Lord Heseltine unveiled his vision for the future prosperity of the Tees Valley in a report published on Tuesday, placing education at the core of improvement.
Commissioned by the Government, the 90-page document titled Tees Valley: Opportunity Unlimited looks at what is needed to secure a strong economic future for the area and make it a “bustling powerhouse of economic activity”.
It also sets out key recommendations for the Government to improve the education system in Tees Valley, citing Sir Michael Wilshaw’s comments about the Northern Powerhouse spluttering and dying if Northern cities fail to produce skilled individuals to sustain it.
EDUCATION: Key Recommendations
- The Department for Education build on their initial role in the Tees Valley Devolution Deal and make a commitment that they will play a collaborative and active role in the Education, Employment and Skills Board.
- The Regional Schools Commissioner to play an active, collaborative, and advisory role on the Tees Valley Education, Employment and Skills Board, which will ensure better joining up and collaborative working between Local Authority controlled schools and academies
- The Tees Valley Combined Authority must provide ambitious, visible and determined leadership of the strategy to transform education and skills across the Tees Valley.
- Local Authorities to continue to send out letters to leaders of underperforming primary and secondary schools, and the Combined Authority to play a role in agreeing all school intervention plans with governing bodies, through the Education, Employment and Skills Board.
- The Tees Valley area is prioritised for national roll out of the National Teaching Service, which seeks to incentivise talented teachers and middle leaders to work in areas that are struggling to recruit and retain high quality teachers.
- After completion of the Further Education Area Review, the Tees Valley should consider whether it would be appropriate to create a University Technical College or Institute of Technology.
- The Tees Valley LEP and Combined Authority to work with employers and schools to promote and increase the number of apprenticeships in the area and maximise the opportunities presented by the Government’s apprenticeship reforms, including the levy.
- All national and local careers advice initiatives should be coordinated through the Tees Valley Combined Authority Education, Employment and Skills Board.
The report cites secondary school performance statistics, suggesting that a “concerted effort” across all education bodies will be required to “ensure that the potential workforce is prepared for the actual skills needs in the economy”.