Mayor of London hails schools setting the capital's pace for education
• First 111 schools to become members of the Mayor’s London Schools Gold Club named
• Announcement comes as the Mayor opens the first annual London Education Conference at City Hall
• Teachers, education leaders and delegates addressed by the Mayor and the Education Secretary
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson today hailed schools in the capital for their efforts to drive up standards in teaching and raise attainment and aspiration amongst young Londoners – but warned that even more needs to be done to ensure they are equipped with the education and skills they will need to compete at the highest levels.
Addressing the inaugural London Education Conference, the Mayor announced the first 111 schools to become members of the London Schools Gold Club, a new scheme set up to recognise exceptional schools that have succeeded against the odds in improving pupils' aspirations and achievements. Each school is being recognised for their individual very specific approaches to ensuring their pupils will do well, based on the principle that children with pupil premium funding should be doing at least as well as the national average.
The Gold Club follows the launch of the London Schools Excellence Fund, a £24m fund which sees high performing schools working with partners to help raise standards of teaching in other schools.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'Our finest schools recognise the importance of competition, rigour, creativity, discipline, and progression on the basis of academic merit. But there are still those out there who think it is enough to pat ourselves on the back and say London is 'good enough'. No - we can do better! We owe it to our children and the success and prosperity of our city demand it.
'I want to support the best schools and teachers to share their good ideas through my Excellence Fund and the Gold Club scheme. London has unleashed a new era of educational innovation in the UK – with a new generation of great teachers and the freedom to try out ideas - in teaching methods, curriculum, use of technology, the format of the school day, working with leading universities and businesses.'
The conference comes a year on from the publication of the Mayor's Education Inquiry, and brings together international education specialists and teaching experts, as well as people from business, the arts, technology and other sectors, to debate the best ideas and practices that are setting the benchmarks for teaching and pupil outcomes around the world.
Across its 32 boroughs and 3,060 state and independent schools London educates 16 per cent of the country's schoolchildren from 3 to 18 – more than 1,330,000 youngsters. 41 per cent of schoolchildren are eligible for free school meals in the capital, which has some of the highest rates of disadvantage in the UK, but in spite of factors that can affect attainment, London still outperforms the rest of the country. 83 per cent of London's primary aged children achieved Level 4 or above in English and Maths in 2012, compared with 79 per cent nationally. At secondary level, 63 per cent achieved 5 A*-C grades at GCSE, including English and Maths, compared with 59 per cent nationally.
Whilst recognising that schools operate in different circumstances and that different children will benefit from a range of approaches, the Mayor believes all schools should aspire to academic excellence. Regardless of their circumstances, it is critical all young Londoners are equipped with the education and skills demanded by employers and top universities in a highly competitive global market.
The Mayor added: 'Even though London schools have leapfrogged over other parts of the UK and are achieving more for their students, there are still challenges and too many are falling through the net. One in four children leaves primary school without the literacy and numeracy they need to succeed and one in five leaves school without the qualifications needed to get a job or go onto further education. The jobs being created in London's growth sectors - science, engineering, healthcare, the creative industries, computing - are out of reach for too many of our children. That is why we have introduced measures aimed at developing teachers that are the best anywhere in the world and will fire up the aspirations and ambition of our youngsters.'
Munira Mirza, Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture said: 'This important conference is a unique opportunity for the education establishment in the capital to hear about some of the most exciting and innovative approaches to teaching from around the world. London does not exist in a vacuum and we are not competing solely with the rest of the country. As a world city, we compete at a global level and it is vital we learn about the best from the best.'
As well as Mayor Johnson and Deputy Mayor Mirza, today's conference also heard from speakers, who included the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP; Joel Klein, Chief Executive Officer, Amplify and former New York Education Commissioner; Andreas Schleicher, Deputy Director for Education and Skills at OECD and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary-General; Professor David Hogan, former Principal Research Scientist, National Institute of Education, Singapore; Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of Washington DC Public Schools; Sander Dekker, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, the Netherlands.
To download the annual report on education in the capital, find out more about the London Schools Gold Club and London Schools Excellence Fund, please go to: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/young-people. You can also find out about the London Schools Atlas, which provides a comprehensive overview of primary and secondary schools in the capital at www.london.gov.uk/london-schools-atlas.
Notes to editors
1. Speakers at the Mayor of London's Annual Education Conference include: Boris Johnson, Mayor of London; Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education; Munira Mirza, Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture; Joel Klein, Chief Executive Officer, Amplify and former New York Education Commissioner; Andreas Schleicher, Deputy Director for Education and Skills at OECD and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary-General; Professor David Hogan, former Principal Research Scientist, National Institute of Education, Singapore; Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of Washington DC Public Schools; Sander Dekker, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, the Netherlands.
2. The Mayor launched the Education Inquiry in November 2011, as an independent investigation into the successes and challenges for London schools.
3. The London Schools Gold Club has 111 member schools. The annual scheme, funded by the Mayor of London and free to schools, celebrates and shares exceptional practice in London’s schools. Gold Club members are primary and secondary schools which have 'bucked the trend' by achieving exceptional outcomes for all their pupils, whatever their circumstances. The school to school learning programme allows all schools across London to learn from the good practice of Gold Club schools in improving their pupils’ aspirations and achievements. The criteria vary according to the different contexts schools operate in, so that the Gold Club can be an aspirational and relevant ambition for all schools. www.londonschoolsgoldclub.org.uk.
4. The £24m London Schools Excellence Fund aims to help students achieve better results through expert teaching, improved subject knowledge, and subject specific learning methods. The Mayor announced the first £7m of awards to 30 school-led projects last month and another £4m has been committed. The focus is on raising school standards 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. The Fund will benefit schools in a wide range of circumstances as each funded project will work with a number of other schools to help improve teaching standards and academic results, including those with lower pupil attainment levels. The fund will enable collaboration between schools and other partners, such as universities, independent schools, businesses and charities. The DfE contributed £20 million towards the establishment of the fund. www.london.gov.uk/londonschoolsexcellencefund
5. The London Schools Atlas commissioned by the Mayor provides a range of information about schools in London. www.london.gov.uk/london-schools-atlas.
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