GENE BRODIE, our education correspondent, wades through the morass of educational half-truths to investigate why private education is quite so popular in Croydon
This week’s latest Ofsted tables of school performance by borough showed that Greater London performed especially well. With a few notable exceptions. Such as Croydon.
Fifteen London boroughs were in the Top 20 for the percentage of their secondary school students attending good or outstanding schools. Seven out of the nine local authorities where all secondary students attend good or outstanding schools are in London.
But Croydon does not appear even in the top half of the boroughs’ league table. Croydon languishes at No 104 in a list of 151 boroughs. Croydon is the bottom of the London boroughs.
This is rather troubling after all the political spin from the Town Hall that greeted the summer exam results.
Nationally, the top 20 boroughs were:
Other London boroughs worth noting performed as follows:
As noted in previous reports, even those schools which are considered “good” by Ofsted, such as the academy at Crystal Palace that is run by the Harris carpet baggers, do not look quite so good when you actually analyse their figures.
That doesn’t stop political party hacks such as Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell claiming, “GCSE results a tribute to hard work of pupils and teachers – and the policies of our Conservative Council”. Will Barwell now be claiming the credit on behalf of “our Conservative Council” for only 1 in 3 of Croydon’s secondary school pupils being in a “good” state school?
Of course not, and it is just as unlikely that Barwell will be resigning from the Whitgift Foundation and the board of governors of the Foundation’s £12,000-a-year private Trinity School to resolve the possible conflicts of interest.
After all, if Croydon’s state secondary schools were truly thriving, would local parents see any need to consider paying tens of thousands of pounds a year to have their children educated privately at schools run by the Foundation and receiving millions of pounds a year in public subsidy through tax breaks?
Croydon’s state schools meanwhile also have to live in fear of “academisation”. Fear is not a good framework for effective teaching and learning.
While local schools have their Christmas decorations up and prepare for the last week of term, in the corridors outside the staff rooms around the borough, there are whispers over which of the academy chains will be allowed to get their teeth into Lanfranc School.
It is Lanfranc that has taken so many of the borough’s most challenging pupils and produced some real value, despite working in a building which is slowly sinking into landfill.
The school now faces change:
- The heroic Head, Dave Clarke is to resign
- A new building is to be built at public expense – thus making the school attractive to the circling academy chains
- But how many pupils will be required to “leave” in order to improve the results for the sake of any incoming academy?
- Where might the “inconvenient” pupils – those with English as a second language, or with special educational needs, for instance – be displaced to?
Meanwhile, Tower Hamlets celebrates its phoenix like rise up the league tables. A rise driven by strategic planning and vision and by cooperative working between schools.
It is not poverty that is holding Croydon back, but a complete lack of ambitious vision by those who run our council.
If inner city, East End Tower Hamlets can do it, why not Croydon?
Coming to Croydon
- Strange Air book talk, Upper Norwood Joint Library: Dec 14
- Surrey Street Christmas market, Dec 15 and 22
- Cinema Ruskin: Dec 21
- Steve Knightly at Stanley Halls: Feb 5
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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