Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bishop:We Must Solve Education Conundrum

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bishop:We Must Solve Education Conundrum

Article excerpt

Byline: Ruth Lognonne Reporter ruth.lognonne@trinitymirror.com

THE Bishop of Newcastle is calling for the region to pull together in a bid to raise the aspirations of young people. The Rt Rev Martin Wharton said that if schools in the North East are to be successful they must be supported by a committed network of other groups and not be expected to go it alone.

His comments came after Ofsted's publication of which schools are performing well and which are struggling pointed to high levels of attainment at primary schools in the North East that does not translate into good GCSE and A-level results.

The region's secondary schools are trailing behind the rest of the country, with 6% of the 182 secondary schools inspected classed as inadequate (higher than the national average of 5%) and only 19% rated outstanding, below the UK rate of 23%.

There has been some debate in Parliament about the region's primary-secondary divide and politicians are now calling it the "North East conundrum".

Speaking in the House of Lords, Bishop Martin said: "The North East faces serious and significant challenges. Despite having the best record of exports of any region in the country, we have a higher level of unemployment than any other region, particularly youth unemployment, and signifi-cant and intractable levels of poverty.

"Before I went to the North East, I served as Bishop of Kingston upon Thames, and the differences are huge and stark. It has been like living in two very different countries, two very different worlds.

"It is about closing the attainment gap between the results achieved by children from disadvantaged backgrounds compared to children elsewhere.

"The North East local enterprise partnership (LEP) has put schools at the heart of the strategy for economic development of the region. It calls for a North East Challenge modelled on the success of London Challenge. However, schools cannot do it all. They can be part of the solution, of course, but there has to be a wider and more integrated response. …

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