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Minister presses East London Science School to spread its influence

PUBLISHED: 19:14 20 March 2015 | UPDATED: 19:42 20 March 2015

Principal David Perks [left]  disccuses new Year 7 intake with Minister Nick Gibb

Principal David Perks [left] disccuses new Year 7 intake with Minister Nick Gibb

EL Science School

The government is pressing the new East London Science School to extend its influence and help push maths, computing and the sciences as key subjects in all neighbouring secondary schools.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb looks in on science lessonSchools Minister Nick Gibb looks in on science lesson

This was the message from Schools Reform Minister Nick Gibb in his visit this week to the school’s temporary Clock Mill campus at Bromley-by-Bow.

The trust school opened two years ago is already sending out its science teachers “on loan” to promote science and computing across east London.

“The minister was very keen to extend our influence in science and computing,” principal David Perks told the Advertiser.

“We’re involved in a ‘physics factory’ programme with 30 secondary schools in Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham, sending our expertise free to improve physics teaching and promoting excellence in science. We’re also lending teachers to primary schools to set up projects.”

He added: “It’s not competitive, which would close science teaching down.”

The school’s ethos is academic, with chemistry, physics and biology taught from Year 7, and computer coding in afternoon which has replaced traditional subjects like design technology, metalwork and woodwork.

The minister looked in on coding studies where youngsters learn to write computer code from Year 7. The school has also been asked to develop toolkits and text books on coding, with Mr Perks already having worked with the minister reviewing science books and creating ones that match new National Curriculum that came in last year.

“There is a need for science specialising in the area,” Mr Perks insists. “Many pupils leave the area for 6thform study in science elsewhere.”

The school is expanding by increments, year-by-year, with 211 pupils so far and another 120 joining in September for the new Year 7 intake. It is already over-subscribed “by four times,” with applications from all over east London.

The trust running the school is negotiating with the GLA for a permanent campus—likely to be close to West Ham.

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