IT is curious that former Chancellor George Osborne chose to visit leafy Hurworth today to launch a report on disadvantaged teenagers in the north losing out on their education, when he could have gone to any multitude of truly struggling schools in the region.

Hurworth School has consistently been among the highest performers in the Darlington area, and while its buildings might be crumbling, its standards are not.

Head Dean Judson has been particularly outspoken on the cash crisis facing the region’s schools, co-ordinating a letter from all primary and secondary heads in Darlington last year warning of unprecedented cutbacks, which could explain Mr Osborne’s choice of venue.

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The Northern Powerhouse Partnership he backs is making a similar point, calling for the Government to take action after revealing disadvantaged pupils in the north score on average a grade lower in their GCSEs compared to better-off peers. A report by the partnership says £300m should be made available to schools in disadvantaged areas, and urges an extension of the Opportunity Areas initiative plus more mentoring from businesses.

The suggestions have been broadly welcomed by education figures in the region who have long pressed the case for the North-East being the poor relation compared to other parts of the country, such as London and the South East.

Funding problems have undoubtedly become more acute of late, but a self-styled “call to arms” on the matter from someone who held the nation’s purse strings until just over 18 months ago sounds very, very hollow.