£24m to improve opportunities for young people in the North East

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has launched a £24 million programme to improve opportunities for young people in the North East, such as improving further education opportunities and job prospects.

While the North East has some of the best performing primary schools in the country, secondary school performance is significantly below other regions, and fewer 18-year-olds attend the country’s top universities than those from any other part of the country. The North East also has one of the highest proportions of young people not in education, employment or training after year 11.

The programme, called 'Opportunity North East', will aim to tackle these issues by investing £12 million to improve the transition from primary to secondary school, as well as drive up standards – particularly at secondary level – and improve outcomes for pupils post 16.

It will work with secondary schools and colleges to encourage young people to consider university, degree apprenticeships and other high quality technical education options.

The programme will also partner with local businesses to improve job prospects for young people across the region, and will invest a further £12 million to boost early career training for new teachers and help improve the quality of teaching and raise standards in the region’s schools.

It will also build on good primary school performance to ensure more children continue to achieve at secondary school; and improve secondary schools in the region by encouraging collaboration with schools, high performing academy trusts and local authorities.

It will also work with partners such as Teach First to ensure there are more great teachers where they are needed most. The North East will be the first region in England to implement more support for newly-qualified teachers to encourage them to stay in the classroom, with £12 million for early roll-out of the Government’s improved offer from September 2020 – and more details set to be announced in the Department for Education’s recruitment and retention strategy. This will form part of the Teacher Development Premium, creating an enhanced offer of professional development for teachers in challenging areas throughout their careers.

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