The brain drain Yorkshire town where kids are forced out at 16 if they want a future

Barnsley East is one of only eight constituencies in England which does not have any provisions for A-Levels.

It is the only constituency in Yorkshire to have this issue with young people having to either leave their local area or look for opportunities elsewhere to continue their education.

One woman from Wombwell in East Barnsley said the area had plenty of provision for primary schools but a lack of higher educational facilities. She said: “They’re all primary schools around here, there is the new Netherwood secondary school but it doesn’t do A-Levels.”

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She went on to say a number of people go to either Barnsley College, which is a train journey away from the town, or to Wath Academy in Rotherham. Barnsley Council pointed towards Penistone Grammar as another place where students in the area can get their A-Levels but it is on the other side of the city.

Wath Academy, in neighboring Rotherham, is not under the jurisdiction of Barnsley Council.

Another man said he did not have much experience with the education system in the area as he had gone all the way to Leeds to do training for his job.

Peter Proost, a local business owner who runs a computer and electronics repair shop, was also critical of the type of education many students receive in the area. He said there were a lot of people who come to his shop for work experience from local colleges who lack hands-on experience and business skills.

He said: “Hands-on experience is vital in this line of work and a lot of people come in to do work experience who haven’t had any.”

Do you think there needs to be more practical experience taught in schools and colleges? Let us know in the comments.

Mr Proost went on to say he often had to act as a “life coach” as well as an instructor to people who come in to work with him as many of the younger people he works with are often shy and need advice on how to talk to customers or do job interviews. He also added: “Education suffers more in the north, I do believe there is a north/south divide and it is a massive north/south divide.”

He added: “Down south is a different environment and it’s like they live in a different world.”

Stephanie Peacock (Labour), Barnsley East’s MP, also made comments where she said it did not matter where you lived, education was vital. She said: “It is unacceptable that there are no sixth form centers or colleges, and therefore no chance to complete A levels or further education, in Barnsley East.

“It shouldn’t matter if you live in Bristol or Barnsley, every young person deserves the chance to have a fulfilling education, and leave with the essential qualifications and skills they need to be ready for work, life and the future.

“As a former teacher, I have seen first-hand how important it is that young people are given proper opportunities and life chances. This is far easier to access when it is available in your local area.”


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