Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PM Plegdes to Raise the Bar of Northern Schools

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PM Plegdes to Raise the Bar of Northern Schools

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor jon.walker@trinitymirror.com jonwalker121

tHERESA May is planning a major campaign to raise school standards in the North.

The Conservative manifesto sets out a series of measures to improve schools including telling universities to open schools and bringing in independent schools to sponsor or manage new state schools.

It follows a warning from Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former head of school inspection service Ofsted, that results in North East secondary schools lag behind those in other parts of the country, which has a damaging effect on the region's economy.

But while the Conservatives are promising to increase school funding by PS4 billion nationwide, there is no hint of extra funding specifically for schools in the North.

Leading think tank IPPR North has been campaigning for the Government to introduce what it calls a Northern Powerhouse premium, which would mean giving extra cash to schools that work in disadvantaged areas of the country, and in areas where it is difficult to attract and retain teachers.

The Conservative manifesto highlights concerns about education in the North and the Midlands, saying: "For too many children, a good school remains out of reach.

"There are still one million children in primary and secondary schools rated by Ofsted as 'requires improvement' or 'inadequate'.

"If schools across the Midlands and north of England had the same average standards as those in the south, nearly 200,000 more children would be attending good schools."

It sets out proposals to tackle poor results, including banning councils from expanding any school which has been given a poor rating from Ofsted.

Universities hoping to charge the maximum level of tuition fees, currently PS9,250 a year, will be told they must sponsor a state school or open a new one.

At least 100 leading independent schools will also sponsor or open state schools - and the Conservatives say they are "keeping open the option of changing the tax status of independent schools if progress is not made", which would probably mean charging VAT on school fees as Labour is already planning. …

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