South Tyneside Council chiefs welcome commitment to better education – but questions over policy remain

Last week, Leveling Up Secretary Michael Gove unveiled the government’s plan to close the gap between rich and poor parts of the country, including a pledge “to eradicate illiteracy and innumeracy by refocusing education spending on the most disadvantaged regions of the country”.

The plan, which includes 12 key promises, has been criticized by Labor for containing no new money, with Mr Gove himself saying it was about ‘transferring money and power’, without necessarily provide additional funding.

Read more

Read more

South Tyneside schools urged to sign up for free period products for pupils

Register to our daily newsletter

The newsletter mute the noise

However, while the proposal may lack specifics, the sentiment has been welcomed by Council leaders.

A council spokesperson said: ‘We look forward to hearing more details about South Tyneside becoming an area for education investment and learning what this will mean for our family of schools. We also look forward to hearing more about the funds that will be provided to our borough to improve outcomes for our children and youth.

“We are also looking forward to seeing details of other announcements, such as the National Youth Guarantee – which the government says will ensure every young person has access to regular clubs and activities – as well as the expansion of Skills Bootcamps and additional funding for internships.”

South Tyneside Council chiefs welcome the principle of upgrading education, but questions remain over funding. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible training courses of up to 16 weeks in length that are available to adults aged 19 or older who are working or recently unemployed.

John Hall, the North East national executive of the country’s largest teachers’ union, the NASUWT, also welcomes the principle of upgrading education, but believes it should involve increased investment, “not just a redistribution of the current pot”.

He added: “That would simply be robbing Peter to pay Paul. All the schools will tell you they need the money and so why should Somerset, for example, be robbed to pay for the funding holes in the North East?

“The proposal at the moment seems to lack substance and is made to appease the electorate. If improving education is a priority, we would like the government to engage with unions and professional teachers on what is necessary.”

Amanda Bailey, director of the North East Child Poverty Commission, believes tackling child poverty should be at the center of the government’s leveling agenda.

The director of the North East Child Poverty Commission, Amanda Bailey, was also disappointed with the white paper, citing the eradication of child poverty not being identified as a priority.

She said: “The government’s commitment to expanding opportunities and improving living standards is welcome and absolutely essential for families in the North East.

“And yet – despite our region having the fastest rising rate of child poverty in the UK – this crucial challenge is nowhere recognized in the long-awaited white paper, let alone included as an area of Reducing child poverty is also not listed as one of the government’s measures to level success.

“There will be no meaningful leveling for families and communities in the North East unless tackling the scourge of child poverty is placed at the center of this work.”

A message from the editor:

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today.

Enjoy unlimited access to all our news and sports, see fewer ads, enjoy faster loading times, test your brain with daily puzzles and access to exclusive newsletters.

Your support for our journalism means we can continue to tell the stories of South Tyneside for generations to come. Click here to subscribe – and click here to get the latest Gazette news and sport delivered to your inbox via our email newsletters.

About Franklin Bailey

Check Also

Decline in child poverty due to a number of COVID-era policies, report suggests

Data recently released by the Michigan League for Public Policy suggests that some COVID-era policies …