Tower Hamlets LA development strategy
By Tim Williams, Tower Hamlets Secondary Development Officer Post 16
Education in Tower Hamlets has a fairly well documented recent history and, since the London Challenge initiative, there has been a rapid improvement in student performance, especially at KS4. Attainment and progress is consistently above the national average and Tower Hamlets schools have become increasingly high profile and high performing. We have 14 secondary schools and all but one of these is graded ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. All our schools have sixth forms with several being very recently introduced. We also have a further education college with an extensive provision and this is judged ‘good with outstanding features’. Putting this into context, in the 1990s we were at or towards the bottom of many performance tables.
However buried within this positive story are our A level results. While there are lots of individual student and school success stories and an increasing HE progression rate, our overall A level results for the borough still lag behind national figures and we have had a couple of specific problems: the top performing students at GCSE don’t get the top A level grades; and a number of students travel outside the borough to learn. Tower Hamlets is very well connected to the public transport system and it’s easy for students to jump on a bus and go elsewhere to study.
Five years ago the LA developed a strategy to tackle our A level problem.