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 email@example.com