Michael Wilshaw quote: "People of Manchester and Liverpool and the north of England are not being treated fairly...their children have less of a chance of educational success than children south of the Wash."

The declare: Sir Michael Wilshaw, England’s chief inspector of colleges, says there’s a noticeable north-south divide in relation to the speed at which colleges are bettering, giving youngsters within the North poorer possibilities of academic success.

Actuality Examine verdict: There’s proof that the kids within the North of England have much less probability of academic success than youngsters within the South of England at secondary stage, however it’s troublesome to level to a single cause for this. There’s a hyperlink between deprivation and poorer college outcomes, however essentially the most disadvantaged areas of London have skilled dramatic enhancements in colleges prior to now 20 years.

The north-south divide in schooling was a central theme in Ofsted’s annual report for the second yr in a row.

In an interview on BBC Radio four’s At present programme on Thursday, chief inspector of colleges Sir Michael Wilshaw mentioned that in northern England “youngsters have much less of an opportunity of academic success than youngsters south of the Wash”.

Delivering the report, he mentioned the hole between the North and Midlands and the South was widening and now stood at 12 share factors – within the North and Midlands, 72% of secondary colleges had been rated good or excellent in contrast with 84% within the South.

This implies there are 135,000 extra secondary college youngsters being taught in under-performing colleges within the northern England and the Midlands than within the South.

In response to Ofsted, there are greater than twice as many secondary colleges judged insufficient within the North and Midlands (98 colleges or 6%) in contrast with 44 within the South and East (three%).

Sir Michael additionally mentioned that of the 10 worst performing native authority areas, seven had been within the North or Midlands and pupils in these areas had been much less more likely to obtain the best grades at GCSE.

The seven within the North and Midlands had been:

  • Blackpool
  • Bradford
  • Doncaster
  • Knowsley
  • Liverpool
  • Northumberland
  • Stoke-on-Trent

The three within the South had been:

  • Swindon
  • South Gloucestershire
  • Isle of Wight

The federal government says the proportion of excellent colleges is rising in each area.

It has definitely elevated total – the proportion of colleges judged to be good or excellent has elevated by 12 share factors since 2011.

However enchancment will not be taking place on the similar fee throughout the nation, as is evident from the widening hole between the North and the South.

The Ofsted report says that in some components of the North and Midlands, enchancment over the previous 5 years has “stagnated”.

“In 2011, the North West was one of many stronger areas, however the proportion of pupils in good and excellent colleges is now simply over three share factors increased than 5 years in the past,” it says.

“This implies there are solely simply over three,000 extra pupils in good and excellent secondary colleges within the area in comparison with a rise of over 90,000 pupils in London in the identical interval.”

A few of this distinction can be right down to a declining pupil inhabitants, however in keeping with Ofsted this doesn’t account for it fully.

A report from think tank the IPPR in 2015 discovered there was a north-south hole in GCSE attainment, by way of the variety of pupils attaining 5 or extra GCSEs together with English and maths.

On common, 55% of pupils within the North and Midlands achieved five good GCSEs in contrast with 59% within the South and East this yr.

It is not so simple as only a north-south divide although – there are broad discrepancies in academic achievement throughout the nation.

Coastal communities and extra remoted areas of the nation, whether or not within the North or South, have been flagged as areas of concern due to the poor academic achievement of their pupils prior to now. And inside areas, and even smaller native areas, there could be massive variations.

For instance, you may take a look at numbers of pupils getting the English Baccalaureate or EBacc – a efficiency measure for colleges based mostly on what number of pupils get good grades in core “conventional” topics corresponding to English, maths, sciences, historical past and geography.

In outer London, 32% of pupils achieved the EBacc, in contrast with 22% in Yorkshire and the Humber.

On a extra native stage, Leeds had the bottom proportion of younger folks attaining the EBacc at simply four%, in contrast with 52%, the best within the nation, in Richmond Park.

However should you look to Bournemouth, you may see that within the Bournemouth West constituency, like in Leeds, four% of pupils achieved the EBacc, whereas on the opposite aspect of city in Bournemouth East, it was 9 instances increased at 36%.

Main colleges within the North and the South, nonetheless, have related proportions of excellent and excellent colleges.

It’s arduous to say why this hole at secondary stage particularly exists.

There’s a well-documented link between deprivation and doing worse at school.

However London, house to among the most disadvantaged areas within the nation and as soon as additionally house to among the worst colleges, has skilled a dramatic turnaround within the high quality of its colleges.

Some have prompt it might be, partially, because of the positive effects of immigration, however the common consensus is there isn’t a one single cause.

Reasonably, a common and collective deal with elevating requirements from the early years onwards has led to gradual improvements over time.


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