Education in Bradford is poor. It’s a fact. Bradford is the worst city in the country to educate your child, joint second worst local education authority (LEA) in the country and is in the worst overall area, Yorkshire & the Humber, in the country. Education in Bradford is bad.
The picture, though, is mirrored across huge parts of the (post) industrial North, with the worst performing areas and LEAs far more likely to be at or near the bottom of the league tables. For instance:
- Of the 13 areas shamed by the head of OfSTED, in which children have a less than 50% chance of attending a Good or better school, only the Isle of Wight is below Birmingham.
- Of the bottom 10 LEAs (GCSEs in 2014), 7 were in the North; of the bottom 20, 10 were in the North.
- Of the worst performing areas, Yorkshire & the Humber was the worst, followed by the North East.
I’m tired of Bradford coming near the bottom of every league table published and want to do something about it. But what can some bloke from Bradford actually do? Complain.
My problem, you see is, that we’re not getting our fair crack of the whip. The government makes noises about HS2 and Northern Powerhouse/s, tells us we’re all in it together and that we should trust them to sort out our education system. But, London’s schools were awful a decade or so ago. Nobody wanted to send their kids, least of all parliamentarians, to schools in London who were failing their kids routinely.
What happened? The national government stepped in and decided that enough was enough, schooling in the capital was a national disgrace, and they sorted it. London got the London Challenge – we got nowt.
In 2015, 6 of the top 10 LEAs are in London; Outer London and Inner London are 1 and 2 in the best areas for GCSEs; nearly 90% of LEAs are above average; and London’s schools are praised for their work with all children, but especially poor kids and non-white kids.
Am I angry that Bradford and Northern kids tend to do worse? Yes. But what is more galling, more frustrating, more disappointing is that the government knows exactly what to do to change our kids’ fortunes and prospects… because they did it over a decade ago.
So, when is it our turn? Where’s our Northern Challenge?
If you’re annoyed, angry or upset by this, join me. Write to your MP, write to your council, write to anyone you can think of and ask them: when’s it our turn? Where’s our Northern Challenge?