“I’m sorry people are being unkind,” Year One youngster Libby said. “I think you are all amazing.”

Year Five pupils Ben, Jaxson, Oliver, Lily and Ella with their letters of support to England players who were racially abused after the Euro 2020 final.Year Five pupils Ben, Jaxson, Oliver, Lily and Ella with their letters of support to England players who were racially abused after the Euro 2020 final.

Her classmate Flynn Wright added: “Well done for playing your best and getting into the final. Thank you for everything you have done for our country.”

Year Six children Eszme and Daniel wrote to Arsenal’s Saka: “You had trained hard for getting this far and you don’t deserve all this abuse, all for your skin colour. The Euros have brought this country together and people should stop trying to break your spirits and make you quit football.

“To be only 19 years old and get into the Euros is a massive achievement and you should be proud.”

Yesterday, Sean Bullen, former headteacher at Millfield in Thornton and now director of education at the Fylde Coast Academy Trust, which runs schools across the Fylde coast, said: “As a teacher of 31 years I can categorically state that racism in schools is much less of an issue than it was previously.

Year Six pupils Niamh, Jess and Amber.Year Six pupils Niamh, Jess and Amber.

“Equally I also recognise there will always be more we can do.”

A petition to permanently ban racists from football matches passed a million signatures in just two days.

A trio of campaigners, who call themselves The Three Hijabis due to their heritage and dress, have seen their petition go viral.

“We feel validated in our resistance to racism and that what we have been able to articulate is the sentiment that is held nationwide,” one, Huda Jaward, said.

Year One pupils Libby and Flynn with their letters of support for England players.Year One pupils Libby and Flynn with their letters of support for England players.

Blackpool Gateway Academy pupils all scream for ice cream after a challenging academic year during Covid pandemic

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool academy treated its pupils to an on-site ice cream van this week as a reward for their achievements and tolerance during a difficult year for schools.

 

Blackpool Gateway Academy in Seymour Road was granted a £400 sponsorship from Preston-based education recruitment firm Vision for Education, which saw an ice cream van park up in the playground.

Children across all year groups were given the opportunity to spend time in the sun with their favourite ice creams as recognition of their achievements working remotely and in school during the pandemic.

Emma Frankland, deputy headteacher, said: “Gateway has not only also undergone the challenges faced by the pandemic with bubble closures and isolation periods – as every school has – but has also undergone a rapid and rigorous school improvement journey.

Pupils with Lewis Smillie from Vision for Education with their ice creams. Pic: Fylde Coast Academy Trust.Pupils with Lewis Smillie from Vision for Education with their ice creams. Pic: Fylde Coast Academy Trust.

“The team here at Gateway has been fantastic, everyone has pulled together to ensure the best possible learning and wellbeing experiences for all children, whether via remote learning or being physically in the classroom despite these difficult times.

“Everyone in the Gateway community was greatly appreciative of the kind gesture donated by Vision for Education. It was a lovely way to round off a very challenging but positive year.”

Lewis Smillie, from Vision for Education’s Preston branch, added: “We’re passionate about making a difference in education – proudly putting children and young people at the heart of everything we do.

“We actively work with local schools to offer educational and creative incentives and competitions which encourage and motivate pupils to read more and develop their skills, help improve attendance and promote positive behaviour.”

Pupils and teachers with Lewis Smillie from Vision for Education, which funded the ice cream van, enjoying ice creams. Pic: Fylde Coast Academy Trust.Pupils and teachers with Lewis Smillie from Vision for Education, which funded the ice cream van, enjoying ice creams. Pic: Fylde Coast Academy Trust.

Pupils and teachers with Lewis Smillie from Vision for Education, which funded the ice cream van, enjoying ice creams. Pic: Fylde Coast Academy Trust.Pupils and teachers with Lewis Smillie from Vision for Education, which funded the ice cream van, enjoying ice creams. Pic: Fylde Coast Academy Trust.

 

Creative Blackpool students shine in virtual art exhibition

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Graduating students at Blackpool and the Fylde College have launched a virtual exhibition to showcase their artistic talents.

 

REMOTE, the exhibition, is a collection of work from students leaving college this year, who were unable to show their art in person to the public due to Covid restrictions.

Their art is available to view online via a makeshift virtual tour of an art gallery, whereby viewers can move around “buildings” featuring work from further and higher education students.

The exhibition was launched in conjunction with Creative Lancashire to spotlight some of the most outstanding entries, and was curated by Blackpool School of Arts coordinator Aaron Tonks.

One of the virtual "rooms" showcasing graduating Blackpool and the Fylde College students' work. Pic: Aaron TonksOne of the virtual “rooms” showcasing graduating Blackpool and the Fylde College students’ work. Pic: Aaron Tonks

Aaron said: “I have seen a huge variety of students work during the planning, curation and building of this exhibition and I am enormously impressed by the creativity and quality on show, especially after the disruption caused by Covid-19 over the last year.

