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Why are London schools better than others

(48 Posts)
daftpumpkin Sat 28-Jun-14 00:29:33

Newsnight had a remarkably short piece on this. They weren't exactly clear why they thought London did better but it seemed to be to do with teachers being married to other highly educated professionals. And there are more jobs for these people in London. Why that in itself matters I don't know. They did mention that Leeds is struggling to fill vacancies at the moment. Reading between the lines the suggestion would appear to be that the lack of graduate jobs in other parts of Britain makes it harder to attract teachers. Does this mean that those places can't be as choosy about the teachers they take on? Is it harder to get a teaching job in London? It wasn't entirely clear.

Toomanyhouseguests Sat 28-Jun-14 10:01:21


Our state primary gets a little over £3K/child/year. Less than a mile down the high road, but just across the London boundary another state primary gets over £6/child/year because it is in London.

Teachers are also paid more because of the high cost of living in London. In our area, you get paid thousands more a year if you move to a work in a school down the road less than a mile.

HercShipwright Sat 28-Jun-14 10:10:00

London schools get significantly higher funding than schools anywhere else. That's probably got something to do with it.

Hassled Sat 28-Jun-14 10:14:34

There was an initiative called the London Challenge which started in 2003 but took a while for the effect to take hold - article here. Basically sharing good practice and networks of support, lots of high quality training.

Needmoresleep Sat 28-Jun-14 11:14:54

Aspiration will play a part. Three generational unemployment may be the biggest single factor in poor school achievement. Schools in former industrial areas can struggle because parents do not expect much from either their schools or their children.

In contrast plenty of recent migrants came here to ensure their children had a brighter future and will want them to do well. Shifting patterns including large numbers from places like Poland and Nigeria may have helped overall school achievement.

Also if you do well at school, it is easy to find employment in London. In contrast because of the cost of accommodation it is increasingly hard for others to "get on their bikes" and move here. So less obvious incentive to concentrate at school.

CharlesRyder Sat 28-Jun-14 16:13:15

Yup, combination of significantly higher funding and significantly higher teacher's wages.

I don't know about being married to professionals- I think 'going to teach in London' is what a lot of the 'bright young things' do anyway.

sisterofmercy Sat 28-Jun-14 16:48:36

They didn't use to be. In fact I remember in the 80s they used to have trouble recruiting teachers because of the reputation of 'inner city schools'. However, a concerted effort was made to invest in them and improve their management and they have improved to the point of now being very good.

Unfortunately there are other areas of the country which are now suffering such as rural seaside schools and I don't see there being such investment because it doesn't affect as many people.

However, that shouldn't take away the achievement from London schools.

thecuntureshow Sat 28-Jun-14 16:58:22

So was it saying the results are better in London?

Could a combination of things. Bigger pool of teachers, an educated population raising smarter kids, encouraging them to do well.

EvilTwins Sat 28-Jun-14 17:06:10

Money is definitely a big part of it, and not just teachers' pay and funding of schools. I used to teach in Islington and now teach in rural Gloucestershire. There was so much available money for stuff in London. For example, if I wanted to take a drama class to see a play, the West End theatres offer £5 tickets and TfL does free transport for school trips. So I could take my GCSE/A Level students to see top quality drama for a fiver, which, if necessary, the school could cover. The same sort of thing, for kids I teach now, would cost over £40 for transport & tickets. Even taking them to our local theatre is £12-£15 when you factor in transport. It frustrates me that things are so London-centric. My school has a significantly higher proportion of Pupil Premium students than the national average, but still there is hardly anything available when compared with the money and opportunities thrown at London schools.

thecuntureshow Sat 28-Jun-14 17:16:12

That's interesting Evil - do you think the general availability of interesting stuff in London helps then? Trips to the science museum, with parents or school, and the dozens of other family friendly vaguely educational things?

Also does multi culturism play a part?

DP and I would love to raise our kids in London but are being priced out sad on housing.

rabbitstew Sat 28-Jun-14 17:22:22

Because all the money floods to London, more so now than ever before, and London sucks it all up and doesn't give anything much back to the provinces? It's a bit of a circular argument, really - London brings in the most money, so London gets the most money spent on it in order to keep it attractive, so more money is attracted to London and more people, so more money needs to be spent on it, and less and less money is left over to spend anywhere else and less and less attention is paid to anywhere else, because we have to keep feeding London, because funnily enough, that's where everyone who is anyone wants to be, what with all that money and attention and everything. One day, someone might turn round and decide it's a bit of a polluted cess pit these days, surrounded by a third world country, but hey, ho, we all like big bubbles in this country.

