IT will take more than a cursory mention of education in the Queen’s Speech to leave the North – home of the Industrial Revolution – in position to spearhead a new technological revolution.
Yet, while the Government did reaffirm its pre-election commitment to “increase levels of funding per pupil in every school”, skills is fundamental to the future success of the economy and tackling regional inequality.
And if Ministers need reminding why the word ‘skills’ matters as much, if not more so, than ‘Brexit’, they should read the manifesto set out by Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner, in The Yorkshire Post.
From Otley, her extensive work – and campaigning – has highlighted reasons why decades of under-investment, and a lack of recognition by London-focused political leaders, leave schools and pupils here at a considerable disadvantage compared to their peers in other parts of the country.
A disparity which has exacerbated the North-South divide, she has outlined a number of ‘rocket-boosting’ measures to help boost the performance of those schools here which are not meeting national benchmarks despite the best efforts of teachers and pupils.
And as she sets out the reason why schools need “good quality careers advice” to provide “a proper pathway to good jobs, apprenticeships or university”, she poses this timely question: “If there is going to be an electric cars revolution, why can’t it happen in the North?” There is no reason why this can’t happen – provided that the Government comes up with the correct answers to the skills question.