A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Education in Hackney

Education in Hackney used to be synonymous with notorious failing schools like Hackney Downs, Kingsland and Homerton that let down generations of inner-city children.

The City Academies programme - there are going to be five in the borough - has helped transform that.

This week Mossbourne Academy, on the old Hackney Downs site, which is co-educational, non-denominational and has a comprehensive, mixed-ability intake, scored an extraordinary 84% A*-C GCSE pass rate. This is a school with a catchment area including estates like the Pembury with some of the highest levels of deprivation in the UK.

The Guardian has more here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/28/mossbourne-academy-gcse-results

Congratulations to the pupils and staff on their achievement.

40 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're becoming more like that daft bastard who used to walk along Oxford Street with a set of placards claiming, essentially, the end is nigh, but you could save the world if you ate less nuts.

The only difference is that he was harmless.

You lot are disastrous.

1:15 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Hackney's schools are so terrific these days, why does Dianne Abbott choose to pay £15k a year to send her kid to the City of London.

Terrific but not terrific enough for her son.

1:35 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

None of the academies were open when her son was 11 - though that doesn't excuse her decision.

1:43 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Blogger Mark Still News said...

There are many graduates now in the dole que's and have not worked for so long are being dismissed as potential employees. There are others that leave school at 16 not being able to perform basic academic tasks, what chance are they going to have-even for a road sweeper there's an assessment? Something terrible has happened to our education system!
There is a lot of gangsta crap culture coming from the USA, that youngsters are copying rather than taking an interest in learning. You even get white kids now walking like them and having the same accent its appalling!

2:23 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Blogger Theo Blackwell's blog said...

The Tories can't handle state schools doing well under Labour.

3:07 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Theo ... another Labour droid with a knackered pcb for a brain rather than a daft placard.

Discerning Labour voters, and there are no more discerning Labour voters than Labour MPs, are so impressed with Tory educational politics that they're desperate to put their kids into Tory run schools.

A few miles west from Abbott, there's Emily Thornberry, MP for south Islington.

She knows the score with the blitzed-out comp warehouses crafted by her mate Margaret Hodge.

That's why her kid goes to Dame Alice Owen in Barnet.

The fat hyprocrit will do all the talk but she don't do the walk.

4:17 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

This seems to be a particular issue in London, where social class is skewed towards higher and lower and schools appear to be much the same. the number of kids going to private schools is double that in the rest of the country

Unfortunately it means that ideas which might work for London - like community support officers and city academies - are inflicted upon the rest of us. They are not popular and Labour get the blame.

4:44 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the 1950s and 1960s, Islington and Hackney really did have about a dozen terrific schools between them.

Take one example. Harold Pinter came out of a school in Hackney Downs which believe me was an area of appalling poverty.

He wasn't a one-off. Education was a ladder.

Labour has screwed that all up. Risk your kid in a Hackney or Islington schools these days and you should properly be charged with assault and your kids taken away from you.

4:59 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Anonymous 4.59 did you read the article I linked to? You are about 10 years out of date. The kind of schools in Hackney you describe have been shut and replaced by City Academies with parents queuing up to get their kids into them.

I can't speak for Islington as the Lib Dems run the schools there.

5:56 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hackney has some of the best schools in the country.

They have nothing to do with the local authority.

They're run by the Orthodox Jewish community.

They didn't need to build shiny new mausaleums on dodgy financing which will saddle the taxpayers with millions of pounds worth of debt.

Indeed, the Orthodox community seem to take a certain pride in operating with some of the most clapped-out physical assets.

Perhaps, because they know, as every bloody fools knows, education has nothing to do with the best bricks, cement and glass wrapped and branded as the Mossibollocks Academy.

6:02 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke. Nah. I didn't read the link.

But I have now. Better still. I've read the comments section dropped in below the article sic panegyric of unvarnished wafffle.

The third or fourth poster tells you that the school is rigorously selecting/streaming its intake.

As I seem to remember, the Labour party led by that provisional wing of the Labour Party called the National Union of Teachers and its merry band of activists has spent 40 years fighting selection.

What I wnat to know, and that's just the first question, is where the sink unit has been sited in the borough?

We're talking Labour policy here. Nothing is as it seems. Everything crumbles into dust. Lying is not accidental. It is policy. The only question is can you get away with it?

The end is nigh. Don't eat nuts.

6:18 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Streaming is not the same as selection. Most comprehensive schools have always streamed their classes by ability.

