There is growing recognition that improving schools is a crucial component of efforts to create a ‘northern powerhouse’. The IPPR analysis of education data reveals why northern schools are falling behind those in London:
- The divide between London and the north of England starts before children reach school age. The ‘early years gap’ between children from poorer and wealthier homes is almost twice as large in the North as it is in London.
- The North performs reasonably well on primary school attainment. Places like Redcar and Cleveland, Trafford and Warrington all have results that would be the envy of most London boroughs.
- Secondary school attainment in some parts of the North is a big cause for concern, and is the stage where educational inequalities widen sharply.
- Focusing on failing schools is important but will not be suf cient to eradicate educational inequality. Even good and outstanding schools have attainment gaps.
- Educational inequality is not just a problem for satellite and coastal towns: some major northern cities such as Liverpool, Leeds and Shef eld also struggle to raise attainment among disadvantaged pupils.
- Inputs matter: schools in the North receive significantly less money per pupil than those in London, and can struggle to attract and retain high-quality teachers and leaders.