All posts by kehindeoshinyemicityuniversity

Children in the North behind in their achievements

New findings have revealed that children in the North of England are showing lower levels of achievement than their Southern counterparts. The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, herself a Leeds-based mother, believes this is because parents in the south tend to be pushier and to spur on their children more.

Findings were actually more positive for children in primary education, with 56% of children in the North-East reaching the expected standard at age 11. This compares well to London with 57% of children reaching expected standards. It is when children enter secondary education, that the gap becomes more apparent. This is highlighted in the discovery that school leavers from London and the south-east are more likely to go to competitive universities than those in the north, disadvantaged pupils in London are more likely to get 5 good GCSEs than their counterparts in the north, of the 10 English cities with the lowest employment rates – 8 are in the north.

The Commissioner’s Growing up North research on children’s prospects in the north will be launched on Tuesday as a response to the discoveries. Ms Longfield speaking ahead of the launch said: “As northern parents, we need to be aware of these inconsistencies and variations in secondary schools and push hard for our schools to show how they are improving and helping our children to achieve.

“One of the real drivers of improvements of schools in London has been the demand for good school results from parents and children. There is much we northern parents can learn about this parent power.”

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Government appeal over Brexit powers to be heard by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will be hearing from government officials on Monday their appeal over last month’s ruling which made it compulsory for there to be a parliamentary vote on the triggering of Article 50 in the Brexit process.

The hearing is expected to play out over the course of four days, with the final judgement to be announced in January 2017. The case has generated a lot of public interest, and in response, extra seating is being provided for 115 members of the public as well as 70 journalists from around the world.  In a statement on the Supreme Court website, the justices said they were “aware of the public interest in this case and the strong feelings associated with the wider political questions of the UK’s departure from the EU, which we stress are not the subject of this appeal”.

It is hoped by the government that the appeal will be successful. However, in the case that the court continues to reject Mrs May’s appeal to “prerogative powers”, the Conservatives do have a back up plan. A 16-word bill is being prepared which could be fast-tracked though Parliament, asking MPs and peers “to give permission” to the government to trigger Article 50 in time to meet the March deadline.

It seems that all signs are pointing towards a Brexit after all. As the Labour Party has similarly announced it has no plans to atop the Brexit process. Rather they propose a soft Brexit instead of a hard one, with the UK maintaining access to the single market and the protection of worker’s rights. Shadow Attorney General Baroness Chakrabarti stated:

“We have been completely clear that we are democrats and respect the outcome of the referendum, even though many of us – myself included – campaigned in the opposite direction.

“So this will happen, pursuant to the will of the people. But there is not a simple question of ‘in and out of the European Union’, there are many questions that Parliament has to scrutinise about what happens next.”

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One third of children found to be behind in their development by age 5 in England

Research conducted by the Department of Education has found that a third of school children in England are behind in their development by the age of 5. The study details that 31% of under-5’s lack development in the areas of communication, language, maths and social skills.

It is believed that this is an even greater problem with children who originate from deprived backgrounds; as 52% of children who receive free school meals fall behind national expectations, compared to just 70% overall. Save the Children, an international NGO (non-governmental organisation) which promotes children’s rights, has hit out at the Department of Education, claiming that this is clear evidence children are being “denied a fair start in life”. The chief executive for the organisation, Kevin Watkins, has stated:

“It’s shocking that in this day and age so many children in England, 0particularly the poorest, are at greater risk of falling behind by the time they reach school because of our chronic shortage of nursery teachers, a shortage that shows little signs of improving.”

Evidence corroborates this; in England, there is thought to be a shortage of 11,000 teachers for the particular age group, leading some to believe that this is the main source of the problem.

Nevertheless opinions vary over what the real reason for the issue could be. Sophie Higgins, a nutritional therapist from London claims to not be at all shocked by the findings- “I think it has a lot to do with how our diet is over here, so no, it doesn’t surprise me at all.”

London students Sheri Chucks and Alex Hillyard likewise share this opinion- “you’d think there wouldn’t be a lack in development because there’s so much more information about their development as whole”.

They also believe it has to do with the way parents bring up children, particularly with regards to communication-“It think when they’re younger, it’s about how much conversation you have with them…I’ve got a 7 year old sister and we talk to her as though she is a grown up person, like someone our age, so she’s more advanced in the way that she speaks.”

However, the Department of Education has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that; “We are clear that high quality early education is vital in giving all children the best chance to fulfil their potential…We are determined to go further to improve quality, which is why we are doing more than ever to help attract and retain the best staff and are investing a record £6bn per year in childcare by 2020.”