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Meeting the potential of our young people

Release date: 
Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

Councillors are set to back plans to create a Children’s University in Burnley as part of a far-reaching strategy to help more of the borough's young people achieve their potential.

Burnley Council’s executive is recommended to agree a three-year commitment to the establishment of the educational initiative which encourages children from the age of five to try new experiences outside of normal school hours.

The commitment is included in a Making It In Burnley aspiration strategy which also proposes a number of other measures.

The strategy is set for approval by the executive on 19th December.

Council leader Mark Townsend said: “Although Burnley Council isn’t directly responsible for education, we have a long-standing commitment to working with partners to raise aspiration and attainment among our young people.

“A good, well-rounded education is the foundation for a successful adult life. Having a workforce of well-educated and skilled young people is also essential for the future of our borough. The seeds we sow now at primary school age will bear fruit for future generations to come.

“Burnley has a growing reputation as a great place to live, learn, and build a business. However, we realise there are challenges. Overcoming these challenges means giving our young people the best start in life through a good education and also helping young adults get ready for working life.

“There are many good schools in Burnley. Nevertheless, raising aspiration and attainment is not just about what goes on in school. Children need many things to support their learning in the early years and, as a council, the opportunity is there to support our families and children to be school-ready through a community based approach. This means supporting families to take part in learning opportunities outside of formal educational settings in our communities. 

“That’s why Burnley Council is committed to helping to establish a Children’s University, along with supporting other initiatives that will raise the aspirations and attainment of youngsters across the borough.”

Children’s University is a national educational charity based in Manchester. It operates in 70 areas across the country.

The council is proposing to contribute £20,000 from its reserves to help fund the establishment of a Children’s University in Burnley. 

Making It In Burnley sets out a number of objectives and how it will meet them:

• To increase parental engagement, so that more families are encouraged to support their child’s learning at home and in the community

• To support schools in efforts to significantly increase the number of pupils making expected progress at school, with all our young people able to access a world class education.

• To encourage a greater proportion of pupils to aspire towards degree level qualifications.

• To engage with employers and local businesses to develop a clear understanding of how schools can effectively work with local industry

• To help Lancashire County Council to reduce the number of young people not in education, employment or training

The council already supports work to raise standards, through the Primary Engineer scheme which encourages an interest in maths and the sciences to help create engineers of the future, and through the Burnley Learning Partnership, a collaboration of secondary schools working together.

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