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Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy

Volume 656: debated on Monday 11 March 2019

As recommended in the northern powerhouse schools strategy, we are implementing a range of measures in the north to improve teaching and leadership capacity, to recruit and retain more teachers and to close the disadvantage gap. In 2018, 80% of children were in good or outstanding schools in the north, compared with 67% in 2010.

Many of the projects that the Minister has referred to today and previously have a national reach and are not solely catering for the north, which betrays the very purpose of the northern powerhouse schools strategy. Will he commit to creating a northern schools improvement board, drawing together local authorities and schools commissioners, and to extend funding beyond 2020, to deliver the regional strategy that we in Bradford need and were promised?

We are absolutely committed to the northern powerhouse strategy. Indeed, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will be in Middlesbrough on Thursday to announce more plans for Opportunity North East. The northern powerhouse strategy involves a range of policies. For example, we are rolling out a three-year programme of tailored support for some of the schools facing the most significant recruitment and retention problems; around 100 schools in the north will benefit from that. Five opportunity areas in the north will receive a share of £72 million to improve social mobility. In the Bradford opportunity area, we are targeting up to £1.5 million of school improvement support, improving literacy through £600,000 of investment in Bradford primary schools, including nine schools in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency.