Jeremy Middleton

Member Article

North East mayoral candidate backs Ofsted chief

North East Mayoral candidate Jeremy Middleton has backed Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw’s warning that Government ambitions to build a northern economic powerhouse will “splutter and die” unless under-performing secondary schools in the North improve.

In his speech on Tuesday Sir Michael said: “I am calling on local politicians, be they mayors, council leaders or cabinet members, to stand up and be counted, to shoulder responsibility for their local schools, to challenge and support them regardless of whether they are academies or not.”

The decline in secondary school standards in the North is in large contrast to the success of schools in London, whose results, particularly among poorer children, are now among the best in the country. London’s schools have benefited from an enormous political push and huge investment via the London Challenge.

Mr Middleton, a school governor of Studio West School in Newcastle, said “Much of what Sir Michael said applies to us here in the North East. Local political leaders have time and again failed to deliver on the education our kids need. Our region will only succeed if we get a grip on skills and schools. Right now things are simply not good enough and in some places our kids are simply being failed by the system.

“More needs to be done to help boost skills for the region’s youngsters. I am calling on the local councils to make education in general, and those secondary schools that are underachieving in particular, a central target of their strategy for growth.

“Too many of young people are not in work, education or training. Until we face up to this we will stay the poor region of Britain. We need to use the new powers from our devolution deal with the Government to create a new intensive programme of work experience and careers advice in our schools, and start a drive to push up standards.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jeremy Middleton .

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