A REPORT backed by former Chancellor George Osborne has found further evidence of a “significant” educational divide between the North and South.

Disadvantaged teenagers in the North scored on average a grade lower in their GCSEs compared to better-off peers, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership study said.

It said an extra £300m in Government cash should be made available for disadvantaged areas, while the pupil premium should be reformed to better target funding on the basis of disadvantage.

The Partnership, consisting of businesses, civic leaders and other organisations, called for a dedicated ten year fund to extend the Government’s £72m Opportunity Areas initiative, which aims to drive up attainment and boost opportunities for young people.

Five of the 12 areas chosen are in the North – Blackpool, Bradford, Doncaster, Oldham and Scarborough, although the North-East has so far been excluded.

There should also be a commitment from Northern businesses to mentor and provide career support for 900,000 schoolchildren.

Mr Osborne said the report was a “call to arms” and he urged the Government to play its part in implementing the recommendations.

If correctly executed the report claimed the educational attainment of children in the North could be transformed and eventually 850,000 more jobs could be secured by 2050.

Last week the Department for Education (DfE) was accused of neglecting the North-East in particular after Key Stage Four results, which took into account new tougher GCSEs in maths and English, showed a fifth of secondary schools here were falling below benchmark standards.

Peter King, Darlington branch secretary with the National Association of Head Teachers, said the report had sought to “move away from blame and find solutions instead”.

He said: “Headteachers will welcome many of the suggestions put forward by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership as its report adds to the growing recognition that the North-East remains strongly under-funded.

“We are certainly the poor relations to London and to certain other Opportunity Areas

“We have this curious split in our region where children are getting a great educational start in life and achieving the best results at age 11 of any area in England outside London, but then fall away to achieve some of the lowest GCSE results.”

Mike Parker, director of Schools NorthEast, which represents 1,250 schools, said the Government had to act urgently to bring Opportunity Areas to the North-East.

Lord Jim O’Neill, vice chair of the Partnership, said: “Sorting out schools in the Northern Powerhouse should be at the top of the new Education Secretary’s [Damian Hinds] in-tray.”

A spokeswoman for the DfE said: “Standards are rising thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, with 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools since 2010 and nine out of ten schools awarded this rating at their latest inspection.

“We want all pupils to benefit from a world-class education that inspires them to make the most of their lives, no matter where they live or their background.

"That’s why we launched our Social Mobility Action Plan, which sets out a range of actions including targeting the areas that need the most support through the £72million Opportunity Areas programme and our recent investment in literacy to help every child arrive at school with the vocabulary levels they need to learn.

"This builds on the £2.5bn we provide to schools to help raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils through the pupil premium.”