Is there a North–South divide between schools in England?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article is an opinion piece which examines the extent to which rhetoric about a North–South divide in performance between schools in England is justified. Starting with the catalyst, Sir Michael Wilshaw’s final annual Ofsted reports in 2015 and 2016, it traces how the divide rhetoric has been assimilated into popular discourse by the media and subsequent policy reports, notably in connection with the Northern Powerhouse agenda. The article uses regional school performance data to examine whether claims about the divide are convincing, focusing on the North East, which has been recognized as an outlier in both primary and secondary performance. It concludes that the case for a North–South divide is not proven, and with an appeal for more contextually sensitive and flexible approaches to assessing local, regional and national school performance to counter the negative effects of this divisive rhetoric.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-40
Number of pages4
JournalManagement in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded in part by a BELMAS research and development grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 British Educational Leadership, Management & Administration Society (BELMAS).


  • accountability
  • North East
  • North–South divide
  • regions
  • school performance


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