Star Institute has kicked off a collaborative project that aims to improve educational leadership and governance has launched in the North West coastal town of Blackpool.

Lead Blackpool brings together schools and education partners in Blackpool to focus on leadership and governance. Led by Star Institute on behalf of the Blackpool School Improvement Board, the project aims to embed excellent practice to ensure positive outcomes for the town’s young people.

Working closely with the Blackpool Opportunity Area Board, the Lead Blackpool project will maximise the impact of investment in the town’s education system.

The project, which is funded by the DfE Strategic School Improvement Fund, aims to add value to existing leadership development programmes and strengthen governor capability by:

  • developing bespoke leadership development training which addresses some of the specific challenges faced by Blackpool schools
  • creating opportunities in applied leadership development for aspiring school leaders which enable them to deepen their leadership learning in different school contexts
  • improving the quality of governance in Blackpool schools by focusing governing bodies on their core functions through co-ordinated developmental activity.

Lead Blackpool was officially launched at an event in Blackpool Sixth Form College on Thursday 18 January. Key players from across Blackpool attended the launch event, including headteachers, Chairs of Governors and stakeholder partners.

Keynote speakers at the event included Dr John Stephens, Chief Executive of Bright Futures Educational Trust, and Drew Povey, Headteacher at Harrop Fold School in Manchester, as seen on Channel 4’s Educating Manchester.

Speaking during the panel discussion at the Lead Blackpool launch, Dr John Stephens CBE commented:

“It’s great that we’re working together in Blackpool to improve the leadership we provide on behalf of the children, families and communities that we serve.”

The panel was chaired by Maxine Froggatt, Chair of the Blackpool School Improvement Board. She said:

“The children and families in Blackpool deserve the very best leaders to be serving in their schools. Lead Blackpool is making sure that happens. This important programme engages leaders at all levels and is open to all Blackpool schools and settings.

“The commitment shown to collaborate as families of schools is impressive and will reap rewards in achieving the ambitions we have for the children in Blackpool.”

Those in attendance at the launch event participated in round table discussions to consider the key leadership challenges facing Blackpool, and the role of governance in driving school improvement.

Sophie Backen, Head of Leadership Development at Star Institute, commented:

“This is such an exciting time for Blackpool. There is so much good practice going on in the town and already we can see it starting to have an impact.

“Now is the time to focus on the positives in Blackpool’s education system, not least the enthusiastic people who are proud to work in the town and committed to making a real difference to young people locally. They will be a key driver for moving forward with the Lead Blackpool project.”

Blackpool schools wishing to get involved can contact Star Institute on 0330 313 9870 or