Sir Michael Wilshaw said at an Ofsted event yesterday that the ‘northern powerhouse’ could ‘splutter and die’ because schools in Manchester and Liverpool are failing to produce young people with the right skills. Several experts have responded to his comments, particularly from within the education sector in Greater Manchester.
“We know there is a strong correlation between upbringing, class and a child’s ability to speak the English language,” says Ian Fenn, head of Burnage Academy for Boys.
But clearly there are very poor children in London, too – in some parts of the capital there are even more. So deprivation alone doesn’t explain why Manchester is faring worse.
Ed Cox of IPPR North, who chaired [the] Ofsted event, puts it down to the ‘early years gap’.
Children are - statistically - at a disadvantage even before they get to class: 12pc fewer poor kids in the north pass their first basic schools assessment test than those in London, he points out.
And there is another key north-south divide, one that rears its head in so many other areas - funding.
“Where schools are concerned, as a nation we are currently spending £608 per household more in London than we are in the rest of the country,” he says.
“Everyone says that’s teachers’ salaries - but the bottom line is we are paying more for teachers in London, so the best talent goes there.” – Manchester Evening News
‘There is no reason why other pupils in the country cannot have, or do not deserve, the same dynamic success that London has seen.
Yet the Tories’ only strategy for standards is to continue to splinter the schools system and centralise control in Whitehall. This could not be further from what we know works in school improvement. And it will hinder the success of the regions that are so key to the government’s own agenda. The realisation of the northern powerhouse fundamentally depends on ensuring that all young people in the area get the excellent education they deserve, in order to fulfil their potential.
There are 16 local authorities around the country where less than 60% of children attend good or outstanding secondary schools, achieve lower than national results at GCSE and are also behind in terms of expected progress. While the government’s sole tool for school improvement is “academisation”, in some of these areas every single one of these schools is already an academy. The key question this government has failed to answer for these areas is, “what now?” - Guardian
‘Professor Mel Ainscow CBE, the government's chief advisor for the £50m Greater Manchester Challenge…said:
"The analysis provided by the chief inspector is particularly disappointing given the significant progress made during the period of the Greater Manchester Challenge.
"Independent evaluations concluded that this progress was achieved through the strengthening of collaboraton between schools across the city region. Since then, national policies have fragmented our education system in ways that have set it back." – ITV.com
‘Lucy Powell, Labour’s shadow Education Secretary, said: "It’s clear that more powers need to be devolved to local areas - the elected Mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool would be a good place to start.
"If the Northern Powerhouse strategy is to mean anything it must allow local communities the ability to tackle the root causes of low attainment, and not to further centralise schools policy."’ - Telegraph