Children in the North ‘disproportionately disadvantaged’

26 Mar 18

Children in the North of England face being “left behind” because they are more likely to come from a poor community and attend a weak school, the Children’s Commissioner for England has said today.

A disproportionate number of children in the North are growing up in communities of “entrenched disadvantage” compared to London and the South East, according to a report.

The year-long research by the Children’s Commissioner found the most disadvantaged children in the North 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 more than 50% of children in the most deprived areas in the North are attending secondary schools rated less than ‘good’ by Oftsed.

The Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has suggested that children’s prospects be placed at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse project and be given the same attention as economic regeneration.

To achieve this, the commissioner said that each local area should establish a forum similar in structure to Local Enterprise Partnerships to include all the bodies working with children.

The government should “show the same level of willingness to devolve powers and funding for services for children, including education, that they have shown for economic regeneration, to areas that make compelling bids that they will innovate and integrate to improve provision for children,” the commissioner suggested.

Investment in disadvantaged northern areas was another way the Children’s Commissioner hoped to see opportunities for children in those regions improved. 

Currently, under the Northern Powerhouse project, the government is committed to spending £70m on its schools strategy.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We want to create a country where everyone gets the best start in life, no matter what their background is or where they live.

“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 £3.4bn investment in projects to boost the local economy, £12m to spread good teaching practice in English and improve early literacy, and schemes that help families to support their child’s education at home.”

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