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Why it’s time for a learning challenge

July 14, 2014

All our young people deserve a chance to achieve and reach their full potential.

That’s why today, we’re announcing our own Newcastle Learning Challenge, designed to run alongside a North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) initiative to raise standards and attainment across the North East.

The city-wide challenge will be co-ordinated by the council in partnership with our family of schools, businesses and higher and further education.

We want to focus on improving results among children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and reducing the numbers of young people who are not in education, employment or training. We need to narrow the gap in attainment between the most disadvantaged children and their peers, which is particularly apparent between key stage two and key stage four.

It will run in tandem with the Government-backed NELEP plan to raise attainment across the schools network. We all want to make sure as many young people as possible get on and achieve good qualifications.

We will now form a steering group to develop a vision and design the structure for the Newcastle Learning Challenge and the group will discuss its proposals at an event to be held later this year.

It’s worth remembering that the Ofsted ratings of Newcastle’s schools are well above the national average, but not all young people in Newcastle are benefiting from this improvement.

We know the attainment gap between children who are eligible for free school meals and children who come from better off backgrounds is much wider than the national average.

Our numbers of young people not in education, employment or training are also unacceptably high.

I want the Newcastle Learning Challenge to get to the bottom of why this is and what we can all do to solve it.

Getting more young people into education, employment or training is fundamental to creating our ambition for a working city and tackling inequality. It means a better future for everyone.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2014 10:39 pm

    Why just a ‘Newcastle’ Learning challenge? Doesn’t the rest of the North East need one?

  2. July 16, 2014 12:43 pm

    You’re on the Newcastle City Council blog. Perhaps you should speak to Councillors in your area about a Learning Challenge.

    • July 16, 2014 6:08 pm

      I thought we now had seven united Councils working together but it seems not. I guess the others can poach your results though when they come in so perhaps the other areas should take up other challenges and then share the learning outcomes and take action. There is a woeful lack of action in the North East in spite of a wealth of knowledge already existing so I hope this won’t be another ‘I told you so’ exercise.

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