28,000 pupils leave school ill-equipped for work & further education

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A public consultation has been launched to find out why four in ten school children in London left school in 2011 without achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs, including English and Maths. This is regarded as the minimum level needed for preparing young people for employment and further education.
 
The public consultation will gather a range of views about education in the capital and explore how London schools on the whole have improved in recent years, but also what can be done to tackle underachievement, especially for those from poorer backgrounds.
 
The report found that London schools have improved at a faster rate than the rest of the country in recent years, and noticeable successes include:

  • London pupils are more likely to achieve both 5 A*s to C at GCSE and the English Baccalaureate than pupils nationally
  • Children growing up in poverty in London  do better than their counterparts nationally
  • London's schools are more likely to receive a good or outstanding rating from Ofsted than the national average
  • However there are still key issues of concern, including:
  • Nearly one in five children leave primary school failing to achieve the benchmark in literacy and numeracy
  • Only 16 per cent of London school children achieved the new Ebacc measure in 2011
  • London faces unique challenges – half of state school children hold English as a second language (with some ethnic groups outperforming national average – e.g Chinese, Asian, Nigerian students)
  • The population is growing fast, meaning an additional 70,000 school places are needed over the next four years
  • Changes in funding will mean a reduction of average funding per pupil in London
  • One third of all families did not manage to get their child into their first choice school place in 2011
  • Behaviour is linked to other social problems in London. Of children brought before the courts following the August 2011 disturbances, on average, they missed almost one day of school per week and were more likely to have been excluded from school at least once  

The panel are encouraging the public to share their concerns and views about London schools. The information will be collated and help shape the panel’s final report in the Autumn which will be presented to the Government. The Mayor, Boris Johnson, hopes the inquiry will galvanise efforts to improve education in the capital and inform government policy and allocating funding.
 
Mr Johnson said: “London is one of the best big cities in the world, and our schools are vital to maintaining our status. We need to ensure pupils are robustly prepared for the globally competitive job market, and are armed with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life. This inquiry is asking tough questions and exploring the reasons some schools are super charging their pupil’s life chances. By working together on solutions we can ensure all pupils are getting the opportunity of a first class education.”

Tony Sewell, Chair of the Education Inquiry and CEO of Generating Genius, said: “We need to single out where schools can do better and where they need more support.  From issues as diverse as the provision of good career advice, to increasing the take up of difficult subjects like science and maths, or getting more organisations to work in partnership with schools, we will be looking at practical solutions that make a difference to a young person’s future."

School Leadership Today
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