Jeremy Middleton, prospective North East Mayoral Candidate and self-made businessman.

North East Mayoral candidate Jeremy Middleton has backed Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw’s warning that Government ambitions to build a northern economic powerhouse will “splutter and die” unless under-performing secondary schools in the North improve.

In his speech on Tuesday Sir Michael said: “I am calling on local politicians, be they mayors, council leaders or cabinet members, to stand up and be counted, to shoulder responsibility for their local schools, to challenge and support them regardless of whether they are academies or not.”

The decline in secondary school standards in the North is in large contrast to the success of schools in London, whose results, particularly among poorer children, are now among the best in the country. London's schools have benefited from an enormous political push and huge investment via the London Challenge.

Mr Middleton, a school governor of Studio West School in Newcastle, said “Much of what Sir Michael said applies to us here in the North East. Local political leaders have time and again failed to deliver on the education our kids need. Our region will only succeed if we get a grip on skills and schools. Right now things are simply not good enough and in some places our kids are simply being failed by the system.

"More needs to be done to help boost skills for the region’s youngsters. I am calling on the local councils to make education in general, and those secondary schools that are underachieving in particular, a central target of their strategy for growth.

"Too many of young people are not in work, education or training. Until we face up to this we will stay the poor region of Britain. We need to use the new powers from our devolution deal with the Government to create a new intensive programme of work experience and careers advice in our schools, and start a drive to push up standards.



CONTACT: Chris Rowell on 01325 363436

Notes to Editors:

Schools in Sunderland currently perform worst across the region, with just 49.3% getting at least 5 GCSE A* to C grades. Sunderland City Council were the only North East Council to be ranked outside the top 100, at 134th place.

53.9% of pupils at Newcastle schools achieved the grades, down from 57.4%.

North Tyneside schools were the best performing with 61.4% of pupils getting at least 5 GCSE A* to C grades, up on last year. Gateshead scored 57.4%, South Tyneside got 56.4% and Northumberland saw improvement, with 55.7% making the grade, up from 52.6% in 2014.

Across England, the proportion of pupils achieving at least five GCSEs at A* to C including English and Maths increased to 56.1% of pupils in state-funded schools in 2015.

Jeremy Middleton

Mr Middleton is a self-made businessman and philanthropist based in the North East. He has been a Board Member of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) since 2011 and is Chairman of the North East LEP Investment Fund, which makes recommendations to the LEP Board for the £25m Growing Places Fund and the £30m Infrastructure Fund.

Mr Middleton has carried out a range of sponsored fundraising for a variety of charities which to date include the North Pole, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, The Haute Route, Mount McKinley, Mount Elbrus and a cycle ride from London to Paris.

In 2012 Jeremy was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for Services to Politics and Charities.


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Jeremy Middleton, prospective North East Mayoral Candidate and self-made businessman.
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