FT: London's state secondaries now best in the country

The FT has published an analysis of six-years of data from English secondary schools, which shows London's secondary schools are now the best in the country and the gap in attainment between rich and poor is lower in the city than anywhere else. The paper says:

There is nothing bog-standard about London’s comprehensive schools these days. After years of policy interventions, the capital’s long-maligned school system has now pulled ahead of those in the rest of the country...

The capital leads the country in standardised tests at the age of 11. And more of its state-educated pupils meet the national benchmark – good GCSE passes in English, mathematics and three other subjects – than any other region.

Comparing children like-for-like, the gap grows. The share of FSM-eligible children from London getting straight As or better in English, maths and three other subjects is double that of the other regions – and triple that of Yorkshire and the Humber.

Anyone who brings up kids in London is well-used to being lectured by irritating and seemingly oblivious out-of-towners about how they "couldn't bring up kids in London" with the state of the capital's secondary schools the number one explanation offered. So this is a nice rebuttal to that myth. It's also interesting to consider the explanations given by The FT for the improvement, namely that London has married investment with educational reform, including the Teach First programme (which places top graduates in to schools), Academies and most importantly, "the London Challenge" - a programme of targeted interventions in struggling schools that ran between 2003 and 2010. Most of the improvement has been achievement by raising London's tail of poorly performing schools, by improving existing facilities rather than creating new ones:

Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector of schools, told the Financial Times last month: “I’ve been a London teacher all my life. It wasn’t a good place to be in the ’70s and ’80s and ’90s; now it’s one of the top performing parts of the country through London Challenge.”

The paper notes that only one area of the capital falls in to the poorest-performing category - "a tiny speck of Lewisham."

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

It all sounded so promising until the last line, hopefully the Prentergast federation will result in improvement here as well!

Anonymous said...

I live near Crofton Park school, and it has improved a lot. But from a very low starting point. The way state secondary school standards were allowed to drop has been a catastrophe for society - hence the riots last year.

Good luck to all of you at state schools. You'll need it.

State School Kid said...

Don't patronise me. Your attitude is part of the problem.

eight 'O' levels said...

"The way state secondary school standards were allowed to drop has been a catastrophe for society - hence the riots last year"

Say's an especially ignorant anon. Riots have happened for a variety of reasons over the last few hundread years. You's is an assertion based on precisley nothing.

(you may want to look up 'assertion')

Dolphin Rider said...

@eight 'o' levels:

Agree with your point but did you make those typo's on porpoise?

Anonymous said...

Interesting - though on the online version on the FT website I can't see the reference to a "tiny bit of Lewisham"...

Or did I miss something?

Brockley Nick said...

That line isn't in that article, it's in a box out in the paper, which carries four articles on the subject. Their firewall prevented me from finding and linking to all of them. It's a passing reference and I don't know the specific part of Lewisham they are referring to, though I guess it would be easy enough to work it out from other sources of data.

kolp said...

It feels like most of the schools in Lewisham are all striving like Olympic athlete to raise standards. Good for the children.

Academic standards and attitude/behaviour standards. Hopefully a generation of kids with well formed characters fulfilling their educational potential will emerge.

local yokel said...

Would be interested to read opinion on the blog from anybody educated in a lewisham state secondary school.

barryls said...

Troll it like it is 'eight 'O Levels!!! English Grammar not one of them obviously.

Lou Baker said...

For some reason I can't access the full article - but the bit you quote Nick doesn't say quite what your headline does.

The article basically sayskids from poor families do better in London - and that there's a smaller gap between them and kids from richer families.

That's not the same as saying kids do better.

Indeed, it basically means so many of the resources are being chucked at kids on free school meals that there's nothing extra in the pot to help everyone else. A great result if you require major state support for your kids, not so great if your taxes pay to support other people's kids rather than your own.

Anonymous said...

Kids from London state secondaries tend to struggle to string a sentence together. That can't be a good thing however you slice the statistics.

Anonymous said...

"Kids from London state secondaries tend to struggle to string a sentence together"
yes, of course, that's why they invite them onto Newsnight...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01lvd19/Newsnight_06_08_2012/

(see last 10 minutes)

Jacob Sakil, former Young Mayor of Lewisham, attended Sedgehill School in Lewisham

Ben H said...

Lou, for some of those kids it is the only decent meal they get. The state can afford to feed children directly as a form of social security.

Close the tax loopholes for the rich and maybe all children can be fed a decent meal at school.

Fabhat said...

Think there are plenty of London state educated people on here - myself included - all pretty capable of sentence stringing...

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