By Finley Crebolder
Making his first appearance in parliament since last year’s election, George Osborne has today called for action to be taken in improving education in the north of England.
Since losing his place in government as Chancellor of the Exchequer last year, Osborne has become chair of Northern Powerhouse, a group dedicated to finding and solving infrastructure problems in the northern areas of the country.
In February, it published it’s third report on Educating the North, in which it highlighted the difference in quality between schools in the north and south of England, and outlined 14 steps that can be taken to change this.
These steps, it is hoped, will address what Osborne calls “decades of under-performance in education in the North of England.”
Addressing the Education Committee this morning, he reiterated these issues yet again, saying:
“The simple fact is this: educational performance in the north of England is not as strong as it should be, and it lags behind the south, particularly the capital, considerably. We believe something can be done about that.”
He also said that, whilst he believes Northern Powerhouse can address these issues, the government and the nation as a whole must also acknowledge the problems and take them seriously if real change is to take place:
“There needs to be a determined, national effort to ensure that as many children in the North go to good or outstanding schools as in London.
“Ultimately, the leadership needs to be 100% committed to improving education in the north if we are to make significant inroads.
The Education Committee being addressed agreed with these points made and support the work done by Northern Powerhouse, saying:
“Our committee has two aims, which are are addressing social injustice in the education system, and boosting skills and productivity among young people, and everything you have said today links in to what we’re doing.”
Whilst on paper it seems that work is being done to ensure education in the north is improved, only time will tell whether real change can be implemented by both Northern Powerhouse and the government as a whole.