To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of regional inequality on educational attainment.
I refer the hon. Member for Blackburn to the answer I gave on 3 July 2018 to Question 157180 which included links to the available attainment data, split by region, for Key Stage 2, 4 and 16-18 study: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-06-25/157180/.
The Government wants to create a country where everyone has the best start in life, no matter what their background is or where they live. Projects are being funded to raise pupils’ outcomes from an early age, train strong school leaders and support schools as well as improving outcomes for children in parts of the country that have faced long-term challenges.
The Department’s £72 million Opportunity Areas programme is investing in 12 areas of the country facing challenges, including five areas in the north of England. These areas will also benefit from a share of £22 million through a new Essential Life Skills programme, to help young people develop life skills in resilience, wellbeing and employability.
This builds on progress made since 2010, with 1.9 million more children in England now in good or outstanding schools, record numbers of young people in education or training - including one million apprenticeships in the north of England - and more disadvantaged pupils now going to university.
The Northern Powerhouse programme includes £3.4 billion of investment in projects to boost the local economy, £12 million to spread good teaching practice in English and improve early literacy, and schemes that help families to support their child’s education at home.