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School Life

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Introduction

As at January 2017, there are 32 Primary Schools, 7 Secondary Schools; (1 Through School is included in both the Primary and Secondary numbers given) and 3 Special schools, in Blackpool. In addition Blackpool and the Fylde College and Blackpool Sixth Form College are the 2 major post-16 education providers within the authority.

All of the secondary schools are either academies or in the process of converting to academy status. There are 16 Primary School Academies in Blackpool together with 1 (primary) free school. There are 15 Primary schools maintained by the local authority together with 2 Special Schools. One Special School is an academy.

Figures from the January 2017 School Census show a school population of 18,977 pupils, 11,642 of whom are on roll within a primary school, and 6,723 attend a secondary school in Blackpool. There are 387 pupils attending Special Schools.

Whilst the majority of Blackpool's primary schools are judged by Ofsted to be good (with one outstanding), only one of the secondary schools has been judged as good. Data shows the proportion of primary pupils reaching the expected standard at key stage 2 in Blackpool is slightly higher than the national average, however, secondary school attainment falls behind the national average significantly and the rate of progress made by pupils is one of the lowest in the country.1  

Definitions of School Types

Academy schools are state-funded schools in England which are directly funded by the Department for Education and independent of local authority control.

Free schools are set up by an organization or a group of individuals, funded by the government but not controlled by the local authority.

Local Authority maintained schools are overseen, or 'maintained', by the Local Authority.

Special Schools cater for children with special needs.

For further information please see the New Schools Network brief.

Facts and Figures

Deprivation Factors in Blackpool

Blackpool is an area of high deprivation with significant proportions of children coming from backgrounds that suffer from one or more types of deprivation.

In all Blackpool schools the proportion of pupils who may be regarded as disadvantaged is increasing. The Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015 has been used to assess the level of disadvantage of the Blackpool school population.

Figure 1 - Proportion of Children who live in the 10% Most Deprived Neighbourhoods Attending Blackpool Primary and Secondary Schools

Pupils by deprivation
Source: School Population and IMD 2015

The Pupil Premium

The Pupil Premium is additional funding available for publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers.

Pupil premium funding is available to:

    • local authority maintained schools, including special schools and pupil referral units (PRUs)
    • voluntary-sector alternative provision (AP), with local authority agreement
    • special schools not maintained by the local authority (NMSS)
    • academies and free schools, including special and AP academies

The Pupil Premium funding for Blackpool schools in 2017/18 was significantly above the national average.

Figure 2: Percentage of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium in 2017/18

Pupil premium 1718
Source: Education and Skills Funding Agency, Pupil premium: allocations and conditions of grant 2017 to 2018

Blackpool ranks as the 9th highest proportion of pupil premium eligible pupils in primary education in England and 13th highest for secondary education in England (out of 152 local authorities). Within the NW region (23 local authorities) Blackpool has the 3rd highest percentage of eligible pupils in primary education and the highest proportion of eligible pupils in secondary education.

Characteristics that Influence School Life

Looked after children - Blackpool has the highest rate of looked after children in England with a rate of 166 children per 10,0001   (as of 2016/17). Children who have been looked after by local authorities tend to be disproportionately represented in groups of people experiencing problems in life.

Exclusions - Children who are excluded from schools will be at a disadvantage and in Blackpool in 2015/16 there were 347 (1.4%) fixed period exclusions from primary schools and 1,726 (10.6%) fixed period exclusions from secondary schools.2

A range of other factors appear to affect the achievement of children in Blackpool schools. Children who are born in the summer tend to be disadvantaged, those with special educational needs may be less successful (depending on their needs) and pupils who do not attend school regularly tend not to do as well as those who do.

School Achievement: Primary School

Primary school achievement is measured at several points during a child's primary education.

School Readiness

School readiness is a key measure of early years’ development across a wide range of developmental areas and is assessed when children are aged 5 at the end of their reception year.  Children are defined as having reached a good level of development if they achieve at least the expected level in the early learning goals in the prime areas of learning (personal, social and emotional development; physical development; and communication and language) and the early learning goals in the specific areas of mathematics (numbers) and literacy (reading, writing). Children from poorer backgrounds are at greater risk of poorer development and the evidence shows that differences by social background emerge early in life. Figure 3 shows that although Blackpool is improving, up from 52% in 2012/13 to 67% in 2016/17, it has not kept pace with improvements nationally where school readiness achievement is at 71%.

