Lord Mayor’s ‘Dragon’ award for Barclay’s turning round East End’s tough Ian Mikardo school

.Barclays mentor Raj Sanger with pupil at Ian Mikardo School

.Barclays mentor Raj Sanger with pupil at Ian Mikardo School - Credit: [Barclays

Volunteers from Canary Wharf who helped turn round special school once said to be “the toughest in Britain” have won an award for their work from the Lord Mayor of London.

The volunteers from Barclays Bank HQ have picked up a Longstanding Achievement award for their outreach work with Ian Mikardo High School at Bromley-by-Bow, in London’s East End, supporting its turnaround.

They were among the winners of the Lord Mayor’s Dragon awards at the Mansion House on Wednesday night.

The bank’s head office, just two miles from Mikardo High, pays for a long-term support programme that has led to all but one of its 48 ‘special needs’ pupils now completing their education and moving into careers who had been at risk of quitting the school—once dubbed “the toughest in Britain”—without jobs or training.

“Only a long-term programme can transform the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people,” Mikardo head teacher Claire Lillis said.

“The bank has underpinned this with sustained support. The school’s intervention is holistic and deep, and Barclays’ partnership over the last seven years has made an invaluable and strategic contribution.”

Volunteers mentor the pupils, who have learning disabilities and a history of emotional and behavioural issues.

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The bank also funds a full-time family support worker to tackle issues faced by pupils’ families that have disrupted their learning and is now helping the school extend its services into the wider community.

Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow, who presented the awards, said: “The bank’s contribution to communities shows its immense value—in fact, we couldn’t do without it.

“Our Dragon award winners such as Barclays enable business to use its skills in the voluntary sector to directly help 300,000 people in London, acting as mentors for schoolchildren or accountants for charities. They are an example of helping to build a fairer and society.”

The applicants for the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards this year volunteered 92,000 hours in the community, helping 300,000 people in London and creating 5,000 training placements.

Barclays’ Young Futures programme makes financial grants and gives time and expertise to help improve pupils’ employability skills. It aims to help five million disadvantaged youngsters up and down the country by the end of the year.