Children should be at ‘heart’ of Northern Powerhouse agenda, says Children’s Tsar

The Northern Powerhouse initiative is a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ for the region’s children, the Children’s Commissioner has claimed. 

Speaking exclusively to Educate, Anne Longfield OBE said the initiative – which aims to boost economic growth in the region – together with the fact Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City region will soon have metro mayors provides a perfect chance to prioritise the needs of the region’s young people.

She said: “The Northern Powerhouse is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Many northern areas will soon have regional governments headed by directly elected mayors. These mayors will have much greater powers than existing local government to shape and define their areas.

‘Children at the heart of this agenda’

“It’s a perfect opportunity to develop new strategies for regeneration and I want to put children at the heart of this agenda so that we have regeneration which delivers and meets the needs and expectations of children. My Growing Up North report will make recommendations about how that should happen.”

Last year Ms Longfield spoke of the need for parents in the north to take note from their southern counterparts and their ‘demand for good school results’.

‘Demand answers’

She told Educate: “I think children who grow up in the North deserve the same opportunities as children who grow up in London and the South East. It’s not about being ‘pushy’ – it’s about Northern parents demanding more from the schools their children go to. Last year’s Ofsted annual report said that although Northern secondary schools had improved, they lag behind those in the South. Other reports suggest the same. Northern parents ought to demand answers from the schools that their kids go to.”

The full interview with Anne Longfield OBE will be published on in May.

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