The first and only candidate to announce their intention to stand for North East mayor used a speech at an academy to call for greater support for schools to end the cycle of low aspiration.
Speaking at Excelsior Academy in Newcastle’s West End, entrepreneur Jeremy Middleton lauded the work of Head Teacher Philomena Marshall, crediting her with turning around the school. He noted that before Mrs Marshall took over the school, then called West Gate Community College, almost 60% of young people left it with no qualifications, compared to its 98% A-Level pass rate today.
Jeremy, who is also a governor of Studio West School in West Denton, called for an intensive programme of work experience and careers advice in all North East schools. He pledged that if elected as mayor he would aim to guarantee a job, an apprenticeship or a place in higher education for every school leaver in the region.
Mr Middleton said: “When it comes to education we should not settle for what we’re given, or accept the low aspirations that so many people here have been prepared to live with so long, there should be no limit to our ambition for our young people. We need to throw off the old ways of doing things and be ambitious, because when we’re ambitious and when we invest in what works, then nothing is out of our reach.
“When the Devolution Bill is brought into law the North East mayor will be able to unleash real power to change things for young people. They will have new powers to improve our schools and colleges, and a new budget to create jobs, they will be able to create apprenticeships, and unlock the full potential of so many young people who have been let down by the region’s political establishment.
“Some members of the North East establishment are more interested in covering up their failings and defending the status quo than delivering for young people. They spend millions of pounds revamping civic halls, this money would be better spent on schools and skills for the next generation. If elected as your mayor, I will do my best to deliver a job, apprenticeship, or a higher education place for every young person leaving our schools.
Mr Middleton is currently the first and only prospective candidate for the mayoral position covering seven North East Local Authority areas.
SCHOOLS NorthEast will update schools on any education comments made by any future mayoral candidates to come forward.