YP Comment: The key lessons

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THE new methodology used by the Department for Education and Ofsted makes it even more difficult to ascertain the number of ‘coasting’ schools in Yorkshire.

For reasons only known to itself, it has chosen to lump West Yorkshire and Lancashire in one region, align the East Midlands and the Humber together and then create a third entity which has been called the North.

What is known, however, is that standards remains critical to this region’s future prosperity and there’s still much to do despite Yorkshire rising up the Government’s GCSE league tables as a result of changes to the criteria used to assess pupils, teachers and schools alike. Furthermore, the education profession needs to accept a degree of scrutiny, not least so ‘best practice’ can be shared more widely.

That said, Ministers do need to recognise that Yorkshire – and the rest of the North – have not enjoyed the level of resources pumped into London to transform the capital’s schools so their attainment levels are now the envy of the whole country. A government for all, and not just the privileged few, does mean fairer funding for all schools.

There also needs to be an acceptance that the Government’s commendably high standards – it’s right that pupils of all academic abilities are stretched – will only be met if there are sufficient teachers with the requisite experience to energise and enthuse. They need to be valued. Disappointingly, the debate about the possible return of grammar schools has detracted attention away from this key lesson, and no amount of statistical jiggery-pokery can mask such an elementary shortcoming.

New ‘coasting’ school figures highlight North-South divide