A major Government report has been released on the state of education in the North - but Chester cannot get a mention.
Our city does not appear once in the 69-page document.
The review focused on ‘core cities’ Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Newcastle as improving education was ‘key’ to the success of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.
Chester MP Chris Matheson said our schools are ‘up against it’ for funding.
The report states: “There is a clear disparity between school performance in the North compared with other regions, even when relative socio-economic disadvantage is taken into account.”
The Government has announced its Northern Powerhouse Education Strategy to help bridge the divide.
But National Union of Teachers general secretary Kevin Courtney described the latest Autumn Statement as a ‘huge disappointment’ for schools and colleges.
NUT figures claim schools in Cheshire West will lose out on more than £18m of funding by 2020. This equates to almost £450 per pupil.
It comes in the week both the King’s School and Queen’s School featured in the Sunday Times top 10 independent schools in the North West. The Grange School in Northwich also appears in the top 10.
No schools from Cheshire West made it into the same list for state-funded schools.
Mr Matheson said it was a battle to make sure the city’s voice is heard.
The Labour MP said: “We’ve got good schools and education leaders in Chester and are lucky in that respect, but we are up against it. In the future there is going to be a real issue.
“The problem is we are defending what we have got rather than trying to improve and striving to get better.”
Cheshire West was not identified as a failing local authority by the review.
The report said: “Statistics for the whole of the north, however, obscure important differences about school performance.
“Our analysis of education data reveals a more complicated story about why northern schools are falling behind and the role that policy should play in addressing this issue.”
Areas such as recruitment and retention of staff, leadership and a ‘culture of low expectations in some low performing schools’ have been identified as key factors.
However, it adds: “Focusing on failing schools is important but will not be sufficient to eradicate educational inequality. Even good and outstanding schools have attainment gaps.”
The review also said the gap is far greater at secondary school level and this is ‘where policy focus should be’.
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