Yesterday thousands of 16 year olds received their GCSEs and other Level 2 qualifications across Northumberland, the North East and the rest of England. Nothing should take away from their achievements, which are the result of their hard work and the dedication of their teachers. At Hexham CLP we congratulate all of those students and wish them well for a successful future, hopefully in a greener, fairer Britain where a future Labour government will shatter the class ceiling.

As the celebrations died down, it became painfully obvious that top grades were down this year heralding a return to a ‘pre-pandemic’ normality that seen the number of Grade 4s (an old C grade) and above awarded plummet from a high in 2021 of 76.9% to 67.8% this year. Contained within these statistics was an even  more starling pattern: there is now a record gap between GCSEs awarded in the NE and the rest of the country.

More than 28% of students in London were awarded Grades 7-9 (equivalent to the old A and A*). This compares with a little under 18% of students of in the North East. This gap of 10% is wider than the pre-pandemic gap and shows the failure of government ‘catch up’ policies in the NE Schools.

Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary, quoted in the Guardian, said that the gaps: “confirmed that Conservative promises to level up education are dead and buried.

Young people who have worked so hard are being let down by a government that has no interest in shrinking attainment gaps or raising education standards, and a prime minister who seems to have more interest in supporting American private colleges than schools in this country

The Conservative Government’s failure to invest in education and our schools and their inability to deliver on their promised ‘levelling up’ agenda is damaging our children’s prospects and futures. This Conservative failure is just one of many. In Northumberland one in four children lives in poverty and the cost of living crisis is making families’ lives harder. How can children learn when they go to school hungry? Of course, your Conservative MP Guy Opperman voted in 2020 against Labour’s motion to keep free school meals in the school holidays, so don’t expect any help from him or his party.

Only Labour will invest in our families and our children’s futures. Keir Starmer, speaking recently, said “my core purpose and my personal cause: to fight, at every stage, for every child, the pernicious idea that background equals destiny, that your circumstances, who you are, where you come from, who you know, might shape your life more than your talent, effort and enterprise“.

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Right across Hexham Constituency Labour Party members are working to Build a Better Britain and get Guy Opperman out after 13 disastrous years of Conservative government.

If you’d like to get involved please consider joining the party or making a donation.