Figure 3: Trend in school readiness - Blackpool, North West and England

School readiness trend 1213-1617
Source: PHE, Child and Maternal Health Profile, School age children

The three specific early learning goals of numbers, reading and writing are the areas where the highest proportions of children, who live in Blackpool, do not reach the expected level of development.  This is particularly important, as a child must reach the expected level of development in all three of these areas to be classed as achieving the expect level of development overall, and as such, be school ready.  There is a gap across all indicators between the proportion of boys reaching an expected level of development and the proportion of girls. Girls are 10.8% ahead of boys in writing, 7.5% ahead in reading and 3.6% ahead in numbers.

Figure 4: Eary Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) indicators - Blackpool 2016

Early years foundation stage indicators-Blackpool 2016
Source: Dept for Education, Early years foundation stage profile (EYFSP) results: 2016/17

The three specific early learning goals of numbers, reading and writing are also highlighted as areas of concern when attainment across all of the indicators is compared between Blackpool and England.  These three indicators see the biggest percentage point gap between Blackpool and England.  Progress in Blackpool has been made in recent years in mathematics and literacy, with an increase in the proportion of children reaching the expected level of development in writing from 61% in 2013 to 68% in 2016, and in mathematics from 67% to 75% over the same period.

Figure 5: Percentage point gap between Blackpool and England, 2016

pc point gap between Blackpool and England-2016
Source: Dept for Education, Early years foundation stage profile (EYFSP) results: 2016/17

Phonics Check

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

    • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
    • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as 'sh' or 'oo'; and
    • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to 'de-code' new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read. A check on the progress children are making in phonics is carried out in year 1 (age 6). Figure 6 shows the improvements made and while Blackpool and England have made progress since 2012 there is still a wide gap in achievement between boys and girls. 

 Figure 6: Percentage of children achieving the required standard of phonics decoding, 2012 - 2016

year 1 pupils meeting the required standard of phonic decoding
Source:Dept for Education, Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2016

Key Stage 1 Teacher Assessments

Key Stage 1 (KS1) covers the ages five to seven (Years 1 and 2 of Primary education) and the end of KS1 assessments cover progress made by children. In September 2014 the primary school curriculum changed with the main aim of raising standards and although the new curriculum is intended to be more challenging, the content is actually slimmer than the previous curriculum, focusing on essential core subject knowledge and skills such as essay writing and computer programming.

Pupils were assessed against the new more challenging curriculum for the first time in 2016 and results are no longer reported as levels; the interim frameworks for teacher assessment have been used by teachers to assess if a pupil has met the new, higher expected standard. Because of these assessment changes, figures for 2016 and 2017 are not comparable to those for earlier years. Assessments are carried out in: Reading, Writing, Maths and Science.

Figure 7: Percentage of children achieving the expected standard and reaching the higher standard in Key Stage 1 READING assessments, 2016 and 2017

Key stage 1-reading
Source: DfE, Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2016 and 2017

Figure 8: Percentage of children achieving the expected standard and reaching the higher standard in Key Stage 1 WRITING assessments, 2016 and 2017

Key stage 1-writing
Source: DfE, Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2016 and 2017

Figure 9: Percentage of children achieving the expected standard and reaching the higher standard in Key Stage 1 MATHS assessments, 2016 and 2017

Key stage 1-maths
Source: DfE, Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2016 and 2017

Figure 10: Percentage of children achieving the expected standard in Key Stage 1 SCIENCE assessments, 2016 and 2017

Key stage 1-science
Source: DfE, Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2016 and 2017

Key Stage 1 Achievement by Characteristic

At KS1 more girls reach the expected standard than boys in all subjects. Across Blackpool, the subject with the largest difference in attainment by gender is writing , with a gap of 16 percentage points between girls (74%) and boys (58%). The attainment gap is 9 percentage points in reading, with 79% of girls and 70% of boys reaching the standard, and 5 percentage points for maths, with 77% of girls and 72% of boys reaching the standard. The gap is narrowest for science at 3 percentage points, in which 82% of girls reached the standard compared with 79% of boys.