HercShipwright Sat 28-Jun-14 17:26:43

Pupils in tower hamlets get over £7000 per pupil in funding. Pupils in Devon get just over £4000 per pupil. That's outrageous. When you add on the advantages of location mentioned above - access to arts and culture opportunities - it's even more inequitable. 9 London boroughs get >£6k per head. Some of them are not deprived areas although they may have pockets of deprivation.

EvilTwins Sat 28-Jun-14 17:33:31

cuntureshow - yep, I think it makes a huge difference. Students who have had access, regularly, to enriching experiences are at an advantage educationally. My local theatre is really good to schools but doesn't have the funding that theatres like the Almeida or Donmar do for their education programmes so it all comes back to money.

ajandjjmum Sat 28-Jun-14 17:38:39

The piece was focussing on the fact that high quality graduates are more likely to work in London, and their graduate partners - who happen to be teachers - will come with them. To me it seemed to be saying that bright people partner up with others equally as bright, and the schools benefit by having the sharpest teachers.

Apologies to all - like me - who don't have graduate other halves working in London! grin

Luciferbox Sat 28-Jun-14 17:40:31


AgaPanthers Sat 28-Jun-14 19:03:33

Most of the poor children in London are not white British. Poor white British children do incredibly badly at school, presumably due to lack of aspiration. In somewhere like Liverpool the poor kids will be white British.

White British is a minority in London schools.

I don't know what the stats are like if you consider ONLY white British FSM kids in London compared to other parts of the country. Not sure if they have that level of detail.

rabbitstew Sat 28-Jun-14 20:10:39

BBC reporting says AgaPanthers' view is not the reason why London schools are "better."

Given that Tower Hamlets, which has one of the highest ethnic minority populations in the capital, used to be one of the worst areas in the country for education (or certainly got the worst results), now is considered to provide a good level of education in its schools, AgaPanthers comes across as seriously racist. In what way is it any more acceptable to say ALL poor White British children do badly at school due to lack of aspiration, when it wasn't acceptable to say all Bangladeshi children did badly at school just because they were poor and from Bangladesh? Funnily enough, when loads of money and attention was focused on the problems in Tower Hamlets, the situation there improved hugely, educationally speaking.

AgaPanthers Sat 28-Jun-14 20:13:51

Because it's the facts

White British children on FSMs perform far worse than Bangladeshi children (most of whom do not live in Tower Hamlets).

rabbitstew Sat 28-Jun-14 20:14:51

Maybe the answer is to flood colossal amounts of money into the parts of the country that contain a poor, white British population, which isn't London, apparently. grin

Retropear Sat 28-Jun-14 20:15:11

It was all over the news last week that poor white British kids do less well than any other ethnic group.

Mintyy Sat 28-Jun-14 20:18:35

I wonder if it has got anything to do with the fact that the children of parents on relatively high incomes mostly go to state school in London?

So, say in London, a household income of around £100,000 pa is not enough to send your children to private school (am speaking VERY broadly here) because of enormous housing and childcare costs, and so the children of these families usually go to state schools and the results reflect that.


I have no idea, am only musing.

Retropear Sat 28-Jun-14 20:19:28

I read on the BBC website that the schools are actually better,that Teach First,academies,the London Project have had an impact.Apparently it's not down to the change in population.hmm

Mintyy Sat 28-Jun-14 20:20:40

Oh, and yes, I would agree with AgaPanthers. There are many ethnic minority groups who value education extremely highly and push their children to do very well. They are not particularly well represented in the rest of the country, so exam results could be skewed because of that.

rabbitstew Sat 28-Jun-14 20:20:49

No - the facts are that statistically, poor white British children do less well than pretty much all other groups NOW. Look back 10-20 years, when money hadn't been lavished on, for example, the Tower Hamlets education system (which I believe has a population approximately 32% Bangladeshi) and you'll find lots of smug racists saying then that Bangladeshis all did badly because of where they came from, not just because their schools were crap, and you only had to look at the Indian and Chinese population to see that being from Bangladesh was the problem. Turns out this was wrong, because when lots of time, money and attention was given to it and the schools in the borough improved, Bangladeshi children started to do quite well in school.

JaneParker Sat 28-Jun-14 20:21:43

More children go to private schools in London (and those private schools St Paul's, North London Collegiate etc get way way way better results than then inner London comps by the way) than anywhere else in the country.

Looking at young teachers the age of my older children it's about London being where they want to live, where their social lives might be and their friends. So it's easier to persuade your 2/1 graduate from a good university to Teach First in London or join a school there. Also as said above children of immigrants always work hard whereas the less well off of the indigenous population are less likely to do so.

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