Northern children ‘too often left behind’, says commissioner

The BBC reports that England’s Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield says children from poorer homes face an education gap that starts before school and widens over time.

She calls for greater investment for struggling families and a scheme to boost teacher recruitment in the North. The government says it has committed £70m to improve schools in the region.

The commissioners’ report – Growing Up North, Look North: A generation of children await the powerhouse promise – is based on 12 months of research and conversations with children, schools, businesses, councils, health professionals and charities.

It says that while many children growing up in the North are thriving, there are huge gaps between the poorest children in the North and the poorest in London.

The commissioner’s research also finds:

  • too many children start school far behind where they should be, often with special educational needs that have not been picked up
  • more than half of the secondary schools serving the North’s most deprived communities are judged to be less than good
  • large numbers of children drop out of education before they reach the age of 18
  • there is a lack of confidence among children that economic regeneration will mean more jobs or opportunities

Three young people from Elliott Hudson College in Leeds told the BBC that, while they were confident about their own individual futures, there were barriers for a lot of young people in the North.

“There’s way more opportunities and a lot more investment down south than there is up north,” said Hafsah. “Maybe in the future they might bring it up north, but right now it’s definitely down south, concentrated down south.

Sir John Townsley, chief executive of The Gorse Academies Trust which runs 10 schools in Leeds, said the eyes of central government were not on the North.

“The great interest from government remains in the south and south-east. We’re barely visited, no-one’s particularly interested in what we do.”

Read the full article Northern children ‘too often left behind’, says commissioner

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