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East End schools slated over failing standards

PUBLISHED: 15:54 12 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:21 05 October 2010

TWO schools are being warned they must improve or face the axe in London’s East End, under the latest Government drive. Both Bethnal Green Technology College and St Paul’s Way Community school in Bow Common have been earmarked for closure or be turned into an academy.’ They have to make sure 30 per cent of pupils get at least five good GCSEs including English and Maths if they are to avoid closure

By Gemma Collins

TWO schools are being warned they must improve or face the axe in London's East End, under the latest Government drive.

Both Bethnal Green Technology College and St Paul's Way Community school in Bow Common have been earmarked for closure or be turned into an 'academy.'

They have to make sure 30 per cent of pupils get at least five good GCSEs including English and Maths if they are to avoid closure.

The two campuses are among 638 schools up and down the country that are not reaching the 30 per cent mark.

"If it is the right thing to do, yes we will close schools," warned the Schools Secretary of State Ed Balls.

"People will say this will help us transform standards. It's what parents want."

The schools have three years under the National Challenge set up by the Government this week to reach the standards.

Bethnal Green Technology was blasted three years ago by Ofsted inspectors as failing and was put on special measures.

But the school experienced a U-turn with headteacher Mark Keary at the lead and last year was praised for its "immense improvements" with higher exam results and transformation in teaching and behaviour.

But the school is still on the Department of Schools' hit list for having only 27 per cent of pupils getting five good GCSEs, just three per cent short of the minimum Government target.

St Paul's Way School in its last published Ofsted report in 2006 was rated as "satisfactory" in all the categories.

But according to more recent figures, 80 per cent of its 16-year-olds are not getting the right grades.

The Government is to spend £4 million on improving failing schools with a National Challenge adviser appointed to each school, the Secretary of State has revealed.

But if the failing centres don't improve, then private businesses, universities or successful State schools could be brought in to run them.

Tower Hamlets education authority has 50 days to come up with a rescue plan for both Bethnal Green Technology and St Paul's Way schools.

The Town Hall insists it has already been working to make improvements.

But Bethnal Green's MP George Galloway condemned the new strategy.

"This really is a disgrace," he said. "What these schools need is investment, not closure.

"Closing them will lead to all the good work the hard-pressed teachers have done being destroyed.

"The threat of closure itself will increase stress massively and lead to demoralisation."

Kevan Collins, the council's Children's Services director, is on the National Panel of Experts which will be monitoring the schools' performances.

gemma.collins@archant.co.uk


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