Kids in deprived Tower Hamlets 2nd most improved in country for GCSEs

Schools in London’s deprived East End are the second most improved for GCSE results in the country, new government figures reveal.

The national ranking by the Department for Education places Tower Hamlets as second ‘most improved’ education authority in 2011, behind Darlington in the North East.

More than six-out-of-10 pupils in the East End achieved at least five A* to C grades including English and maths, the highest ever figure for Tower Hamlets and higher than the national average.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “We’ve known for months that our pupils exceeded the national GCSE average—but to hear that we’re the second most improved is the icing on the cake.

“This success I hope means we’ll continue leading the way in improved educational attainment.”

Publishing results of GCSE and A Level exams from 3,300 secondaries is part of a government drive for giving parents more information about how schools are performing. They now include how well disadvantaged children perform.

Government Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “All too often, pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds aren’t given the same opportunities as their peers.

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“But these figures show schools achieving the best for disadvantaged pupils—if they can get it right, then so can all schools.”

The figures come a week after CentreForum, a leading education think-tank, highlighted how pupils in Tower Hamlets achieved well above their expected GCSE grades. The think-tank’s research looked at the difference between ‘expected’ and ‘actual’ GCSE performance and ranked Tower Hamlets joint seventh nationally with Camden and Sutton out of 151 local authorities.

But the Minister warned the tables also show which schools are “letting children down.”

He added: “We won’t hesitate to tackle underperformance in any school.”

A tougher inspection regime had been introduced, targeting weakest-performing schools, with Ministers now having new powers to intervene when schools are failing.