A PROJECT aimed to reduced the educational divide between the North and South has been launched at a Darlington school by a former chancellor.

George Osborne visited Hurworth School today to speak to engineering students and officially launch Educating the North.

The launch comes after a report by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership found that disadvantaged teenagers in the North scored on average a grade lower in their GCSEs compared to better-off peers.

It also 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.

In the foreword of the report, Mr Osborne said too many children in the North "aren’t getting the education they need or deserve".

"In all the work we have done consulting with businesses in the North, poor skills and inadequate training come across consistently as the major issues.

"As our report documents, the facts show educational attainment in the North of England lags behind the South.

"Compared with London pupils, pupils in the North make a third of a grade less progress overall at sixteen and almost half a grade less in mathematics on average – one in four of them at secondary schools judged by Ofsted as inadequate or requiring improvement."

Mr Osborne was joined by Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen and Darlington Borough Council chief executive Ada Burns as he spoke to students in Hurworth about their subject choices and career ambitions.

"I have been around many factories in my life and to see the things that are made in the factories, the processes that go in, the engineering and the skills are all taught here," he said.

"It is great for a school like this, which has a fantastic reputation."

Mr Houchen said: "It is great to see GCSE level engineering, it is quite unusual in the Tees Valley.

"A lot of engineering, manufacturing and advanced manufacturing jobs are going to be created in the next five or ten years, and these children are coming through he system knowing all of these skills will lead to a high quality job in the Tees Valley.

"The Tees Valley has contributed to the designing the next Nasa space cone and the next fuel injection system for Land Rover Evoque, so this stuff isn't happening elsewhere, it is happening here."

Dean Judson, head of Hurworth school, said: "We want the success of Hurworth to be represented across the North-East.

"We have been crying out for funding in the North-East, and hopefully this bangs the drum further.

"When you talk the kids, they say we are not all about Geordie Shore, we want positive role models, particularly the women - they see a successful role model and that really helps them."

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 after Key Stage Four results showed a fifth of secondary schools here were falling below benchmark standards.