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London's primary schools have 'improved education in the capital'

02/10/2015 Joanna
The improved success of London's schools over the last decade has been typically credited to the introduction of academies and policies such as the London Challenge, however new research has been published that suggests otherwise.

A report undertaken by the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, states that there is no single explanation for the success. Gradual improvements in primary schools since the mid 90's, including school inspection, choice and competition are considered the driving force for the turnaround.

The report also suggests that the removal of the Inner London Education Authority in 1990, while controversial, may have also contributed. This resulted in individual boroughs taking control of education, which could offer a more focused approach. 

In 2002 only 22 per cent of children on free school meals in inner London obtained five or more A*–C grades at GCSE, including English and Maths. By 2013, this had risen to 48 per cent.

Extensive research has been undertaken to establish the cause for such vast improvements so that it can be replicated elsewhere. The success now sees disadvantaged students in London outperforming those in the rest of the country. Previous studies have resulted in the development of initiatives such as the academies programme, the London Challenge, and TeachFirst. The report highlights the additional success which was the result of these initiatives, but concludes that the main driving force was the changes to primary schools in the 90s. 

One of the researchers, Jo Blanden, said: "London’s schools have become extremely good at helping poor children succeed. This is despite the incredible diversity of their pupils. This success is likely to lead to better jobs and more social mobility among those educated in the capital."

Posted by Theo Foulds

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