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Pupil attainment gap in Northern England needs to be tackled for Northern Powerhouse success

Study shows that schools in the north of England are below average.

Improving school standards whilst giving businesses a greater say in education policy is vital to bridge the gap between the North and South if the Northern Powerhouse is to be a success. Our recommendation follows a new study published by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), which reveals that exam results in schools in the North of England lag behind those in the rest of the UK.

The study echoes an earlier Ofsted warning that without better education, the Government’s Northern Powerhouse plan to create an economic hub in the North will “splutter and die”.

The IPPR report said the percentages of pupils achieving the benchmark five GCSEs at grades A*-C were 55% in the North compared to 57.3% in England as a whole. In London the level was 60.9%.

The report says that annual funding per secondary school pupil is roughly £5,700, compared to £7,000 per pupil in London, and backs the Government’s plan to improve Northern schools through a new national funding formula.

Expert Opinion

“The Northern Powerhouse and other economic wealth spreading initiatives should be about more than just devolution and investing in new and improved infrastructure. It’s about the future of cities and in order to make a difference, it must start with young people. “Last year our UK Powerhouse report made a number of policies in relation to education as part of our call for a radical rethink by the Government into how it rebalances the UK economy. Education is vital and not only do we need to improve attainment in secondary schools, businesses also need greater involvement in policy.

“According to our report, over a third of businesses stated that changes to the current education policy would boost economic growth in the region that they are based in. The study also recommended that businesses should be able to inform education providers about the lack of skills that they face and that provision should at least be partially adjusted to help address these shortages.”

Niall Baker,
CEO & Partner

Key Contact

Niall Baker