“Our students have shown us that creativity and the arts shine brighter in times of crisis.”

This year, the college and Creative Lancashire joined up to host the Industry Award event.

Nominees are highlighted throughout the exhibition with the Creative Lancashire logo, and the three categories of awards are based on Blackpool School of Arts’ values of community, connectivity and process, as well as winners for the overall further education Student of the Year and higher education Student of the Year.

One of the virtual "rooms" showcasing graduating Blackpool and the Fylde College students' work. Pic: Aaron TonksOne of the virtual “rooms” showcasing graduating Blackpool and the Fylde College students’ work. Pic: Aaron Tonks

Ed Matthews-Gentle from Creative Lancashire, and judge for the college’s Industry Awards, added: “It was a pleasure to be associated with the Blackpool School of Art Awards. Our panel of industry peers were incredibly impressed by all nominated students.

“Well done to the winners, and congratulations to all staff and students for navigating such a difficult year and still delivering such staggeringly impressive work.”

The REMOTE art exhibition can be viewed here.

 

Blackpool schools opt out of ‘One Britain One Nation’ singing amid Covid guidance confusion

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool school leaders have said their resort pupils won’t be joining in with the Government’s call for children to sing a patriotic song tomorrow, because singing “still isn’t allowed” in schools.

The Government is encouraging school children to sing a patriotic song which celebrates a “strong Britain great nation.”

The move is part of One Britain One Nation Day on Friday, June 25 – which is a government-backed campaign that aims to instil pride in Britain.

In a post on social media, the Department for Education said: “We’re encouraging schools across the UK to celebrate One Britain One Nation Day on 25 June, when children can learn about our shared values of tolerance, kindness, pride and respect.”

The OBON website describes its vision as to “create a strong, fair, harmonious and a proud British Nation, celebrating patriotism and respect for all our people”.

But leaders in schools across the resort said their pupils will not be participating in the event, largely due to guidance set out by the Government itself about singing.

A spokesman for Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT), one of the resort’s biggest trusts which runs schools including Montgomery Academy, Gateway Academy and Westcliff Primary Academy, said: “The answer is going to be no, largely because [they’ve] only just heard about it, and the other thing is, singing still isn’t allowed in schools.

“Assemblies haven’t been held for ages, so it’s not been approved as yet.”

One Britain One Nation 2021: Blackpool school leaders say they won't be participating in OBON Day tomorrow - because they were not told about it soon enough by the Department of Education, and singing restrictions still aren't lifted in schools. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)One Britain One Nation 2021: Blackpool school leaders say they won’t be participating in OBON Day tomorrow – because they were not told about it soon enough by the Department of Education, and singing restrictions still aren’t lifted in schools. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Government guidance around singing in schools during the pandemic outlines the “additional risk” of singing in schools – but allows for music lessons to continue to take place.

It says: “There may be an additional risk of infection in environments where singing, chanting, playing wind or brass instruments, dance or drama takes place. Singing, wind and brass playing should not take place in larger groups such as choirs and ensembles, or assemblies unless significant space, natural airflow and strict social distancing and mitigation can be maintained.

“You should take particular care in music, dance and drama lessons to observe social distancing where possible. Additionally, you should keep any background or accompanying music to levels which do not encourage teachers or other performers to raise their voices unduly.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education said: “The department has not asked people to sing songs or endorsed any specific materials for One Britain One Nation day.”

But on June 3, it shared a Twitter post from One Britain One Nation, which said: “Inspiring a generation. Urging all schools to join us on 25th June for #OBONDAY2021 campaign supported by @educationgovuk to spread the message of #Pride #Unity #Love #Respect for all through a song composed by @StJohnsCE.”

The Musicians Union also advises music teachers to “avoiding singing, wind and brass playing in larger groups unless there is sufficient space and ventilation, or the activity can take place outdoors.”

Despite this, a promotional video for OBON Day showed children waving flags and singing the lyrics: “We are Britain and we have one dream, to unite all people in one great team.

“Our nation survived through many storms and many wars.”

The campaign was founded by retired police inspector Kash Singh, who said the concept was “born from my dream as a police officer” after coming to the UK as a six-year-old boy who “couldn’t speak a word of English”.

He said he set up the campaign in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in 2013 after retiring from the police force in 2012.

But Anchorsholme Academy headteacher Graeme Dow said although the One Britain One Nation song was a “jolly little tune,” he was not aware of the campaign being promoted locally.

He added that despite calls for singing nationally, the Government still had not fully permitted the activity in schools.

Mr Dow said: “It has certainly not been promoted to schools locally, not that I am aware of. It is a jolly little tune and it is always lovely to hear children singing.

“As this is the first I have really heard about it, that would not be enough time for us to prepare the children to sing it. As such, we would not be able to take part, even if we were asked to do so (and nobody has asked us).

“I’m not sure how the government is expecting schools to sing when they haven’t as yet fully lifted the restrictions that have been placed on singing in schools.”