Responding to the Social Mobility Commission’s annual Social Mobility Barometer, published today (Tuesday 21 January), Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“This report shows that the government is in danger of leaving behind the current generation of children growing up in the North. There are many wonderful schools in the North, with passionate, dedicated and talented educators. But school budgets are at breaking point. Schools can't improve equality for pupils if they are struggling for money themselves – vital interventions that could improve equality are already disappearing. By contrast, the additional investment London has seen has improved life chances for millions. This proves that schools can make a real difference when they are fully funded.
“If we’re serious about improving social mobility, we have to invest and prioritise education, especially in the early years. This is where the foundations for future success are laid. If children fall behind at this stage it can prove difficult, often impossible, for them to catch up later, even with additional help.
“Additionally, a highly skilled and well-motivated team of teachers is essential if you’re going to stand a realistic chance of improving equality for pupils. Certain areas have always struggled to attract teachers. We need a national strategy for teacher recruitment that recognises teachers as high-status professionals and guarantees enough teachers f
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