Liverpool Challenge launched at education conference

School pupils celebrate

A drive to further improve educational attainment in Liverpool is being launched at a special conference on Friday 22 January.

The Mayor of Liverpool’s Education Conference is taking place at Liverpool Hope University and will see head teachers and representatives from universities, employers and creative organisations coming together to celebrate the progress the city has made and discuss working together to take it to the next level.

Former education minister for school standards, shadow secretary of state for education and West Derby MP Stephen Twigg will be unveiled as Chair of the ‘Liverpool Challenge’ – an initiative which will run for at least the next four years to drive up standards, particularly in maths. He led the hugely successful London Challenge which improved attainment in schools in the capital from 2003 – 2005.

Mayor Joe Anderson said: “There is no doubt that education standards in Liverpool are unrecognisable compared to a decade or more ago and the 17 new and refurbished schools being delivered as part of my Mayoral pledges are making a significant difference to teaching and learning.

“This conference is an opportunity to reflect on the areas where we are doing well and identify the things that we can do better by working together in partnership to make sure that every school pupil achieves their potential.”

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for education, employment and skills, Councillor Nick Small, said: “Liverpool schools have lots to be proud of but in a changing world we can’t stand still and must keep challenging ourselves to do even better.

“We need to make sure pupils are supported properly in the transition between primary, secondary and sixth form education and to ensure that we are giving them the skills to enable them to get into the jobs where we know there will be growth in the future.

“We want to concentrate very much on making sure that we have an education system in Liverpool that meets the city’s needs and delivers the skills that employers want and need.”

Stephen Twigg MP said: “I am absolutely delighted to be chairing the Liverpool Challenge and am confident that my experience in Government and working in the capital leading the hugely successful London Challenge will help drive further improvements here.

“As a local MP, I know about the amazing work that goes on in our schools and the difference that the teaching and support staff make to the lives of pupils.

“This is about building on our success and spreading it further and wider throughout the education system in Liverpool, working in partnership with universities and employers.”

The keynote address at the conference will come from respected education expert Sir Ken Robinson via video link from Los Angeles.

Sir Ken is an internationally recognised leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in both education and business. He works with Governments and education services in Europe, Asia and the USA as well as international agencies, major companies and leading cultural organisations.

Eleanor Benson, Chair of the Liverpool Association of Secondary Headteachers, said: “The headteachers of Liverpool secondary schools welcome the launch of the Liverpool Challenge initiative.

“We are grateful for the resources which have been poured into many schools in the recent past and this new initiative promises that the attention and resources of the city council will continue to be focused on this vital part of the city’s life.

“Our schools are caring and safe environments, which nurture and challenge pupils from all backgrounds. We want to press ahead and enable our pupils to reach the highest academic standards, and integrate them into a cohesive and supportive community.

“We believe that, with this support from the city, we can make Liverpool a national leader in secondary education.”

Ruth Town, Chair of Liverpool Learning Partnership – an organisation of education leaders in the city who support and challenge each other – said: “The Liverpool Learning Partnership exists to ensure that all learners in Liverpool, including the most vulnerable, are given every opportunity to achieve.

“The Partnership is looking forward to working with the Liverpool Challenge to develop strong links with businesses and employers, to raise aspirations and standards, as part of the City’s overall strategy for Education.”