Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Northern education gap 'should be solved through devolution'

  • Comment

Northern mayors should be given greater control over higher education budgets to boost education rates and national productivity, according to a new report by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

The report proposes a £300m boost in government funding for disadvantaged areas across the north, to be distributed via a system of place-based funds.

It also calls for reforms to the pupil premium funding mechanism for children from low income families, a new schools improvement board, and a commitment to provide 900,000 “meaningful” work experience programs by local businesses.

Former chancellor George Osborne, who championed devolution and is now chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership which he helped set up, wrote in the report’s foreword that boosting training and education would help lift the national economy.

“Too many children in the north aren’t getting the education they need or deserve,” he said.

Statistics show that children in the north are, on average, performing less well at school that children from other parts of the UK. Northern students attain, on average, one lower GCSE grade than their southern counterparts.

A quarter of secondary schools in the north are rated by Ofsted as either ’inadequate’ or ’requiring improvement’.

Last week, the Centre for Cities think-tank reported that educational reforms and better retraining centres were needed to counter the negative effects of automation and globalisation - particularly in the north.

A number of northern leaders have spoken in support of the report’s finding.

Steve Rotheram (Lab), mayor for the Liverpool City Region, said: “Without a focus on education and skills, the gap between the north and London will continue to grow. If our people are our greatest economic asset we can’t allow so much talent to remain unfulfilled.”

Leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake (Lab) said she was “pleased” with the report’s call for greater devolution of the adult education budget.

“We fully support the report’s highlight of the need to identify… clear career pathways for teenagers as a vital ingredient for tackling the productivity challenge,” Cllr Blake said.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.