Archive for December, 2013

I would like to thank all our volunteers for giving up their free time to assist me and my Tower Hamlets First colleagues in engaging with our residents. We’ve achieved a great deal since 2010 but there remains much to be done, which I why I am seeking a second term. Every hour spent by our volunteers canvassing and campaigning ahead of the 2014 election helps make our vision for this borough’s future a reality.

I would also like to thank all of you who have made donations both big and small to the events we have held in 2013.

2014 will see many more opportunities to support me and my fellow councillors. We look forward to continue working with you all.


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Press Release

Tower Hamlets schools ‘an example to the world’

Independent report praises borough’s education transformation as an international model

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets has hailed the findings of an academic study into urban education that praised the remarkable turnaround in the performance of schools in the borough.

In 1997 Tower Hamlets Schools were rated the worst in the country and the following year Ofsted declared the council’s education department, the best-funded in the country, to be failing. Now, Tower Hamlets is seen as an educational success story: one of the few councils whose secondary schools are all rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted; and its exam results continue to improve, bucking the national trend.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman said:

“As Lead Member for Education in 2003, as Leader of the Council in 2008-10 and now as Mayor, education has always been at the heart of my vision for a better borough. I’m very pleased that the hard work of teachers, pupils and council officers is paying huge dividends and I’m sure we’ll see even more improvement in the future.”

The report, “Transforming Education for All: the Tower Hamlets Story” was authored by Professor David Woods CBE, Professor Chris Husbands and Dr. Chris Brown concludes that: “It is not unreasonable to argue that what Tower Hamlets has created are some of the best urban schools in the world. This is a genuinely exceptional achievement, worth celebrating, worth understanding, but, above all, worth learning from.”


Notes to Editors:

The report cited several reasons for Tower Hamlets’ success:

• Ambitious leadership at all levels
• Very effective school improvement
• High quality teaching and learning
• High levels of funding
• External integrated services
• Community development and partnerships
• A resilient approach to external government policies and pressure

It cites numerous examples of practice and policy for other local authorities to learn from. These include:

• The Council resisted the politically motivated pressure to build new high school academies since it already had high-trust relationships with its maintained schools that now perform very well
• Attracting and retaining high quality teachers
• A focus on improving literacy at primary school so standards would therefore later improve at secondary school
• A rigorous focus on results and monitoring progress through data
• Investment in education – but money needed to be spent wisely
• More teaching assistants and other staff from the local community were placed in schools to support teachers
• The Authority took decisive action if leadership was found wanting: of 48 schools causing concern or in Ofsted categories, 42 Heads were replaced
• Schools have also been encouraged to work together and will support neighbouring schools who may be struggling
• Business mentoring offers secondary students access to a regular meeting with an adviser from the business world.

The authors cite GCSE results as one clear indicator of the change over the past 15 years. In 1998, just 26% of students gained five or more higher-grade GCSEs, way below the national average of 43%.

In 2012, 61.8% of students achieved five GCSE grades A*- C including English and Maths, higher than the national average of 59.4%.

• The authors are available to be interviewed
• Filming or photographic opportunities can be set up at local schools
• Interviews can be arranged with headteachers, students and politicians
• The full report can be viewed at

For information about this press release contact Numan Hussain, Political Advisor to the Mayor, on 07508 352 023 or email numan.hussain@towerhamlets.gov.uk

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“Your column, ‘Spiral Notebook’; ‘Rahman’s insult to Tower Hamlets’, contains a series of gross inaccuracies and unfair innuendoes. Surely, The Wharf has a responsibility to report and comment fairly? On the basis of this particular column it would appear that neither you nor your newspaper intends to do so in the run up to the Mayoral and local government elections in May.


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A great light has gone out

On behalf of the Council and the residents of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, I would like to pass on my condolences to the people of South Africa and to the family of Nelson Mandela following the sad news that has touched people across the world.

Nelson Mandela has been an inspiration to me, just as he has for millions across the globe. Although we have known for a long time that Nelson Mandela’s health had been failing, his passing leaves a deep void. A great light has just gone out in the world. He has been rightly described as one of South Africa’s greatest sons, but he was also a global leader, who put freedom and justice first.

Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s first democratically elected President, whose stoic battle against apartheid saw him being imprisoned for decades. He endured that imprisonment and when finally released showed no bitterness or desire for revenge. His strength of personality helped heal the terrible wounds created by institutionalised racism, and what seems extraordinary now, a colour bar which kept black and white deliberately segregated.

Nelson Mandela was a giant. We shall not see his like again. The world has lost a great human being.


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Contracts are up for grabs for tradesmen in London’s East End to get a slice of the £181 million being spent on improving council housing. The five main contractors bringing 8,500 properties owned by Tower Hamlets Homes up to scratch by 2015 have pledged to spend half the Whitehall cash locally on services and skilled workers. It could mean work for plumbers, electricians, decorators, carpenters and caterers.



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