‘Unfair school funding puts hundreds of thousands of children in schools in the North at a disadvantage compared with London youngsters, a major report has claimed.
It reveals at primary school level, the north of England receives about £4,600 per pupil in grant funding, about the national average, but £900 less than London, and at secondary level, the North receives around £5,700 per pupil, £100 less than the English average and £1,300 less than London.
More money should be redistributed to the North to bridge a growing North South divide in academic standards, according to the study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) North and Teach First, a national charity.
As well as less money, the IPPR North report found many northern schools have a harder job than those in other parts of the country, due to their more "challenging" intake.
But they raise standards better than schools in many other regions and should be compensated for their performance, the study claims.
The 50-page report uses the North to comprise the North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber regions.’ - Bracknell News
‘A focus on failing schools will not solve the problem, say the authors, as "even good and outstanding schools have attainment gaps".
"Policy makers should focus on tackling variation within all schools," they urge.
This problem is not restricted to small towns and coastal areas, often singled out as areas where pupils perform poorly.
"Even large cities such as Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield need to raise their game."
The report also points out discrepancies in school funding between regions, and backs government plans to improve funding to northern schools through a new national funding formula.
In the north, annual funding per secondary pupil is about £5,700 compared with about £7,000 in London, the report says.
IPPR associate director Jonathan Clifton said London had not always done well by disadvantaged pupils.
"Two decades ago London was the worst place to attend school if you were from a low income background."
He said the capital's example showed success was possible "through investment, strong leadership and collaboration".
"We need a similar level of ambition for schools in the north." ‘ - BBC News