Priority 2: Supporting vulnerable children

Our aim

To support for vulnerable children and families to improve attendance and outcomes and reduce exclusions from school

What is the issue?

Although there has been improvement this year, the proportion of pupils excluded for fixed periods and permanently from school remains too high, even when compared with statistical neighbours. The Pupil Referral Unit is over capacity. Absences from Blackpool’s schools are also high, and disadvantaged pupils are particularly likely to be absent from school.

We know this has a negative impact on attainment. There is a rise in the number of Blackpool children who are being educated at home. School leaders have expressed concern about the reasons for parents making this choice and the standard of education they may be receiving at home. All of these trends are most evident in secondary schools.

Blackpool has high levels of deprivation, and the highest proportion of children in need and looked after children (children in care) in England. These numbers of vulnerable children create challenges for schools which have to balance academic progress with their pastoral role.

Families, parents and young carers are equally affected by this challenging backdrop.
Work is needed to better engage this community and support them in providing a home learning environment for children and young people that is conducive to learning, development and growth.

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What are we doing?

  • We are delivering targeted appropriate interventions to those groups of children and families who will benefit most, including those children at risk of not attending or being excluded from school. Our  “Team around the school” project providing targeted support has been approved and will be implemented from autumn 2018.
  • Training to school leaders to support behaviour management has rolled out. Blackpool School Improvement Board will agree which schools we will target in the Autumn term.
  • A review of Special Educational Needs and Disability and alternative provision in Blackpool is completed. We will consider if future training is required.

Our targets

  • Rates of fixed-term and permanent exclusions in Blackpool’s secondary schools will be halved.
  • Rates of persistent absence in Blackpool’s secondary schools will have reduced to below the national average.
  • Year on year improvement in resilience of children (using measures such as Mental Toughness Questionnaire or Headstart’s resilience surveys).