Figure 11: Attainment gaps by gender in pupils reaching the expected standard in KS1 teacher assessments, Blackpool, 2017

Key stage 1-gender difference
Source: DfE, Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2016 and 2017

Measuring whether different groups of children achieve the expected amount of progress at KS1 reveals that various kinds of disadvantage negatively affect progress at KS1. The effects are not as strong as those seen later in a child's school career at GCSE (KS4) stage though the assessments are different in nature.

Figure 12: Percentage of pupils reaching the expected standard in KS1 READING assessments by characteristic of child, Blackpool, 2017

KSI-Reading-pupil characteristic
Source: DfE, Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2016 and 2017

Figure 13: Percentage of pupils reaching the expected standard in KS1 WRITING assessments by characteristic of child, Blackpool, 2017

KSI-Writing-pupil characteristic
Source: DfE, Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2016 and 2017

Figure 14: Percentage of pupils reaching the expected standard in KS1 MATHS assessments by characteristic of child, Blackpool, 2017

KSI-Maths-pupil characteristic
Source: DfE, Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2016 and 2017

Figure 15: Percentage of pupils reaching the expected standard in KS1 SCIENCE assessments by characteristic of child, Blackpool, 2017

KSI-Science-pupil characteristic
Source: DfE, Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2016 and 2017

Key Stage 2 Testing and Teacher Assessments

Children are again assessed at age 11 in year 6 of Primary School. The 2016  Key Stage 2 (KS2) tests and assessments were the first to assess the new, more challenging national curriculum which was introduced in 2014. Pupils are assessed by national curriculum tests in reading maths and grammar, punctuation and spelling. They also receive a teacher assessment outcome in writing, science, reading and maths based on the standardsin the teacher assessment frameworks at the end of key stage 2.

Data for 2017 shows that overall, 62% of children in Blackpool attained the expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths, an increase from 48% in 2016. This is now the same as the national average. 

At individual subject level, the proportion of children reaching the expected standard in Blackpool at KS2 has improved from 2016  in the reading, maths and grammar, punctuation and spelling (gps) tests and is now the same as or exceeds national averages.

Figure 16: Percentage of children achieving the expected standard and reaching the higher standard in Key Stage 2 READING Tests, 2016 and 2017

Key stage 2-reading test
Source: DfE, National curriculum assessments at key stage 2

Figure 17: Percentage of children achieving the expected standard and reaching the higher standard in Key Stage 2 MATHS Tests, 2016 and 2017

Key stage 2-maths test
Source: DfE, National curriculum assessments at key stage 2

Figure 18: Percentage of children achieving the expected standard and reaching the higher standard in Key Stage 2  GRAMMAR, PUCTUATION AND SPELLING Tests, 2016 and 2017

Key stage 2-gps test
Source: DfE, National curriculum assessments at key stage 2

In 2017 attainment at the expected standard, as measured by teacher assessment is highest in science, both nationally and locally and lowest in writing. This is similar to the pattern in 2016.

Figure 19: Percentage of children achieving the expected standard and reaching the higher standard in Key Stage 2  Teacher Assessments, 2017

Key stage 2 assessments -all
Source: DfE, National curriculum assessments at key stage 2

Key Stage 2 Achievement by Characteristic

As in previous years, girls on average do better than boys in reading, writing and maths combined. In 2017, 66% of girls in Blackpool achieved the expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths compared to 59% of boys. This is a gap of 7 percentage points which is slightly more than in 2016, a 6 percentage point difference.

Girls also perform better than boys at the higher standard. In 2017 attainment at the higher standard was 9% for girls and 5% for boys, a difference of 4 percentage points.

At individual subject level, a higher proportion of girls than boys reach the expected standard in all subjects except in maths tests as shown in Figure 20. The biggest attainment gap between boys and girls is in teacher assessment for writing  at 14 percentage points. Attainment at the expected standard in maths tests is the same for boys and girls at 78%. As in previous years, boys are more likely to achieve a high score in maths.

