Why coastal towns must be a priority for funding

Disadvantaged coastal towns miss out on much-needed education funding as they are in ‘wealthy’ areas, says Dr Jo Saxton

I welcome the spotlight that the education secretary is shining on deprivation in coastal areas, and he is right to highlight the educational challenges that exist in the towns along the 5,881 miles of England’s coast. I have three suggestions about what he, and central government, could do to help those of us working in this context to effect a sea-change.

First, designate more coastal towns as “opportunity areas”. A lucky few have been cherry-picked, but the net needs to be cast wider. Kent, where I live and work, didn’t make the official opportunity area cut.

Looking at Kent as a whole, it is not hard to see why it hasn’t had the same focus for initiatives and interventions as Blackpool or Hastings. At a county level, there is no glaring sign of educational underperformance, and Kent as a whole has a reputation for being more affluent than much of the rest of England (indeed, the west of the county is).

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