Debate on Educational Attainment in Yorkshire

Loans similar to those given to students at university should be available to help less academic children carve out a career, an MP has said. Opportunities can be harder to come by for people living outside London and the money could provide needed funds to pursue a non-university route, Shipley MP Philip Davies said. He added: “I do not see why student loans should be only for the benefit of the most able and perhaps the wealthiest and most advantaged. How about giving loans to some of the most disadvantaged people in the country to allow them to pursue their career? How about giving people in Yorkshire the opportunities that people in other parts of the country get?” Mr Davies urged government to consider his idea to help students from the north come to London and access work experience placements or further develop a non-academic career path. “Social mobility is what the Conservative party should be all about, and we have to look much more imaginatively at the issue of education and attainment. I want government to help kids from poorer backgrounds who are perhaps not the most academic to access the best opportunities. I would like to think that student loans could be extended to them for their benefit.” The comments came in a Commons debate on educational attainment across the region. In 2013-14 the region was ranked lowest in England and latest figures show 70 per cent of pupils in London achieve five good GCSEs compared to 63 per cent in Yorkshire and Humber. Mr Davies added: “It is important to say there are some fantastic schools in Yorkshire, and indeed in my constituency. We should not get too bogged down in doom and gloom, because there are some very good schools with excellent standards for pupils’ right across the region. However, it is perfectly clear that standards are not good enough as a whole.” The MP said attracting the best head teachers to lead the most difficult schools was a priority. “Beckfoot School in Bingley, has an outstanding head teacher, who has transformed it into one of the best schools in not just the Bradford district but the country, and it is now rated as outstanding,” Mr Davies added.