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Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, will visit Hull today (Friday) for the opening regional summit of the ‘Growing Up North’ project.

The year-long project was launched in December 2016. It will look at how growing up in a particular area impacts on the chances a child has going into adulthood and make recommendations to improve children’s lives and bridge the North-South divide.

‘Growing Up North’ is led by the Children’s Commissioner for England and supported by a panel of high-profile experts. Those attending today’s summit at the Guildhall in Hull include Lord Haskins, a panel member and chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership, Leanne Kirkham, a panel member and Director of Learning at the Northern Ballet, local MPs Alan Johnson and Diana Johnson, and the Chief Executive and other senior officials from Hull City Council.

‘Growing up North’ is talking to children, parents, civic leaders and business about opportunities and ambitions for children in the North. Today’s summit will examine how local regeneration plans will help children progress.

Following the summit, Anne Longfield will visit Hull Children’s University.

Commenting ahead of today’s visit to Hull, Anne Longfield said:

“There are 3.6m children growing up in the North and every one of them should have the brightest future possible and the opportunities to look forward to happy, healthy and prosperous lives.

“Today’s summit is the start of a process that will put children at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse regeneration debate. This is a once in a generation moment for the North and our ambition should be to give Northern children the same opportunities as those available in the South.

“Like many other parts of the North, there is a mixed picture for children growing up in East Yorkshire. Children starting school tend to be behind children in the South, and many schools have failed to keep track with the big improvement in London schools. And while a young person leaving school or college has a similar chance of going to University as someone growing up in the South, it is much less likely to be a top university.

“If we can start to understand why children do better in some parts of the country than others and what it is about the place they grow up in that supports them to succeed, we can begin to bridge the North-South divide that has been there for too long.”

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