Children in northern England being failed by educational divide, study finds


Hundreds of thousands of children growing up in the north of England are falling behind their southern counterparts because of a stark educational divide, according to research by the office of the children’s commissioner for England.

Children in major northern cities do markedly worse than those in London or the south-east: in the Thames Valley Berkshire region, where the prime minister, Theresa May, has her constituency, 8% of 11-year-olds reached a higher standard at Key Stage 2, compared to just 3% in Liverpool and 4% in Leeds.

Liverpool fares particularly badly across many metrics, including when compared with other northern cities. A child in Liverpool is 20% less likely to be at the expected standard when leaving primary school than a child in Newcastle.

The figures will be published as part of the children’s commissioner Anne Longfield’s ongoing Growing Up North project. Longfield said children were being disadvantaged at an early age.

“These figures are a stark reminder that there are hundreds of thousands of children growing up in the north who are falling behind children in the south – in many cases before they’ve even started their school lives,” she said

Speaking at a Northern Powerhouse conference in Manchester on Thursday, Longfield will set out how many children in the biggest northern cities are starting different stages of their lives behind their peers in the south-east of England, and warn that unless children are put at the heart of the northern regeneration agenda, it will have failed.


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