Teacher training and school improvement will be boosted with a £24 million cash injection for schools in the north east of England, the government has revealed.
The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has announced that the money will be spent on helping young people who, he says, are ‘missing out’ and there are concerns over the quality of secondary schools in the north east.
The move follows growing pressure for the government to extend its flagship Opportunity Areas for social mobility after they were unveiled in 2016.
There are currently 12 of these opportunity areas, but none are in the north east.
Of the £24 million being provided, the government will spend £12 million on boosting early career training for new teachers with the cash coming from the Teacher Development Premium, which was unveiled in last year’s Autumn Budget by the Chancellor.
Improve the transition from primary to secondary schools
The remaining money for the north east will help improve the transition from primary to secondary schools and sixth forms as well as boosting outcomes for over-16s.
In addition, schools in the north east will also be targeted by other government programmes, including the National Citizens Service.
Mr Hinds said: “There are too many educational measures for the north east where it is listed ninth out of the nine English regions.
“It does not have to be like that and the north east has a lot of outstanding education, especially at primary level, and the job is to spread that through the secondary level and beyond.”
Government figures highlight that the north east has the lowest proportion of young people in ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ secondary schools and has the lowest rate of entry and attainment in the EBacc performance measure.
Youngsters who do not get a job or continue in education after their GCSEs
The north east also has the highest proportion of youngsters who do not get a job or continue in education after their GCSEs and the lowest proportion who achieve at least two A-levels.
Mr Hinds also highlighted that educational disadvantage is not just limited to those from ethnic minorities and that white working-class boys also need help, particularly for job opportunities and university admissions.
He said: “It’s right that we challenge ourselves to increase access to university for young people from minority ethnic and black communities but remember that disadvantage isn’t limited to a single group.
“The least likely of any large ethnic group for going to universities are white British disadvantaged boys and we should ask ourselves why that is and then challenge universities and the government to change that.”