The looming general election: What we’re doing in the run-up to it

2nd May 2024

Recently, we can’t seem to get through our day without coming across two infamous words: GENERAL ELECTION.


Although we still haven’t yet had confirmation of exactly when it’s going to take place, we can all agree that it’s closer right now than it ever has been before. It could be May, or it may be October, or perhaps even January? We’re still yet to get any sort of confirmation.


Still, at Schools North East, we’ve been very busy in the run-up to the election; work began as soon as the 2019 election concluded! We’re constantly seeking new ways to influence and point policymakers in the direction of the changes that our region’s schools most want – and need – to see.


We’re passionate about understanding the challenges faced by all 1,150 schools in our region. By holding regular roundtables, we gain valuable insights from the people who directly need the support that we’re advocating for.


These discussions allow us to identify unmet needs, prioritise areas for support, and ensure decision makers are truly aware of the most pressing issues within the North East’s education sector. Through the voices of those sitting around the table, we can tailor our approach to lobbying and maximise impact.


We have several roundtables taking place imminently, each including a special guest speaker. Click on the link to find out more and to book your space.


– Roundtable with Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sunderland (16 May)

Roundtable with Russell Hobby, CEO, Teach First (06 June)

– Roundtable with Rachel de Souza, The Children’s Commissioner (25 June)

As the election draws closer, our roundtables this academic year take on a more strategic focus, looking in detail at individual policy issues and showcasing the solutions and good practice in our region.


By attending these roundtables and contributing to the conversation, you’ll become a catalyst of change, helping us shape education in the North East and beyond. Your expertise and insights are invaluable as we continue to embark on our mission to “Lead not Plead”, and we encourage you to use your voice to help us influence the educational landscape.


These roundtables are free to attend and exclusively for Partner Schools only. If you’d like to find out more about becoming a Partner School, click here.



This year we launched our very own Podcast series: The Schools North East Podcast. It’s a channel we’ve wanted to explore for quite some time now, but with the upcoming general election, this felt like the perfect time to get all our ducks in a row and finally launch the series.


Our podcast is a source for better understanding some of the challenges facing our education system today, from a North East perspective. It’s a space to explore the gap between educational policies and the realities experienced by those working tirelessly in our region’s schools.


We can’t know what kind of change to lobby if we don’t first know exactly what issues our schools are facing. So, having in-depth, one-to-one discussions with various education staff (from CEOs to caretakers, teachers to trustees) allows us to peek behind the curtain and shed light on the most pressing issues.


Guests so far have included Colin Lofthouse (CEO of SMART Multi Academy Trust), Zoe Carr (CEO of Wise Academies), and Alex Fairlamb (Assistant Principal at Kings Priory School.


If you’d like to listen to our Podcast episodes, follow us on Spotify. Fancy a shot becoming a guest instead? We’d love to hear from you! Apply to speak on the Schools North East podcast.


State of the Region Surveys

Each term, we circulate a set of questions to better understand how our education staff are currently coping within different key areas, such as attendance, wellbeing, and recruitment and retention. While it serves many purposes, the main driving force behind this document is to highlight the real issues our pupils and colleagues face, so that we know exactly what policymakers should be focusing on.


Because, let’s face it, the two are very rarely aligned.


What we’re given isn’t always necessarily what we need, and so collaboration with our region’s schools allows us to identify the real priorities against the counterfeit ones, so that we can steer decision makers in the right direction. We can’t expect a strategic plan if we don’t first weaponise the data.


Our most recent State of the Regent surveys and the results can be found here:


Autumn 23/24

Spring 23/24



At the heart of all our influencing efforts sits the Schools North East Manifesto, which underpins our work. Created with our Partner Schools, it’s the main platform we use to focus on influencing the development of education policy regionally and nationally, and we’re constantly revisiting the document to ensure accuracy and relevancy.


It’s clear from our ongoing data and research that the North East faces unique challenges, and when these challenges are ignored, an inaccurate picture of North East education is created.


If any political party wants to take seriously the challenges of our region, we suggest they look long and hard at our recommendations and adopt them as the platform for successful education policymaking.


You can read the current manifesto here.


We’ll be here before, during, and after


Influencing the education sector requires sustained effort, strategic planning, and collaboration with stakeholders.


However, it’s important to remember that while the outcome of the upcoming general election can certainly shape the education policy landscape, we can – and will – continue to make a meaningful impact regardless of the political context.


Regardless of what happens in May or October or November or January or whenever the general election takes place, Schools North East will be here to advocate and influence on behalf of the North East’s unique education community. 


Summit 2024

Educating Westminster: Influencing the Direction of Change.

17 October 2024 - St James' Park. Newcastle. Priority booking for Partner Schools now open!