Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gove Doles out More Criticism to Our Schools - but No More Cash

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gove Doles out More Criticism to Our Schools - but No More Cash

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson Regional affairs correspondent

THE Education Secretary has again criticised North East schools even as it emerges his department is refusing to introduce a London-style PS80m improvement scheme in the region.

Schools in the capital benefited from a Government-funded Challenge London scheme, in which head teachers and staff are trained up to ensure poverty is not used as an excuse for failing standards.

In the North East, both Oftsed and the Government have said schools need to stop blaming deprivation for educational standards which in many cases are below the national average. A repeat of the London Challenge was one of the key recommendations of a region-wide economic report set up to change this record and create jobs.

But, following Michael Gove's latest outburst on 'failing' North East schools, Lord Adonis has warned that Mr Gove's hope of improvements will come to nothing without funding.

Mr Gove told the House of Commons: "A lot needs to be done in the North East in order to improve education.

"One thing we need to do is ensure that local authorities end their opposition to academisation and free schools and that there is a degree of collaboration among autonomous head teachers who are determined to drive up standards, as we have seen in London."

That London model was a key recommendation of the Adonis report, set up to look at the challenges and opportunities facing the region.

Last night Lord Adonis told The Journal Mr Gove could not both criticise the region and withhold funding.

The peer added: "London Challenge would not have happened without that funding. And we can't expect councils to divert more funding into this at a time of cuts in budgets.

"It would require some element of Government funding, and I hope the Government will think again about providing this, because the message from London is that you can bring about transformational change with this challenge approach. …

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