Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Children in north 'being left behind' by southern counterparts

Children in the north of England are being "left behind" by their southern counterparts as they face a "double whammy of entrenched deprivation and poor schools", a study has found.

The report by the Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, says pupils in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber are less likely to do well in secondary school, more likely to go to a poor school and more likely to leave education early.

It found that a child on free school meals living in Hackney, London, was three times more likely to go to university than a similar child in Hartlepool, while London children on free school meals were 40% more likely to achieve a good maths and English GCSE grade than children in the north.

The report also found that more than half of the schools serving the north's most deprived communities were below a "good" rating, due to weak leadership, poor governance and difficulties recruiting staff.

The report found that children in the north are more likely to go to a poor school and more likely to leave education early. Credit: PA

The commissioner has called on the Government's Northern Powerhouse project to give children the same attention as economic regeneration, warning that if not, their potential would go unfulfilled.

"Children growing up in the north love and are proud of the place they live," Ms Longfield said.

She continued: "They want a future where they live near their family and community and they want jobs and opportunities to rival anywhere else in the country.

"The Northern Powerhouse and the new devolved mayors provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to drive that ambition.

"While many children in the north are thriving, there are huge gaps between the poorest northern kids and those in the south.

"Too many children in the north are facing the double whammy of entrenched deprivation and poor schools. They are being left behind.

"We need to ask why a child from a low income family in London is three times more likely to go to university than a child who grows up in Hartlepool.

"The Northern Powerhouse will only succeed if children are put at the heart of the project.

"If the north is to flourish it needs to grow and retain the talents of all its children and truly offer the opportunities in life they hope for."

The report found that more than half of the schools serving the north's most deprived communities were below a 'good' rating. Credit: PA

A "priority" among the report's recommendations is improving the north's secondary schools in the most deprived areas, with a renewed focus on teaching recruitment and leadership.

It also calls for the requirement of each local area to have a plan to ensure children are in apprenticeships, training or education until the age of 18.

In response to the report, a spokesperson for the Government said it was investing in schools in the north and in projects that improve pupils' chances from an early age.

"As the Children's Commissioner notes, many children in the north are now thriving, but there is more to do.

"Our Northern Powerhouse programme includes £3.4 billion investment in projects to boost the local economy, £12 million to spread good teaching practice in English and improve early literacy, and schemes that help families to support their child's education at home."