5 March 2020

(L-R Rt Hon Gavin Williamson, Graham Warnock - Headteacher, Peter Ashworth - CEO Cidari Multi Academy Trust, Scott Benton - MP Blackpool South)

The Education Secretary was in Blackpool to learn more about the work that the Opportunity Area programme is doing to level up opportunities for children and young people in the town. 

Joined by representatives from the Opportunity Area and DfE, the Secretary of State spent over an hour visiting and spoke to Academy and Trust leaders about the achievements of the academy and of Cidari Multi Academy Trust itself. He toured the academy visiting lessons and had the opportunity to speak with a group of students covering all age ranges who questioned him on a variety of topics ranging from his intentions for the future of education or asking which book is he currently reading.

The strategies that the Academy has implemented over recent years which have yielded such impressive results resonated with him as he saw the transformation that has lead to a culture of learning and aspiration for all pupils who give 100% effort every day. This visit comes on the back of an impressive year for St George's which has seen it rated Good by Ofsted, followed up by outstanding GCSE's and the highest progress 8 score in the Blackpool & Fylde area, the Government's key measure of secondary performance.

Headteacher, Graham Warnock, said "The staff at St George's love working in the Academy.  Our high expectations and approach to discipline has created a calm, harmonious and purposeful environment where young people thrive socially and fulfill their academic potential. We have seen the difference caring discipline makes and I was pleased with the Governments Behaviour Hub initiative announced earlier this week. It was fantastic for the Secretary of State to have the opportunity to visit this wonderful Academy and see first hand the transformation this approach is having at St George's and the positive benefits and outcomes for our pupils"

Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: “It was fantastic to get back to Blackpool today to see how we are raising the bar for young people living here, by investing in excellent teachers and improving education standards in key skills like literacy.

“Every child, in every part of the country, should have a fair chance – that’s why we are levelling up funding to make sure all schools can deliver a high quality education.

“We have also have recently announced an extra £18 million to extend the Opportunity Area programme, helping to cement the great work already being done to help Blackpool’s young people reach their full potential.”