Northern mothers have taken to social media to express their disappointment with the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield. Ms Longfield has advised parents in northern areas to be more ‘pushy’ when it comes to educating their children.
The Commissioner’s Growing up North project on children’s prospects will be launched tomorrow. Ahead of this, Ms Longfield told The Times that although the “tiger” parents of London and the south-east had been mocked for their emphasis on extra homework and music lessons, there was something to be learned from the way they demanded more from teachers and schools for their children.
The study has found that by the time children become adults, a gap in attainment and outcomes emerges between children in London and the south-east and their counterparts in English counties north of an imaginary line drawn between the mouth of the river Mersey and the Wash.
Parents have spoken out to say that Ms Longfield has not considered the social and economic conditions that inhibit children from areas in the Northern counties of the country.
Argh. This is not about pushy southern mothers but lack of opportunity, class barriers etc. https://t.co/FDVmNCiOb2
— Jane Merrick (@janemerrick23) December 5, 2016
Other mothers have vented their frustration that there is no middle ground between being considered too pushy or not pushy enough.
Always mothers' fault. Too pushy, not pushy enough, out at work, not working, selfishly having too many children, selfishly having none ? https://t.co/Hht0vgPAeu
— Jacqui Smith (@Jacqui_Smith1) December 5, 2016
Further criticism has arisen from mothers who noticed that the Commissioner failed to comment on fathers and appeared to solely blame mothers.
So many things wrong with this woman's recommendations. Urgh. Also: so dads don't count? https://t.co/xdfkt3xlrT
— Victoria Daly (@vicky_daly) December 5, 2016
At the launch of the project, the Commissioner is expected to call for the regeneration under way in the north of England to focus on reshaping the prospects of all children in the region to put them on a par with those in the south. A north-south divide, particularly in secondary schools, was highlighted by Ofsted in its annual report on Thursday last week. In the report, England’s chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said poorly performing schools in the north and the East Midlands continued to fuel the sense of a divided nation.