Press release: Pupils in the north to benefit from ‘injection of expertise’

Thousands of children and parents across the north will benefit from a £10 million “injection of expertise” to local schools, Chancellor George Osborne and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced today (27 February 2015) during a visit to the North East.

The funding will allow the best academies in the north to share their excellence by becoming sponsors of underperforming neighbouring schools. Alongside this, the expertise of some of the very best academy groups from across the country will be used to help improve exam results in areas where pupils are being most let down, transforming the futures of young people in one of the country’s most historically underperforming regions.

Today ministers also announced a new technical school in Newcastle that will see thousands of young people in the area trained as IT and healthcare science experts, hailed as a future “landmark institution of the north” by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

Northern Futures UTC, which will open in 2017 and soon educate up to 600 students a year, is sponsored by the University of Sunderland, tech giants Accenture and Hewlett Packard, and local IT companies. Radiation detection and imagery experts Kromek and local NHS hospital trusts will also help to train young people for careers in medical sciences and information technology.

Chancellor George Osborne said:

The long-term economic plan for the North East that I’m setting out today is all about boosting the economy and creating jobs. Supporting skills and training is a key part of that, and that starts with ensuring young people in the north of England get the best education possible.

That’s why today I’m approving a new university technical college in Newcastle, specialising in health science, with space for up to 600 students. Sponsored by the University of Sunderland and Accenture, and in partnership with the local NHS trusts, this brilliant project will give another boost to the north-east economy, by encouraging scientific excellence – a core part of our plan to build a northern powerhouse.

We are already delivering real results for young people here: since 2010 nearly a quarter of a million more pupils in the north of England are attending ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools. And we’re going further today, by setting out our plans for how we will use £10 million extra support to further improve educational standards across Teesside.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

Our plan for education has resulted in 1 million more pupils in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools than in 2010 – with every region in the country improving in this measure.

But for too long pupils in some parts of the country including the north have been let down by underperforming schools, with generations of pupils seeing their potential left unfulfilled through no fault of their own.

Our £10 million injection of expertise to northern schools will allow the best academy sponsors in the region to share their knowledge and expertise, while harnessing the excellence of the nation’s top teachers to boost exam results – underlining our commitment to helping all pupils succeed.

Parents and students will benefit greatly from the new UTC for Newcastle. It will become a landmark institution of the north by training thousands of young people to become expert IT professionals and healthcare scientists, giving them the knowledge, skills and qualifications needed to fulfil their potential.

The government’s plan for education has delivered results, with 1 million more pupils now in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools than in 2010. In the north alone, 242,000 more pupils are now in top schools than in 2010.

But the new funding comes as recently published GCSE results highlighted the extent to which further action is needed to tackle school underperformance in the north:

  • in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber regions respectively the rate of children achieving 5 or more good GCSEs, including English and maths, is 55.8%, 54.6% and 53.9% compared to 56.8% nationally
  • Yorkshire and Humber has the lowest educational achievement of any region in the country, both at the end of primary school and GCSE

The 3 regional schools commissioners covering the north of England will use their expertise as education sector leaders to use the funding to:

  • bring some of the best academy sponsors from across the country, and from other parts of the region, to set up new clusters of academies where they are needed most
  • develop and build the capacity of existing sponsors to keep pace with new demands
  • enable more strong academy converters in the region to become sponsors of other schools

Schools groups in the north that have improved standards through the academies programme

Outwood Grange Academies Trust

Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT), set up by the ‘outstanding’ Outwood Grange Academy, is a multi-academy sponsor with 11 secondary and 3 primary academies located in Wakefield, Doncaster, Middlesbrough, Redcar, Scunthorpe, Ripon, Worksop, Derbyshire and Sheffield.

Chief Executive Sir Michael Wilkins took on the headship of Outwood Grange in 2001, when the school was in the bottom 10% for performance. He initiated a model of school improvement that now forms the basis of the work OGAT does with underperforming schools. Last year 80% of Outwood Grange Academy pupils achieved 5 or more A* to C GCSEs, including English and maths.

Outwood Academy City opened in January 2014. In its first year, 54% of pupils achieved 5 good GCSEs, up from 43% at the predecessor school in 2013.

OGAT has a dedicated team of subject specialists, who offer coaching and mentoring to heads of departments and teaching staff at schools across the trust. Outwood’s Praising Stars system also allows teaching staff to quickly intervene with those students who are not making sufficient progress to hit their target grade by the end of the key stage.

Enquire Learning Trust

The Enquire Learning Trust (ELT) is a multi-academy trust and school sponsor, with 16 primary academies in 3 clusters in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber. ELT was established in 2012 and through its strong reputation is attracting a growing number of schools to join its successful trust model.

Lime Tree Academy in the North West is a member of the ELT. Around 40% of this ‘outstanding’ academy’s pupils attract pupil premium funding and using this additional funding, and the outstanding teaching within the school, all pupils make the expected level of progress and 90% of pupils make more than the expected level of progress. The trust uses this ‘outstanding’ academy as a centre of excellence to support other schools within the trust.

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