Figure 20: Attainment gaps by gender in pupils reaching the expected standard in KS2 tests and teacher assessments, Blackpool, 2017

Key stage 2-gender difference
Source: DfE, National curriculum assessments at key stage 2

Achievement of the expected standard is affected negatively by deprivation and disadvantage issues. Disadvantaged pupils are defined as those who are registered as eligible for free school meals, children looked after by the local authority and children who left care. In 2017, 45% of pupils at the end of KS2 were classed as disadvantaged in Blackpool.

Figure 21 shows the proportion of disadvantaged pupils reaching the expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths and while more disadvantaged pupils in Blackpool achieved the expected standard than across England, there is a 17 percentage point difference between them and all other pupils in Blackpool. Figure 22 shows the percent of pupils reaching the expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths by specific characteristic of child.

Figure 21: Percentage of pupils reaching the expected standard in reading, writing and maths at the end of KS2, 2017

Key stage 2 achievement by disadvantage
Source: DfE, National curriculum assessments at key stage 2

Figure 22: Percentage of pupils reaching the expected standard at KS2 in all of reading, writing and maths by characteristic of child, 2017

Key stage 2 achievement by pupil characteristic
Source: DfE, National curriculum assessments at key stage 2

Progress is now measured by a 'value added' type measure in reading, writing and mathematics. The progress measures compare pupils’ key stage 2 results to those of other pupils nationally with similar prior attainment.

    • A positive score means pupils in this school on average do better at KS2 as those with similar prior attainment nationally.
    • A negative score means pupils in this school on average do worse at KS2 as those with similar prior attainment nationally.

A negative score does not mean that pupils did not make any progress, rather it means they made less progress than other pupils nationally with similar starting points. There is no 'target' for the amount of progress an individual pupil is expected to make.

Figure 23 shows the attainment gap between pupils with specific characteristics and children and children who do not fall into that category. Negative values indicate lower percentages of pupils achieving the expected progress in the indicated topic.

Figure 23: Progress by characteristic of pupil, Blackpool, 2017

Key stage 2-progress by characteristic
Source: DfE, National curriculum assessments at key stage 2
 

School Achievement: Secondary School

Achievement at secondary level is measured by Key Stage 4 exam results and reported nationally against national averages. Blackpool's secondary achievement rates are significantly below the national average. Young people in Blackpool are much less likely than their peers elsewhere in England to leave school with a good level of attainment, and continue with education or employment from age 19.

Prior to 2016 pupils attainment was in the headline measure of 5+ A* to C grades including English and maths. Figure 24 shows Blackpool has one of the lowest levels of achievement in the country.

Figure 24: Proportion of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 achieving 5 or more GCSEs, including English and Maths, at grades A*-C, 2015/16 - Blackpool compared to all other local authorities

KS4-LA comparison 201516
Source: PHE Child Health Profile, School age children

A new secondary school accountability system was implemented in 2016. The 2016 headline accountability measures for schools are: Progress 8, Attainment 8, and English Baccalaureate (EBacc) entry and achievement.

    • Progress 8 is based on students' progress measured across eight subjects: English; Mathematics; three other English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects (sciences, computer science, geography, history and languages); and three further subjects, which can be from the range of EBacc subjects, or can be any other GCSE or approved, high-value arts, academic, or vocational qualification. It aims to capture the progress pupils make from the end of key stage 2 to the end of key stage 4. A score of above 0 means a student is making above average progress.
    • Attainment 8 is the students' average achievement across these eight subjects.
    • The English Baccalaureate - though not a qualification in itself - is a measure of success in core academic subjects; specifically English, mathematics, history or geography, the sciences and a language. The EBacc aims to reverse the long-term drift away from students taking the likes of history, geography, French, Spanish and other modern languages.

Secondary accountability measures (including Progress 8 and Attainment 8) explains how measures have been calculated in 2017. It also gives more information about recently announced reforms that will apply to accountability measures in 2018 and 2019.

Figure 25 shows decreases across the headline measures in 2017 compared to 2016 revised data. However, these decreases are due to a number of methodological changes, including the move to a new point score scale for 2017 Attainment 8 scores, the introduction of reformed GCSEs in English and maths graded on the 9 to 1 scale and changes to the attainment threshold for the English Baccalaureate and the English and maths measure.

