Six priorities for Yorkshire Day: Education

In Theresa May's first speech as Prime Minister she promised a government that would work for ordinary working people who 'worry about getting their kids into a good school'.

Education must be a priority

Nowhere is this issue more pressing than in Yorkshire.

There are, of course, many high-performing areas across our region and much success to celebrate in our schools. However it remains the case that a pupil’s chance of exam success and a parent’s chance of getting their child into a good school are worse in our region than anywhere else in the country.

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This has been recognised by 
Ofsted whose chief inspector 
warned of a growing North-South 
divide in the attainment of secondary school pupils. And by the Government.

Earlier this year a Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy was announced led by academy chain chief executive Sir Nick Weller and tasked with getting schools in the North to close the gap with London.

The Government needs to ensure that this work continues. There must be a strong commitment from Whitehall and Westminster to raise standards in Yorkshire schools.

Education is one of most important ways in which the North-South divide can be closed. For this to be achieved the region needs three things: more good schools, more good teachers and more funding.

For too long the debate in education has been focused on the structure of schools such as academies. This is a distraction.

The Government needs a bigger strategy which ensures the Yorkshire region has the capacity for its schools to improve. This means harnessing the best people wherever they are: in council-run schools, town halls and multi-academy chains.

It also needs a focus on ensuring schools facing the biggest challenges are in the best position to recruit more good teachers. And, crucially, it needs to ensure that the introduction of a new school funding system recognises the greater challenge faced by the region’s schools.