Improving education will be a key focus in new North of Tyne

Focus on education.
Focus on education.

An action plan for better schools will be rolled out across the North of Tyne area as part of a ground-breaking education challenge.

Members of the combined authority are set to agree the steps needed to turn around schools and improve life chances as part of the education challenge agreed in the area’s devolution deal.

At a meeting later this month, the combined authority will agree the aims of the challenge, with a key focus being on ensuring all schools North of Tyne are ranked good or outstanding.

Making sure every young person is ready for school will also form part of the education challenge, as well as developing proposals for a universal mental-health offer to all schools and creating a North of Tyne Teacher Deal to support staff and staff retention.

The cabinet is being recommended to agree, in principle, to invest further resources into a Joint School Improvement Strategy alongside a bid to Government for the creation of the North of Tyne Education Improvement Challenge.

Only two education challenges have so far been backed by government nationally. The first was in 2002 when the Government created a new set of policies focusing on London’s state secondary schools, before, in 2008, a three-year scheme was launched in the North West, known as the Manchester Challenge.

Pat Ritchie, interim head of paid service for the North of Tyne Combined Authority, said: “We’re committed to a high quality, inclusive education system, which ensures our young people have the skills and qualifications to take up good quality training, apprenticeships and jobs.

“To do this we need to think differently and that’s why we’re developing a bold, visionary approach to future education.

“We know there is already some excellent work going on in education and we’ve held a series of engagement events, gathering over 100 views from head teachers, health and social care leaders, businesses, government representatives, and sector experts to help shape our plans.

“Ongoing discussions are also taking place within each local authority area about the developments.

“We now need to build on all this work and develop our plan for investing in the future of every young person in the North of Tyne.”