School improvement ‘vital’ to London

  • By Gemma Kappala-R...

London boroughs renewed their commitment to driving school improvement at London Councils’ Education Summit, held at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) today (Monday 5 September).  

London is currently the best performing region at GCSE level and around 80 per cent of schools in the capital are rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, but at the same time 40 per cent of young Londoners are failing to achieve  5 A* to C grades including English and Maths. 

At the Education Summit, councillors and council officers from across London discussed various strategies to boost pupil performance across the capital, particularly for those from more disadvantaged backgrounds.

Cllr Peter John OBE, London Councils Executive member for children, skills and employment, said:

“London’s schools have much to celebrate when it comes to standards and performance, but it is vital that they do not rest on their laurels. By analysing what drives success in schools across the capital and focusing on narrowing gaps in attainment for pupils on free school meals, who are classed as being the most disadvantaged, boroughs can pave the way for further school improvements.

“London boroughs remain committed to playing our part within the education system to ensure children in London receive a top-quality education, and that is why we are so concerned about the likely impact of the national funding formula for schools, on top of rising costs and growing pupil populations.”

Keynote speaker Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector of Ofsted, focused on why it is imperative for local authorities and schools to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils and voiced scepticism about the effectiveness of re-introducing grammar schools. He shared insights gained as a head teacher at Mossbourne Academy in Hackney and during his tenure at Ofsted on the education system at large and the factors that create better schools. 

Another keynote speaker at the event was Alan Wood CBE, currently Chair of a government advisory group on the role of local authorities in relation to children. He called on London boroughs to be vocal about their role in school improvement and to do more to help schools push the most able students and those from working class backgrounds, boost attainment among pupils with special education needs and those interested in vocational 14-19 education routes, and improve standards in early years education. 


Notes to editors

Education Summit agenda:

10.00 Chair's welcome: Cllr Peter John OBE, London Councils Executive member for children, skills and employment

10.05 Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector, Ofsted (click here to read his speech in full)

10.20 Questions to Sir Michael Wilshaw

10.40 Alan Wood CBE, former Chief Executive of Hackney Learning Trust and Chair of the advisory group to the DfE’s review of the role of local authority in relation to children 

11.00 Questions to Alan Wood CBE

11.15 Panel discussion:

  • Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector, Ofsted
  • Alan Wood CBE, Chair of advisory group to DfE 
  • Cllr David Simmonds, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, Hillingdon 
  • Debbie Jones, Corporate Director of Children and Young People, Tower Hamlets

Afternoon session: Children’s services and education lead member session