    • The average attainment 8 score for Blackpool pupils was 39% in 2017/18, compared to 46% nationally.
    • Only a fifth of pupils are entered for the English Bacc and less than 10% achieved a grade 4 or above in English and mathematics, and a grade C in unreformed subjects. This compares to 22% achievement nationally.
    • The average Progress 8 score shows Blackpool pupils achieve over half a grade lower than similar pupils nationally and are making below average progress.
    • Blackpool's girls make better progress than the boys, their achievement is closer to the national average.
    • Progress scores at subject level show better progress being made in maths than English.

Figure 25: GCSE and equivalent entries and achievements of pupils at the end of key stage 4

GCSE entries % achievements
Source: SFR01/2018: GCSE and equivalent results in England 2016/17 (revised)

Figure 26: Pupils entered and their achievements in the components of the English Baccalaureate, 2016/17

GCSE entries % achievements2
Source: SFR01/2018: GCSE and equivalent results in England 2016/17 (revised)

Key stage 4 achievement by pupil characteristic

Being from low income background, having special educational needs or being eligible for free school meals appears to affect achievement negatively. On the other hand, females, black and ethnic minority pupils and those for whom English is an additional language perform better than average.

Figure 27: Average attainment 8 score per pupil by pupil characteristic in Blackpool, 2016/17

GCSE attainment8-pupil characteristic
Source: SFR01/2018: GCSE and equivalent results in England 2016/17 (REVISED)

Blackpool Opportunity Area

Opportunity areas are part of the government's national plan for dealing with social mobility through education. The plan, 'Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential' sets out how they will remove obstacles that could stop people from achieving their potential.

The primary purpose of Opportunity Areas is to focus local and national resources to increase social mobility. The programme will involve focusing the Department for Education's energy, ideas and resources to provide children and young people with the opportunities to fulfil their potential. It will adopt a place-based approach involving the whole education community, from early years to employment, in the areas of the country where social mobility is lowest. Blackpool is one of the 12 opportunity areas.

The local plan to deliver opportunities for children and young people is the Blackpool Opportunity Area 2017-20 delivery plan

The priorities for Blackpool are to:

    • Raise attainment and progression Blackpool's schools
    • Support vulnerable children and families to improve attendance and outcomes, and to reduce exclusions from school
    • Improve advice and support for young people when moving between schools/colleges and into work.

 

School Place Planning

Blackpool Council uses a regression model based on calculated birth rates and transition ratios from year-group to year group to project future primary and secondary school population levels. However, this method does not account for the effect of in-year transients, or projected housing growth within the authority.

The model shows that whilst Blackpool has sufficient primary place provision for the anticipated demand up to 2024, there will be a high demand for secondary places probably in excess of the number of places currently available. The chart below shows the current projected demand for school places.

Blackpool is divided into three planning areas, North Central and South.

Primary Place Projections

Figure 28 - Surplus Capacity in Primary Schools by Area 2015-2024
Figure21

Secondary Place Projections

Figure 29 - Surplus Capacity in Secondary Schools by Area 2015-2024
Figure22

School place demand at secondary schools is sensitive to the availability of places in Lancashire schools that border Blackpool. Historically a significant proportion of Blackpool children move from Blackpool primary education to Lancashire County secondary schools. The availability of Lancashire places for Blackpool children may reduce due to pressures on Lancashire places from Lancashire children and it is expected that the proportion of Blackpool children attending Blackpool secondary schools will rise.

The trend in transition from primary education in Blackpool to secondary education out of Blackpool is shown in Figure 30. Recent trends indicate a fall in the proportion of Blackpool children progressing from primary education in Blackpool to Secondary education in the town.

Figure 30: Year 6 and Year 7 pupils living in Blackpool who attend schools maintained by other local authorities

Cross border movement

The effects of new build housing on the numbers of pupils attending Blackpool Schools is not included in the above projections.

 

National and local strategies (current best practices)

Blackpool Council provides school improvement officers to help each of our schools reach and maintain high performance.

The Blackpool Opportunity Area 2017-20 delivery plan shows the priorities for dealing with social mobility through education.

 


[1] Dept for Education, Children looked after in England, including adoption, SFR50-2017, September 2017

[2] PHE, Child and Maternal Health Profile, School-age children.