The gap between coastal and urban communities is having an impact on the aspirations of the young, a headteacher has said following a new report.
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Coastal Communities Alliance found one in five jobs earned below the living wage with household income almost £3,000 lower than non-coastal areas.
Matthew Parr-Burman, head of the Isle of Wight’s Medina College, said it was “really hard” for young people.
The government said coastal communities played a “key role in levelling up”.
The report, which was commissioned by coastal groups and councils, also highlighted poorer health, housing, transport and broadband links as issues.
It cited particular concerns with lower GCSE results in English and maths for children in coastal communities.
Mr Parr-Burman, who is also the executive headteacher of the Isle of Wight Education Federation, said all seven secondary schools on the island were facing challenges.
“Recruitment of staff is tough but what’s really hard is for young people to have an aspiration for the future when they can’t see it,” he said.
There was an “element of inevitability” that young people would head to the mainland but he said “many do come back”.
“There’s a lot of qualities to living here, there is a quality of life,” he added.
However, he said “expensive ferry transport” needed to be addressed, and cited ferry services from the mainland in Scotland to the Scottish Isles as being “very well subsidised”.
The Coastal Communities Alliance report said the government needed to harness the “extraordinary potential of the coast” as a national asset, and invest heavily in renewable energy, and support high tech jobs and remote working.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said coastal communities “play a key role in levelling up and we continue to support them to improve their economies”.
“Since 2012 we have invested over £229m through the Coastal Communities Fund to run 359 projects throughout the UK’s rural and coastal communities helping to create jobs and boost businesses.”
It added Levelling Up funding of £2.1bn announced earlier this month would help “to create better-paid jobs and spread opportunity right across the country”.