In any case, you actually mean "banding". This is standard policy in most LEAs which means every school in a borough has to have a balanced intake with a certain percentage of high, low and middle acheivers. Under a selective system grammar schools take 100% high acheivers and secondary moderns take the rest. Under banding schools like Mossbourne have to "select" a certain % of low ability pupils as well as high ability ones, meaning that they are genuinely comprehensive i.e. mixed ability.

6:39 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK. Then explain the discrepancy.

All state comps right across the country, and almost certainly, in Hackney, have been performing below the mean of 55% A - C or so, the benchmark comparison, at GCSE.

It doesn't make any sense at all for this school to be at 88%. As we know, if something is too good to be true, it probably is.

6:48 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Given that lots of fee-paying schools get 88% pass rates and they are mixed ability in that if you are rich enough you get in however dim you are at age 11, why shouldn't state comps with the best heads, staff and ethos acheive the same, as this one has done?

7:01 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are really challenging me to produce the explanation which you want to pass off as the result of Labour Party policy.

It doesn't add up. I know you know it doesn't add up. Indeed, I suspect, you know the real explanation because I suspect ... you're a latter-day Major Barbara who's prepared to sell crap if you think you can get away it (just a communal-garden second-assistant PR peep).

If I do bother, and I find there are issues which you haven't declared here, then I might turn up for a bed-side chat.

Unlike the ginger minger, the thieving chipmunk, I'll come with the full medieval monty - pincers, thumb-screws,, Black & Decker and water-boarding kit (the usual tools of Blair diplomacy).

8:34 pm, August 28, 2009

 
Anonymous Hackney thicko said...

Education in Hackney was run by Hackney Council and used to be synonymous with notorious failing schools like Hackney Downs, Kingsland and Homerton that let down generations of inner-city children.

Congratulations to the pupils and staff on their achievement.

Absolutely NO credit for this result can be claimed by Hackney Council!!!

12:46 pm, August 29, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Government is cutting funding for Academy schools. It must be true because it's the front page of Labour's press agency The Guardian.

Funding national per pupil is to be cut from an average of £6,500 per pupil to £3,000.

I would have thought that most Hackney parents, and certainly all of Labour-supporting middle classes, would have been perfectly willing to take that £6,500, top it up with another couple of thousand, and send their kids to private schools.

Even for the poor, armed with a £6,500 educational voucher, their kids are going to be an attractive proposition for some of the best private schools.

No one needs to get left behind in Hackney ... except, of course, the Labour Party.

2:50 pm, August 29, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out its Ofsted report and then check the DSCF site.

It's Rogers. But cheapo. Ofsted reckons there's an acoustic problem in the classes ie too much noise. I reckon that's because they couldn't afford plasterboard for the ceilings. See pics on the website.

Interesting, they've got all the kids in public school-like school uniforms and there's rules.

This is exactly what someone called Rhodes Boyson was doing in a clapped out secondary school in Islington thirty years ago. The kids performed. Margaret Hodge and pals didn't like it. Rhodes Boyson left to become a Tory mp. The school went fully Labour, fully comp. The kids got fucked. The school went south.

Labour in action. Fucking everything up.

Now look at the DCSF figures for Mossbourne.

As to be expected, Lukey - the boy who benefited from Tory education policies via the assisted places scheme - is quoting the "contextual value-added" figure to make his observations about Mossbourne.

Go to the A - C Maths and English and Mossbourne records 47%, 10% down on the national average.

Nice try, no cigar.

PR peeps - don't you just luv em.

4:23 pm, August 29, 2009

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

Most excellent headline results Luke. The real question is could this have been achieved with a standard community high school with the same fresh start and humungous budgets as Academy schools. Also some Qs here and there on GCSE ENTRY POLICY which clearly affects pass rate.

The most used stat is % of students getting 5 A*-C and after that 5 A*-C inc Maths and Eng. Any reason to use a different stat to the one with the most currency.

5:01 pm, August 29, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey ho. It's the Goebbels of Manchester.

Of course, there is a reason to use a different comparator.

Because the usual one makes Mossibollocks look like shite.

5:16 pm, August 29, 2009

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Chris, my understanding from all the press coverage is that 84% is the pass rate for 5 GCSEs at A*-C including Maths and English. Sorry if the phrasing of my initial post did not make that clear. Less fundamental fresh starts were attempted in the past - I remember one at Telegraph Hill when I worked in Lewisham - they tended to fail as you need the new building, ethos, uniform etc and a gap with the school closed, then a complete new pupil intake.

