local government
primary & secondary education

Raising Standards of Education Across the North of England

local government

primary & secondary education

08:45 - 15:40

Tuesday 30 April 2019

Central Manchester

This Forum will provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to hear the latest policy recommendations and initiatives from the Department for Education and other senior policymakers and discuss the key challenges surrounding reducing the education attainment gap of schools and academies in the North of England. Participants will also gain insights from leading practitioners and best practice case studies demonstrating proven methods of delivering high-quality education across the Northern Powerhouse.


This Forum is specifically designed for Maintained Schools, Academies, and Local Authorities. Typical job titles include:

  • Headteachers
  • Assistant and Deputy Heads
  • Principals and Vice Principals
  • Executive Principals
  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Directors of Academy Trusts
  • Directors of Education
  • Heads of Inclusion
  • Heads of School Improvement
  • School Improvement Managers
  • Heads of School
  • Governors
  • Heads of Learning Services

This Forum is also open to the Private and Voluntary Sectors to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Paul Cohen, Deputy Director, School Improvement and System Leadership, Early Years and Schools Group, Department for Education
  • Nick Hurn OBE, Elected Member, North of England Headteacher Board
  • Sean Finch, School Partnerships Manager, North, Ambition School Leadership
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments, and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Anna Round, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR)  (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Examining the Government's Strategy for Raising School Standards

  • Examining the current landscape of education in the north, highlighting where the most progress has been made and areas that require targeted support
  • Considering how the Northern Powerhouse funding has been spent so far and plans for the future
  • Outlining how funding from £70m Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy Fund will be used to raise standards of education
  • Sharing the outcomes achieved within the Northern Opportunity Areas in relation to the Department for Education’s strategy for the Northern Powerhouse

Paul Cohen, Deputy Director, School Improvement and System Leadership, Early Years and Schools Group, Department for Education (DfE) (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Driving Education Standards Through Evidence-Based Practice

  • Outlining the role of research schools in improving standards of education through effective evidence-based practice
  • Identifying clear evidence bases on interventions and strategies for school improvement, ensuring that evaluation is integrated into a school’s action plan
  • Sharing best practice and expertise with local schools and strategic partners to improve teaching practice across the Opportunity Area
  • Supporting schools to develop innovative teaching methods that enhance pupil engagement and further pupils’ understanding
  • Sharing insights from the latest research and outlining how funding from Oldham Opportunity Area board for two evidence-based programmes for the Autumn Term 2018 will be used

Dr Jo Pearson, Research Lead, Oldham Research School (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Achieving Excellence Through Innovation in Primary Education

  • Demonstrating how we overcame the long-established ethos and acceptance of under-achievement
  • Taking risks to change the way the school engages with all stakeholders
  • Focusing on achieving and maintaining above average results in phonics and all core subjects
  • Implementing a completely new method of pedagogy which has been developed into a stand-alone product

Pauline Wood, Headteacher, Grange Park Primary School (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Developing and Sustaining Outstanding Practice in a Primary School – A Leadership Perspective

  • Outlining how to develop a positive school culture
  • Emphasizing the need to relentlessly focus on teaching and learning
  • Exploring the Importance of getting behaviour right
  • Recruitment, retention and development of teacher talent
  • Highlighting how the school deals with workload and staff well being

David Deane received an OBE for “services to primary education” by the Department for Education in 2018

David Deane OBE, Head Teacher, St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Working in Partnership to Improve Educational Standards Across the North

  • Outlining the progress levels and attainment across the North East of England in recent years and the challenges that schools currently face
  • Discussing Opportunity North East and how the £24 million funding initiative will help to raise attainment and improve young people’s life chances, particularly with regard to Secondary sector
  • Pointing to examples of best practice in improving educational outcomes, particularly with regard to disadvantaged white working class students

Nick Hurn OBE, Elected Member, North of England Headteacher Board (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Addressing Educational Disadvantage through Effective School Leadership

  • Demonstrating how effective leadership contributes to raising attainment by discussing the results of its Teaching Leaders training programme
  • Focusing on developing strong leadership in schools through the charity’s programmes for middle, senior and executive school leaders to improve staff retention and attract stronger teaching talent
  • Emphasising the benefits of collaboration and knowledge-sharing between schools in improving standards, and how Ambition School Leadership facilitates this

Sean Finch, School Partnerships Manager, North, Ambition School Leadership (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Successfully Driving Disadvantaged Students to Succeed in Northern Schools

  • Outlining achievements and challenges of Northern Education such as 66% of disadvantaged children not achieving five good GCSEs at school and generating tailored home-grown solutions to such challenges
  • Highlighting the significance of improving northern education for disadvantaged students in order to ensure greater parity with schools outside of the north and work towards the wider Northern Powerhouse Strategy
  • Analysing the potential behind innovative solutions to educational challenges in the North including ‘Ready for School’, ‘Bridging the Gap’, ‘Flying High’ and ‘Let Teachers SHINE’ which can be replicated in schools across the North of England
  • Exploring the success behind Shine partnering with the Primary Science Teaching Trust and the Ogden Trust to launch SHINELabs; a dedicated science support package which thus far has resulted in 3,000 students having access to dedicated science space

Fiona Spellman, Chief Executive, Shine Trust (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Supporting Schools to Raise Educational Standards: A Local Authority Perceptive

  • Outlining how the council supports schools to improve teaching standards by providing free online resources through the Lancashire Grid for Learning
  • Highlighting the process of raising attainment levels through promoting a collaborative community identity, and supporting schools to shape curriculum and governance policies
  • Sharing guidance on how councils can best identify key areas in which their schools need to develop, such as by establishing regular progress meetings, ensuring standards are constantly improved upon
  • Ensuring high standards across Lancashire through offering routes to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in the North West and Lancashire GTP Consortium, which focuses on producing high-quality teachers

Amanda Hatton, Director of Children’s Services, Lancashire County Council (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

According to the Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s February 2018 report, Educating the North: driving ambition across the Powerhouse, one in four Northern secondary schools are judged by Ofsted as inadequate or requiring improvement. While the North’s primary schools perform only slightly worse than those in London, at secondary school level the gap widens considerably, with Northern children 13 points, or one whole grade, behind at GCSE.

Through the government’s Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy, various programmes have been established to boost school performance. In October 2018, Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced a £24 million funding programme, Opportunity North East, to ease the transition from primary to secondary school and improve opportunities for children across the region. This is in addition to the £70m Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy Fund, first announced in 2016, which has led to the creation of maths hubs and boosting maths teaching in the North West, home learning trials for early years children in the North, and the Northern elements of a national English hubs programme.

Ensuring strong school leadership as well as the recruitment and retention of adequately qualified teaching staff are vital to improving standards of education across the North. The Government’s Opportunity Areas programme aims to address inequality in investment, but more work is needed to attract and retain the very best school leaders and teachers to serve the communities hardest hit. Employers also need to play a greater role in improving attainment and opportunities, by providing meaningful support through mentoring and apprenticeship programmes.

The NPP has called for the government to increase the number of good or outstanding schools in the North by 2022. It is clear that as well as targeted funding and support from the government, schools, local authorities and businesses must work together to tackle regional inequalities and create genuine parity in education and opportunities for children and young people across the North.

You May Also Like