Transforming Education in Blackpool: Literacy for all

 “We all want our children and young people to thrive, and to be happy, healthy and successful.” That’s what Cllr Kath Benson, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Education and Aspiration says.

Blackpool Council has released its latest plans to transform education in Blackpool and enable children to reach their potential. The Education Vision and Strategy 2020-30 set out its goals of improving the quality of education and outcomes for families focusing on two key priorities: improving standards of literacy and promoting inclusive practice.

This strategy is the vision of the joint efforts of Blackpool Council and partners including Blackpool Education Improvement Board (BEIB).

One of the key changes and proposals in the plans includes the grouping of schools into three geographical locations: Blackpool north, central and south, with each having its own leader for education.

Reading Challenge Solaris Centre
A summer Reading Challenge event hosted by Blackpool Libraries

In addition to these key priorities, the document outlines its aims as:

  • Reducing the numbers of children who are NEET (not in employment, education or training)
  • Improving the levels of attainment and progress for children across the town
  • Reducing the numbers of pupils who are excluded from schools
  • Improving attendance

Since its creation in 2015, the Blackpool Education Improvement Board’s works to make sure that all children can access a positive, inspirational environment for learning. They’re proud to report that:

  • Primary School standards in Blackpool are at al all-time high, with 94% of primary schools rated as ‘good’ or better by Ofsted.
  • Fifty percent of the secondary schools in Blackpool are rated as ‘good’.
  • Sixth Form and Special School provision within the town is outstanding; and that
  • Higher Education provision is thriving, offering ways into university for undergraduate or postgraduate study.
Literacy from cradle to grave

Many adults wish that they felt more comfortable and more confident with reading, writing and speaking in public. These skills can help us to enjoy life more, enable us to understand new ideas and help us share our creativity by putting forward our own thoughts and dreams. Being a confident speaker and reader can help us secure a good job and even help us start up our own business. So, being good at speaking and listening and reading and writing are important in so many ways and their impact is felt throughout everyone’s lives.

There’s already a lot of good literacy work out there. Blackpool Libraries have always been at the heart of local communities across the town with not only a wide range of easy-to-access books (in person and online) but plenty of activities of all ages, such as Wordpool literature festival and online events such as the Twitter book club #Bookpool

Wordpool Festival Family Day - CJ Griffiths Photography
“There’s a lot of good work going on but every early years setting, school, college, father, mother, carer, child, student, resident knows they can improve their speaking and listening and reading and writing skills.
We are ambitious because we love Blackpool and we want all of its residents, regardless of age, to benefit from the joy, discovery and understanding that comes from strong oracy and literacy skills.”
Blackpool’s literacy pledge

The council have asked every person and partner organisation has been asked to commit to the following:

  • I will promote literacy and oracy with all those I meet and live with
  • I will lead by example so I will set myself a reading challenge per week and will let others know about it and when I achieve it
  • I will encourage all young people and children I have regular contact with to read often and I will, • if appropriate, accompany them to the library
  • I will consider undertaking training on how better to support children and
    young people in literacy and oracy


Your organisation
  • I will promote literacy and oracy with all those I work with to ensure that Blackpool becomes a better place to live, work and play.
  • I will encourage the company and/or people I work with to create a plan for encouraging the employees and their families to read more for pleasure
  • I will encourage my employer to emphasise the enjoyment of reading in a public space
  • I will use Blackpool’s Literacy Logo on all communications from the business

Cllr Lynn Williams, Blackpool Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Our vision for education in Blackpool is that we want all children and young people to achieve their full potential in education, learning and future employment. We need to ensure that we can give our children the best possible start they deserve. Our 2020-30 education strategy aims to deliver this and will produce a sustainable quality provision for all pupils and improve career prospects and life chances.”

We certainly hope that the support for literacy and speaking skills in this education strategy extends not only to reading for pleasure and creative writing, but also the wider arts which can also offer our children and young people enhanced wellbeing and greater employability.

What was your favourite book as a child/teen?


Header image: Schools’ Shakespeare in Stanley Park – Jill Reidy, Red Snapper Photography


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