Anon 4.23pm please provide a link to the figures you quote as I can't find them. I suspect they don't exist. I got my figures here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/aug/27/mossbourne-academy-gcse-joy

I don't think you can really blame me as a rightwing Hackney Labourite aged 37 for the loony education policies of hardleft Islington (or indeed Hackney)Labour 30 years ago, when I was 7 years old.

Anon 2.50pm I'm obviously not happy about the reported DCSF cuts. However, you are in cloud cuckoo land if you think a £6.5k voucher would be useful in accessing fee-paying schools. The going rate for day pupils at minor public schools is £15,000 per year - not many Hackney parents have a spare £8,500 per annum per child.

"Hackney Thicko", you are correct in saying no credit goes to the council - other than to have enthusiastically backed academies when other councils haven't, to have continuously funded the Learning Trust at a very high rate, and for the councils' reps on the Schools Organisation Cttee to have voted to shut the failing secondary schools. Credit also needs to go to David Blunkett for stripping Hackney of its LEA powers and creating the Learning Trust because of the impact on Hackney schools of the hung council chaos when Labour was out of power from 1996-2001. And to New Labour nationally for inventing academies. And to Cllrs John McCafferty and Pat Corrigan of the pre-1996 Hackney Labour administration for the original moves to shut failing Hackney Downs School, against Tory and Lib Dem opposition.

8:20 pm, August 29, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You created the monocultural slab estates with 70% on housing benefit, powered by an immigration explosion, which translates to kids turning up in Hackney's primary schools speaking 50 different languages but not one of them English.

And you wonder why your schools collapsed.

The test is whether the white middle-class will subscribe. Whether Balls & sprogs will opt in.

Not a chance.

Better to get a book on the Swedish educational system, learn a few Abba songs, and book yourself on a flight to Stockholm.

The future is Conservative. You're going to be completely irrelevant for the next 10 years at least, otherwise.

9:25 pm, August 29, 2009

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:36 pm, August 29, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, why don't we find out who is the moron.

Anybody but a moron would have known that the 84% figure for Mossibollocks you quoted in your post wasn't just an outlier/Black Swan, but a mistake. It was never a goer. It was just wrong.

Anybody but a moron would know the national rate was something like 55%. A great school like Camden School for Girls is coming in at 65%.

Anybody but a moron would know how to find out the real figure.

Anybody but a moron would have checked the Ofsted report for Mossbollocks and known that it would have had to made an extraordinary if not impossible journey in the two years since the report was written. Why? Because Ofsted, if you decode the civilservicespeak, was distinctly unimpressed.

Anybody but a moron would know that all the primary schools you quote have been catchment-area captured by the white middle classes buying property in the vicinity. And anybody but a moron who knew the schools knows that very few of the kids out of these white laagers transition into Hackney's secondary schools.

True, Stoke Newington community school has had some purchase on that white middle class but it's negligible. Its DCSF results are terrific by Hackney standards but below national ones.

Abbott, Thornberry and Kelly all know this. That's why they've pulled their kids out of the disaster you and your mates have created.

And here's an exclusive. I hear Lord Adonis, architect of the Academy schools programme, is not going to put his kids in any of Islington's offerings.

He's not a moron. I don't think you are either. What I do think is that you obviously regard your constituents as morons to publish material which is consistently misleading. Great PR, no doubt. But only morons believe a word of it.

3:05 pm, August 30, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, why don't we find out who is the moron.

Anybody but a moron would have known that the 84% figure for Mossibollocks you quoted in your post wasn't just an outlier/Black Swan, but a mistake. It was never a goer. It was just wrong.

Anybody but a moron would know the national rate was something like 55%. A great school like Camden School for Girls is coming in at 65%.

Anybody but a moron would know how to find out the real figure.

Anybody but a moron would have checked the Ofsted report for Mossbollocks and known that it would have had to made an extraordinary if not impossible journey in the two years since the report was written. Why? Because Ofsted, if you decode the civilservicespeak, was distinctly unimpressed.

Anybody but a moron would know that all the primary schools you quote have been catchment-area captured by the white middle classes buying property in the vicinity. And anybody but a moron who knew the schools knows that very few of the kids out of these white laagers transition into Hackney's secondary schools.

True, Stoke Newington community school has had some purchase on that white middle class but it's negligible. Its DCSF results are terrific by Hackney standards but below national ones.

Abbott, Thornberry and Kelly all know this. That's why they've pulled their kids out of the disaster you and your mates have created.

