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North-south divide apparent by age five

Poor children in the north of England are faring worse by the age of five than their counterparts in London, according to research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). They found that only 47% of children from deprived families in the north of England reach a good level of development by the age of five, 12% behind disadvantaged children living in London.


The report, which looked at what is required to create a successful northern economy, found that the potential of people in the north is being held back at all stages of their lives, starting before they reach school.

While 55% of young people in the North achieve five GCSEs at A*-C, this fell to 33% for pupils on free school meals.

The report concludes that the north must catch up with the national rate of early years attainment for under-fives, focusing on the most deprived.

“While poverty is an important factor, this gap serves to highlight the potential for policy to make a difference. The north is lagging behind, and it must improve faster – closing the gap with the country as a whole – if it is to embed prosperity for future generations."

"It will take a generation of investment: not only in new railways and motorways, but in the ‘human capital’ of the north – in education and training, starting with the youngest."