Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi visits ASPIRE Academy in Blackpool to find out more about our work to improve school attendance
We are delighted that Nadhim Zahawi, Secretary of State for education was able to visit ASPIRE Academy in Blackpool to meet our fantastic Practitioner Amy and speak to two families she has worked with to improve school attendance.
The visit was a great opportunity to share our vital work in the lead up to the release of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement this week. National policy experts at the Centre for Social Justice have called on the Government to roll out 2,000 School Home Support-style practitioners to end high absence levels and ensure all children can make the most of their education.
We are proud to have been part of the incredible work that the Blackpool Opportunity Area has been doing over the last years, bringing together a range of interventions like ours to support children and families in Blackpool, improving engagement with school and life chances.
Blackpool had the largest Pupil Referral Unit (per capita) in the country, with over 400 children using the service in one calendar year. Through the hard work of the School-Home Support team in Blackpool – along with other targeted interventions – this figure has dropped to 110.
In almost three years, since the project began, 96% of the young people referred to School-Home Support as at risk of permanent exclusion remained in mainstream education. 91% of pupils improved their behaviour and 84% engaged more with their learning. 82% of parents also engaged more with their child’s learning.
These figures are testament to the strong partnerships that exist between schools and our practitioners, a recognition that, with support, families can overcome the barriers to school engagement that hold their children back.
Our work in Blackpool stands as a beacon of best practice, but it needs to continue to make a real and lasting difference.
Our work is never more needed and it is critical that families have access to projects like Blackpool. Families are still recovering from the pandemic and will need sustained support, particularly as the rising cost of living increases the pressures at home.
We know our model works and with Government support can work nationwide.
In 2020/21, one year of support from us equated to an average increase in attendance of 6.6% for young people. This means an extra 13 days in school and an increase in the likelihood of achieving GCSEs grades 5 and above.