Sheffield Hallam MP will chair a think tank meeting on inequality at Sheffield Hallam University from 2pm today (Friday, April 15).
At the meeting a commission from the Social Market Foundation will ask teachers and academics for their thoughts on the causes of inequality in education. The commission will brief attendees on its findings so far, including new ideas on the role teacher retention and quality has on educational outcomes.
The former Deputy Prime Minister said: “On launching the commission, our research showed that where young people live now has more impact on their performance at school than used to be the case.
“It is not just the relative wealth of parents that holds lots of bright kids back: it is postcode inequality too. What part of the country a child grows up in has a real impact on their life chances.
“Some places have been better than others at breaking that link between disadvantage and doing badly at school. But parts of Sheffield are struggling.
“We think that problems in hiring and then keeping hold of good teachers are a big part of what drives these differences. This is why we’re bringing together a group of teachers and school leaders from across the city to talk about the challenges they face and what needs to change.”
The commission released initial findings from its research in January. They suggested Yorkshire and the Humber were lagging behind other areas, such as London.
Figures showed more than 70 per cent of pupils in London achieved five ‘good’ GCSEs, compared to 63 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber. And at age 11, Yorkshire and the Humber, along with the West Midlands, have disproportionately high numbers of low-scoring pupils.
The commission is an independent, cross-party initiative examining the causes and effects of inequality in education at primary and secondary levels in England and Wales.
It comprises Lib Dem MP Nick Clegg as its chair), Conservative MP Suella Fernandes and Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, along with Sam Freedman of Teach First and Dr Rebecca Allen of Education Datalab.
Full details of the commission’s research, which was initially published in January, can be found at www.smf.co.uk/publications/educational-inequalities-in-england-and-wales.