University entries in decline in North region while more affluent areas are on the rise
ENGLAND’S largest regional schools network has raised grave concerns about the Government’s social mobility programme as university entry data shows a widening North South divide.
SCHOOLS NorthEast, a charity established by serving Heads which engages 3,000 school leaders, says serious questions have to be asked about the impact of measures to address Prime Minister Theresa May’s social mobility “burning injustices”.
University placement data, published on the day thousands of teenagers receive their A Level results, shows that the North East, North West and Yorkshire and The Humber regions all saw a drop in the number of students placed with universities.
This is at odds with the national picture where five of the six other regions all saw an increase in placements, with nearly 10% more Londoners progressing to university than the North East.
Mike Parker, Director of SCHOOLS NorthEast, said: “Theresa May stood on the steps of Downing Street in July 2016 and spoke of the burning injustices of social immobility. Two years on and we are in a worse situation here in the North East.
“The Department for Education has buried its head in the sand over this issue, passing over the North East for its flagship Opportunity Areas initiative, funnelling funding for school improvement to other areas and denying that funding is an issue while highly successful London schools receive significantly more resources than schools in the North.
“A fresh approach is urgently needed to reverse this picture. The Government needs to address the issues that stifle outcomes in the North – supporting communities out of poverty, raising adult literacy and numeracy levels, a far stronger focus on early years education, addressing aspiration and substantially improving resourcing, staffing and support for schools to improve educational outcomes.”