Queen’s Speech 2017: SCHOOLS NorthEast response

SCHOOLS NorthEast, the representative body for all 1,250 schools in the region, welcomes the Government’s commitment to fairer funding for schools, reform of technical education and a greater emphasis on mental health outlined in today’s Queen’s Speech, but the quality of implementation will be key to their success.

 

School funding

From the very beginning, SCHOOLS NorthEast has backed the concept of a national fair funding formula and have campaigned hard on this issue. Unfortunately there is a large gap between the Government’s view of what is fair and the reality. North East schools are currently significantly underfunded compared to both national and London levels.

Mike Parker, Director of SCHOOLS NorthEast, said: “The Government has made a commitment to fairer funding and will now have to deliver this. To do so, the Government will have to increase funding for all schools to address the drastic state of school finances. But it will also need to rebalance the national schools budget which has for too long seen North East schools underfunded.

“This was a key issue in the general election and people were very clear that they wanted to see more funding going to schools. The Government should give the voters what they have asked for.”

 

Grammar schools

SCHOOLS NorthEast welcomes the omission of the expansion of grammar schools from the Queen’s Speech.

“Evidence has repeatedly shown that grammar schools do not increase social mobility. The plans met universal opposition from school leaders in the North East and it is clear that their reintroduction to our region would be deeply damaging – particularly in our most deprived communities.”

 

Technical education

Reform of technical education is very welcome. It is important that vocational qualifications are valued as highly as academic ones.

“The Government is right to strengthen vocational qualifications. These equip young people with the skills that our regional economy needs. Putting vocational and academic qualifications on the same level is good for both our young people and our businesses. However, the Government’s current focus at GCSE level has had the effect of narrowing curriculum options to the detriment of both pupils and the wider economy.”

 

Mental health

Mental health is one of the uppermost concerns for school leaders in our region, so we strongly support the Government’s proposals to prioritise mental health within the NHS.

“We commend the Government on its efforts to place more emphasis on mental health and urge health officials to make sure that this vision becomes a reality.”

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