Opinion Former Article

NUT: Gove fails to depict "outstanding success" of London non-academy schools

Commenting on the speech to the National College Annual Conference in Birmingham today, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The NUT welcomes the Secretary of State’s recognition of the hard work of students, teachers and school leaders in London schools that has resulted in them exceeding the national average for GCSE 5 A*-C grade GCSEs and, in inner London schools, ensuring that 52 per cent of children on free school meals achieve the GCSE threshold compared with just over a third of schools nationally.

“The Secretary of State has however failed to give the full picture on the outstanding success of London’s schools. It is not only sponsored academies that are achieving these great results for the capital’s children.

“A recent analysis by Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation found that there were 446 schools nationally where children on free schools meals perform above the national average GCSE points for all pupils. 164 of these schools are in London. Of these, 11 schools (6.7 per cent) were sponsored academies, two (1.2 per cent) were converter academies and 151 (92.1 per cent) were maintained schools.

“Nationally of the 446 high performing schools, 17 (3.8 per cent) were sponsored academies, nine (2 per cent) were converter academies and 420 (94.2 per cent) were maintained schools.

“This makes it very clear that it is not the structural arrangements of a school that determines pupil outcomes but the work of teachers in the classroom, supported by good school leaders.

“The one school in London that the Secretary of State flags up as being below floor standards is in fact a sponsored academy whose GCSE results have declined from 34 per cent to 31 per cent since it became a sponsored academy.

“The NUT welcomes the Secretary of State’s reference to the success of Finland’s schools. Finland provides an example of a schools’ system which has dramatically improved its international standing not by market experiments but by increasing the morale, the training and the trust shown in its teachers.”

                                                END pr101-2012
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