Mayor unveils multi-million pound investment to improve teaching

08 October 2013

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today announced details of the first successful applicants to receive funding from the London Schools Excellence Fund.

Awards worth almost seven million pounds out of a total £24 million are being made available to 30 high performing schools and education organisations under the new scheme, in order to develop bespoke programmes to help drive up teaching standards and academic results in other schools around the capital.

This first round of LSEF grants could potentially reach up to 1,000 London schools, involve around 8,000 teachers and boost the teaching of around 250,000 pupils in computer science, literacy, maths, science and technology, and modern foreign languages.

The London Schools Excellence Fund (LSEF), which is part-funded by the Department for Education, has been established by the Mayor as part of a wider mission to ensure young Londoners have access to the highest quality education. The focus is on raising the quality of teaching in more primary and secondary schools in order to improve pupils' attainment in core subjects - literacy, numeracy, STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and languages – which are demanded by top universities and employers in a highly competitive global market.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'Parents in London want to know that the school their child attends will give them the best start in life and access to top universities and careers. Whilst many London schools are doing an excellent job teaching their pupils and have shown real improvements in recent years, there are still too many children leaving school unable to read and write properly, and without the grades and aptitude they need to succeed in our fiercely competitive city. We want even more schools to stretch their children and be ambitious for their future.

'That's why we're making £24 million available for high performing schools and institutions to share their knowledge and expertise with other schools, to raise expectations, bring academic rigour and improve attainment for more pupils. We have to turbo-charge the system so that all London schoolchildren have the best possible education regardless of background or where they live.'

The London Schools Excellence Fund aims to improve teaching in schools across the capital using evidence-based, school-to-school and peer-led activities, for example sharing ideas and approaches to teaching, planning lessons and interventions together, observing classroom teaching, working with outside subject specialists and regularly updating professional knowledge. The fund will enable collaboration between schools and other partners, such as universities, independent schools, businesses and charities. They may work with schools across several boroughs, focusing on specific academic disciplines and targeting support where it is most needed.

Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture, Munira Mirza said: 'Teachers have told us that they would welcome extra support in the classroom, to help them learn from each other and also meet the challenges of the new, intellectually ambitious National Curriculum. We have seen how cities around the world are investing in the teaching profession, and London needs to keep pace. What is exciting about the London Schools Excellence Fund is the clear emphasis on strengthening core subject knowledge as part of teacher training and getting tangible results - it is now recognised that we need to teach core knowledge to all students, to ensure they are fully literate and numerate and have the best chance of succeeding in both school and life.'

30 schemes are receiving funding totalling seven million pounds in the current round of awards from the London Schools Excellence Fund. They include:

• One scheme will see the creation of the London Centre for Languages and Culture, led by Pembroke College, University of Oxford to deliver high-level professional training for 127 language teachers working in 27 schools in Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea. The aim will be to improve take up and achievement in language GCSEs and A Levels for around 1,000 pupils. The programme will include lectures and seminars, cultural visits to enrich and deepen understanding of subject areas, and a residential school at Oxford.

• The Mathematics Mastery Primary Project, an ARK schools programme harnesses the success of Singaporean maths teaching methods to raise the ability and confidence of 480 Key Stage 1 primary school teachers and improve maths study for 14,400 pupils aged 4-7 years in 120 schools in 24 boroughs across the capital.

• A project, developed by the Prince's Teaching Institute, a charity dedicated to strengthening subject knowledge amongst state school teachers, has already run a residential school for 20 heads of department of English, which included lectures from leading academics and high-profile authors and playwrights such as Tom Stoppard. A further residential programme for 20 heads of maths departments will take place in November.

• Lord Winston, Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College, is leading a programme of Imperial College "Reach Out Labs", which will boost learning in STEM subjects for up to 33,000 primary and secondary pupils in every London borough. It will enhance teachers' skills across Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 5 through a range of activities, including visits to research and engineering institutions, mentoring from academics, professionally evaluated seminars and practical teaching sessions.

• The London Digital Schoolhouse Initiative, developed in conjunction with the interactive games industry body Ukie and the Computing at School network, is seeking to address the widely recognised shortage of skilled teachers in computer science. Focusing on years 5 and 6, 10 hub schools will link with academic institutions and networks to create new computer science "ecosystem" that will benefit students from an early age through to university. The Mayor is organising a major education conference in November, bringing speakers and contributors from the UK and overseas. More details will be announced in due course. To register for information, please email [email protected]. For more information about the London Schools Excellnce Fund: www.london.gov.uk/priorities/young-people/education-and-training/gla-education-programme/london-schools-excellence-fund

Notes to editors

1. The London Schools Excellence Fund is being overseen by an expert advisory group. Members of the group are: Munira Mirza (Chair) – Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture; Dawn Taylor – Deputy Director, Curriculum Policy, Department for Education; Sir Dan Moynihan – Chief Executive, Harris Federation; Patricia Sowter CBE – Principal, Cuckoo Hall Academy; Shahed Ahmed – Headteacher, Elmhurst Primary School; Bernice McCabe – Headmistress, North London Collegiate School; Co-Director, The Prince's Teaching Institute; Frankie Sulke – Director of Children's Services, London Borough of Lewisham; Dr Tony Sewell – CEO, Generating Genius and Chair of the Mayor's Education Inquiry in 2011/2012; Professor George Berwick PhD CBE – Executive Principal, Ravens Wood School; Kevan Collins - Chief Executive, Education Endowment Foundation, Sean Harford (observer) – Regional Director, Ofsted.

2. The London Schools Excellence Fund is one of twelve recommendations made in the Mayor's Education Inquiry, which was published in 2012. The Mayor launched the Education Inquiry in November 2011, as an independent investigation into the successes and challenges for London schools. Chaired by the education commentator, former teacher and CEO of Generating Genius, Dr Tony Sewell, the inquiry consulted widely to build a comprehensive analysis of education in the capital, as well as making a number of recommendations to promote excellent teaching in all London schools; prepare young Londoners for life and work; and ensure every London child can be given a good school place.

3. The inquiry found that London schools already perform very well against the national average. It showed that since 2004, London schools have outperformed the national average for achievement of 5 good GCSEs (including English and Maths) at Key Stage 4 (ages 14 to 16). It reported that 62 per cent of students in the capital achieve 5 GCSEs A*- C, including English and maths, compared to the national average of 58 per cent. However, 38% of London children left schools in 2012 without 5 good GCSEs and 20% of children started secondary school in September 2012 without reaching level 4 in English and Maths, at Key Stage 2.

4. The London Schools Excellence Fund is part of a £40m education and youth programme of investment to boost attainment and opportunities for young Londoners. It also includes sponsoring three academies, with new ones under development; a £10 million youth programme co-funded by the European Social Fund, which targets young people aged 14-17, to help them into education, employment and training; and a London-wide mentoring programme. In addition the Mayor is leading the London Apprenticeships Campaign to drive up the number of apprenticeships offered by employers.For more information about what the Mayor is doing to raise aspiration and attainment and improve opportunities for young Londoners go to www.london.gov.uk/priorities/young-people

5. The DfE has contributed £20 million towards the establishment of the fund. The Mayor is providing a further £4.25 million; this includes funding for his Leadership Clubs programme, which works with innovative organisations to improve young people's behaviour, academic attainment and raise their aspirations.