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North East schools succeed despite the loaded system

Mike Parker asks why the state of education in the region is consistently misunderstood by policymakers

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When Sir Michael Wilshaw glared out across an audience of around 450 headteachers at the Schools NorthEast Summit in 2015, it was advance warning of the much-anticipated lecture on the gap in performance at primary and secondary phases that was to follow.

The North East has grown tired of the custodians of the schooling system (the message was repeated by education secretary Justine Greening at the summit in 2016) who chastise on the one hand while doing little to pull the policy levers to support lasting change in a region that has more than its fair share of challenges.

The region’s ...

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