Professor aims to break link between disadvantage and low attainment for Manchester’s pupils

Professor aims to break link between disadvantage and low attainment for Manchester’s pupils

Professor Mel Ainscow has been appointed independent chair of a new board looking at educational attainment in Greater Manchester

A former headteacher, researcher and consultant for children’s charities now has the job of making sure that Manchester’s children have the best start in life.

A new board, which will focus on breaking the link between deprivation and attainment across Greater Manchester, has appointed Mel Ainscow, emeritus professor of education at the University of Manchester, as its independent chair.

The board will look at improving overall educational performance, as well as sharing best teaching practice across the city’s 10 local authorities. Its members include school leaders, senior local authority officers and representatives of universities and businesses.

“We know that there is enormous expertise across Greater Manchester,” Professor Ainscow said. “The task is to make the best use of it to support the progress of every child and young person.”

Improving outcomes

Recent research has shown that Manchester suffers from significant inequalities, which are reflected in the attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more privileged peers. This gap tends to widen as pupils move through secondary school.

Professor Ainscow previously held the post of chief adviser for the Greater Manchester Challenge, a £50 million initiative to improve educational outcomes for pupils across the region. He has also been a headteacher, a local authority inspector and a lecturer at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Ainscow has served as director of a teacher education project run by United Nations agency Unesco, and has worked as a consultant for Unesco, as well as for international children’s charities Save the Children and Unicef. He was awarded a CBE for services to education in 2012.

The new board will report to Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and to the city’s 10 local authorities. It will also work in partnership with the regional schools commissioner, ensuring that members can work alongside other relevant regional and national projects.