The BBC is reporting warnings from the Ofsted chief that failing schools risk causing plans for the government’s so-called Northern Powerhouse to “splutter and die”.
Secondary schools in Liverpool and Manchester are “not firing on all cylinders” due to deteriorating GCSE performances, Sir Michael Wilshaw said.
This could result in a “lack of skills” for the northern economic growth plan, a letter from the watchdog said.
Manchester City Council said “measures are in place to overcome the dip”.
Liverpool City Council said the Northern Powerhouse would be an “empty political slogan” unless it has “more powers to influence education” to deliver the skills businesses want.
In a speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research think tank, chief inspector of schools Sir Michael said: “These are the cities that built Britain.
“They pioneered a modern, civic education when students at certain other universities spent most of their time studying the New Testament in Greek.”
He said Manchester and Liverpool “boast eight universities between them, two of which are among the top 200 in the world”.
“If these cities can provide a world-class education for youngsters at 18, why on earth are they failing to do so for too many at 11?” he said.
“At some point, politicians in Manchester and Liverpool will have to accept that the Northern Powerhouse will splutter and die if their youngsters lack the skills to sustain it.”
Ofsted figures show three in 10 Manchester secondaries and four in 10 of those in Liverpool are rated below good.
The proportion of teenagers gaining at least five C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, has dropped in both cities.
In a separate letter, Ofsted’s regional director has written to education authorities in Greater Manchester and Knowsley, Merseyside, about “concerns” over pupil outcomes…
Read Sir Michael’s speech in full: Sir Michael Wilshaw speech at IPPR
And Ofsted’s own press release on the story at: Chief Inspector calls for education to be central to Manchester and Liverpool’s strategies for growth
See also: Lucy Powell: You can’t build a northern powerhouse if you undermine the local schools
Clearly a complex issue but what do you make of the warnings issued here by Sir Michael?
If you agree his concerns have merit, where do you see the solutions coming from?
Please share in the comments or via Twitter…
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