People in the north of England voted for Brexit in protest at the poor schools London politicians have given them, the outgoing head of school inspection body Ofsted has said.
Sir Michael Wilshaw said the strong Brexit vote in the north was fuelled by “resentment” over a feeling people in London and the south were getting a better start in life for their children, leading to northerners feeling “alienated”.
As voters in America and Europe turn against a liberal elite increasingly seen as out-of-touch with the working class, Sir Michael said people in the north of England felt left behind by those in wealthier London.
“They sense that somehow their children are not going to get as great a deal as youngsters in London and the South of England,” he said.
“If they sense that their children and young people are going to be denied the opportunities that exist elsewhere, that feeds into a general sense that they’re being neglected.
“It wasn’t just about leaving the European Union and immigration, it was that sense of a disconnection with Westminster.
“If they feel that their needs are being ignored, that their children are not getting the sort of education that others in the South are, then they will feel resentful.”
In his final report before leaving his post, Sir Michael said that the proportion of high achieving students who go on to do well in school leaving exams is lower in the north than in the south.
In Liverpool, for example, half of secondary schools are rated below good, compared to just one in 10 in inner London.
In September, European Council President Donald Tusk admitted elites in Europe were “detached from reality”, and the “chaos” of the ongoing migrant crisis contributed to growing resentment.
“We must help people to restore faith in the fact that the EU should serve them, guarantee their protection and share their emotions,” he said.
“All too often today, the European elites seem to be detached from reality.”