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London dominates education ministers’ visits

Education ministers have made 31 visits to London since January – but just three to the North East, figures show

Education ministers' visits have largely been focused on the capital, figures show

Education ministers have made 31 visits to London since January – but just three to the North East, figures show

Education ministers have made more than 10 times as many visits in London as in the North East, the Department for Education has admitted.

The visits were counted in the time period since Damian Hinds was appointed as education secretary in January.

In a parliamentary answer, education minister Anne Milton said that 31 out of 127 ministerial visits had been made in London, with only three in the North East. A further 23 were in the South East, where all but one of the ministers have their constituency.

Ms Milton was responding to a question from Stephanie Peacock, the Labour MP for Barnsley East.

The minister's answer revealed that Mr Hinds had made 14 visits in London but only one in the North East, while schools minister Nick Gibb undertook seven visits to the capital and one to the North East.

Ministers 'failing to engage'

Among the education ministers, only Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford-on-Avon, has a constituency outside of the South East. 

The regional breakdown of the 127 ministerial visits – not all of which necessarily involved schools – was: London 31, South East 23, North West 18, Yorkshire and the Humber 13, South West 12, East Midlands 11, West Midlands 10, East of England 6, North East 3.

Mike Parker, director of Schools NorthEast, which represents schools across the region, said he was not surprised by the dearth of visits there.

“This shows the very low level of engagement by ministers with the North East and is indicative of the government’s view,” he said.

“It’s a sad indictment of their failure to engage with the region, even though they say it is underperforming at secondary level.”

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