Coastal regeneration: evidence to the House of Lords enquiry

It was a pleasure to give evidence on Monday to the House of Lords committee on regenerating coastal communities.

From an education perspective, coastal schools face the same challenges as many others. These can be exacerbated by increased deprivation and, for some, isolation.

What could help? Firstly, things that will benefit all schools – funding, action on teacher recruitment and retention, fair and proportionate accountability.

Coastal schools also face specific challenges on teacher recruitment and on employment opportunities for pupils. The latter are also vital for inspiring high academic standards – their lack can create a vicious cycle of low attainment.

Secondly, coastal schools would benefit from the targeted use of the levelling up premium for recruitments. Similarly, we recommend a reduction in teacher timetables to aid retention. Continued careers education is a must.

Virtual work experience was one experiment during the pandemic that worked. But generally, we need significant investment in transport infrastructure to support both pupils and teachers – to bring the jobs and employers in and to enable commuting where desired. Careers education without the careers to get into is a bit of a waste!

There is brilliant work going on in our coastal schools. Inspired by great school leaders like my fellow panellist, Sarah Bones, head of Headlands School in Bridlington. We just need to give them a level playing field. Thank you to the Lords for the opportunity to talk about this vital topic.

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