Letter to staff and governors following late March 2023 BEIB meeting

20 March 2023


Blackpool Education Improvement Board (BEIB)

I am the independent chair of the Blackpool Education Improvement Board. I took up this role in September 2020, and have been supporting the Council’s work in a number of ways since then. Recently, I have been trying to strengthen the digital offer for schools, pupils and their families as well as trying to ensure we use all of our local assets in attracting new staff to the town.

The BEIB meets five times a year and draws together the main groups of school and trust leaders as well as governors and younger voices. I try to attend the various representative group meetings, such as the Primary and Special Headteacher Group and the Trust CEO Group so that I am aware of emerging issues in good time. This ensures that discussions at the BEIB are relevant.

In recent months I have begun to chair the town’s Priority Education Investment Area Board which oversees spending priorities determined by the DfE.

The BEIB last met on 8 February and 5 February 2021 considered a wide range of issues raised at the previous meeting including:

The impact of the government’s reaccreditation of Teacher Training including the direct effect on the Fylde Coast SCITT.

The recently held Big Education Conversation that included many local young people who were clear about changes they wanted to see.

An update on the impact of School Mental Health Teams, a national initiative being rolled out in our region.
The meeting then heard directly from senior colleagues at Highfield Leadership Academy and Montgomery Academy on the progress they had made with funding received from the local authority to improve attendance and reduce fixed and permanent exclusions. We agreed to visit all secondary schools in receipt of the funding to better understand how each academy was using their resources. These visits are currently underway.

The BEIB escalates any important issues that may rely on cross service attention to the Children and Families Partnership Board. The most recent meeting was postponed because there was a planning meeting of all services to be led by the Director of Children’s Services in mid March. The meeting was held last week.
The town has a 10 year education strategy that links closely with the town’s economic regeneration plan. A key component of both are continuing improvements in literacy. Elaine Allen, the Director of the English Hub, based in Blackpool gave an update on improvements in literacy standards and programmes being implemented to further support this work.

At each meeting we look closely at the Data Dashboard that summarises 25 or so of the key indicators. This meeting we considered data from the Key Stage 3 GL Assessments as well as the reasons for an increase in Elective Home Education.

A few weeks prior to the meeting the government announced its latest plans for levelling up. Blackpool was successful in securing £40m for a Multiversity project. This will enable Blackpool and Fylde College to develop an area close to the Council Offices in the town centre into specialist provision for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. The hope is that this will attract new businesses to the area as well as students from Lancaster University who will undertake their studies at the new centre. Colleagues from the College explained the project and answered questions. It was agreed that the Governor Network, who have representation at the BEIB would invite colleagues to explain the opportunities Multiversity will provide for the town.

The next BEIB meeting will be held in late April. If you wish to raise an issue for the Board to consider then please escalate it through your Headteacher, who can bring it the next representative group.

If you are interested in the work of the BEIB or my thoughts on education matters then please follow me on twitter at @FrankWNorris or at www.FrankWNorris.co.uk.

Best wishes,

Frank Norris
Independent Chair of the BEIB


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