The Elizabeth Garret Anderson School is very lucky!(9 Posts)
Just been watching Michelle Obama talking to pupils from this school at Oxford. She visited the school in Islington 2 years ago and made a very inspirational speech there. It doesn't strike me as your typical inner city comprehensive (it's a girl's school for starters) but it seems to be being held up as a school catering for disadvantaged pupils - is that the case? The kids seemed very articulate and well presented (as well you might be if you are going to stand in front of the First Lady)! Do any Mumsnetters know this school - I bet it's VERY over-subscribed! Fantastic experience for all the pupils and the Head Teacher seemed a good egg too!
A good friend of mine used to teach there - quite a few years ago now, but in short YES despite being an all girls school it did cater very much for disadvantaged kids, in fact the level of violence was quite an eye opener - some of the stories she told me would make your hair curl & I used to take work experience kids from there too, always lovely girls, but none had the best start in life
I've no idea how the School is now, I do know my friend & other teachers there won an award for turning it around in difficult circumstances though, but that was several years back
I went to this school! Yes, it def did cater for disadvantaged at least this was the case while I was there, (1990-1995) regular fights and police officers outside the gates....no idea what its like now though...
It's our local sink school - the one we all dread our girls ending up at!
Thanks. I suppose I automatically assume that single-sex schools have a more "grammar-school" feel. The morale at the school must be quite high though with the Obama factor surely? I suppose the real test is how they deal with the kids who struggle academically and those who will never be "Oxbridge" material.
Sink is a bit strong - it's got a great ofsted etc and I've heard great things about it. And I love the way Michelle o is championing maligned inner-city school. I have two primary school aged daughters and I will definitely have a look. However, I think possible reason no one I know choses it is that it's 90% ethnic minority. I hate to admit this possibility, but people often want the reassuringly similar and if you're white you're used to being in a majority.
From what I know of the School from my teacher friend, its not the high ethnic majority, but the nature of that majority as being a high proportion of refugees, therefore lots of kids with extremely troubled backgrounds & behavioural problems as a direct result - the last girl I had on work experience had 6 younger siblings, her Mum was dead, killed in a war zone & at only 15 she was now Mum to her siblings & wife to her Dad -
she cooked, cleaned & brought up the younger Kids as was the norm in her culture, she was a very bright & talented kid with dreams of what she really wanted to do with her life & very capable she was too, but sadly it was unlikely she would fulfil any of her dreams, due to her background - I got the impression that she was pretty typical of a lot of girls there
Also the violence angle, kids coming in from war zones, used to carrying machetes & fighting for there lives, so the usual kids squabbles could & often did get out of hand, craft knives held to throats etc weren't uncommon.
The oftsted will be good as the impression I got was that the teachers really DO care & work REALLY hard to give these kids the best chance they possibly can, I know my friend certainly did & ofsteds work on how much the kids improve during there stay in a School, so it doesn't necessarily mean good exam passes etc, just a big improvement from where they started - which was WAY behind most other kids - like I said some years back, but relatively recent history
DD's friend left there due to bullying...which was an eyeopener as she was the primary school bully.
My girl was upset as she said "I go to a disadvantaged North London school...why didn't she come here?"
I know this school well, I've worked there and I knew several girls who went there about 15 years ago. It used to serve the more deprived communities in Islington - it was always one of the worst schools in Islington in terms of GCSE results (and was probably only saved from being the worst because it was an all-girls' school). In 1995, about 25% of pupils got 5 A*-C GCSEs. It had a very high proportion of Bangladeshi Muslims, who often had low expectations at home as they expect to marry young and not continue to HE etc. And yes, many pupils who were in care, recent refugees and white working class.
I think there are more single-sex comps in London boroughs than elsewhere - possibly due to demand from minority ethnic groups. I know that most of the Muslims parents chose EGA to 'keep their daughters away from boys' rather than any academic or other reasons. It definitely has more of a comp feel than grammar.
The school will have chosen the most articulate and well-presented pupils, of course - it doesn't mean that most of them will be like that!
I think it's improved in the past decade and I was impressed by its last Ofsted. The management has changed, it's now a 'language college' which brought extra funds (I've noticed that many of the top exam results are language GCSEs which are actually done by students in their home language) and I believe that it's being rebuilt at the moment. The intake is still very deprived though and it lacks the opportunities you see at some more middle-class state comps - sports and music in particular. Their profile was raised a bit in recent years as Alexandra Burke went there.
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