And here's an exclusive. I hear Lord Adonis, architect of the Academy schools programme, is not going to put his kids in any of Islington's offerings.

He's not a moron. I don't think you are either. What I do think is that you obviously regard your constituents as morons to publish material which is consistently misleading. Great PR, no doubt. But only morons believe a word of it.

3:07 pm, August 30, 2009

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Shall I spell this out - Hackney is not Islington. They are separate LEAs with councils led by rival political parties. Emily Thornberry does not live in Hackney. Ruth Kelly does not live in Hackney. Lord Adonis does not live in Hackney. None of the academies were open when Diane Abbott's son started secondary school.

Is it that you believe inner city pupils are incapable of getting good GCSE results on a sustained basis? If so, why?

PS you have still failed to link to your presumably imaginery "real figure", prefering to quote a 2-year old OFSTED report.

It's what my constituents (or rather the constituents of the wards in the Mossbourne catchment area) have said to me on the doorstep about the school that enthuses me most about the academy programme. It has transformed their children's life chances - just as it was designed to.

5:52 pm, August 30, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:38 pm, August 30, 2009

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Anon 8.38pm

I'm not sure it is private info - the school in question plus location and picture of the house have been in the national press. The road names where senior politicians live are normally commonly known - try googling "Tony Blair, Richmond Crescent" (his pre-97 address). Home addresses of councillors are all published for anyone to look up.

However, I take your point so have deleted the comment and reposted it here without the street name:

"Anonymous 9.25pm, you really are ignorant to the point of moronic. Balls' kids already go to school in Hackney! He and Yvette Cooper are alleged to have picked their London home in Stoke Newington BECAUSE of the quality of the local schools.

The white middle classes are fighting to get into certain Hackney schools nowdays - look at the house prices in catchment areas around Lauriston, Grazebrook, Betty Laywood, Grassmere, William Patten. Ditto all the academies and Stoke Newington Comp.

The Hackney primary school I am a governor at has the 50 different languages and very high % on free school meals you seem to find a threat yet gets graded excellent by OFSTED and is 2nd in the entire UK for value added SATS.

Please come back when you know anything about Hackney or Hackney schools.

Good night.

9:36 PM, August 29, 2009"

10:38 pm, August 30, 2009

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

And deleted your post too as it repeated the road name. Amended it reads:

"Anonymous said...
"Balls' kids already go to school in Hackney! He and Yvette Cooper are alleged to have picked their London home in [Road name deleted], N16"

Should you be going about disclosing private data like where the family live?

8:38 PM, August 30, 2009

10:41 pm, August 30, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All Schools should have adequate funding then there would not be people trying to get into other Boroughs for their children1

12:09 am, August 31, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't I read on the front page of the Grauniad on Saturday that the Labour party is to slash spending on academies?

Good policy (rather like grant maintained schools), and as such one that's always been implcably opposed by Gordon and will now be starved of funding (these are the 'good' Labour cuts as opposed to the 'nasty' Tory ones, you understand..)

7:20 pm, August 31, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

link attached.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/aug/29/labour-spending-cuts-academy-programme

7:21 pm, August 31, 2009

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

Thanks Luke

If the school has got an 84% of all pupils 5 A*-C inc Maths and English that really is tremendous. Even with inclusion of various BTec schemes as equivalents. And even with considerable hard and soft selection. Manchester Academy (in Moss Side) has also done tremendously well. Built on the ashes of Ducie HS which was a troubled site.

Question on Academies remains. The local HS where my kids go wasn't a PFI scheme and wasn't an Academy but it has seen great leaps forward in absolute and value-added results. Not 84% at 5 etc though. But something like trebling of this % vs 10 years ago. And something like £20m invested in new buildings - outwith the PFI and Academy schemes.

Though there was no talk about "slashing" of academy budgets. As Anon 7:20/21 states. Talk was of being super careful and a hint at slightly slowing rate of going on site. When you're replacing infrastructure with a 25 or 50 or even 100+ year life cycle then months or even a year or two change in the programme is arguably tolerable on the timeline.

12:22 am, September 01, 2009

 
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7:13 am, September 01, 2009

 
Anonymous SJM said...

"Anybody but a moron would have checked the Ofsted report for Mossbollocks and known that it would have had to made an extraordinary if not impossible journey in the two years since the report was written. Why? Because Ofsted, if you decode the civilservicespeak, was distinctly unimpressed."

The latest OFSTED report for Mossbourne is here:

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/oxedu_reports/download/(id)/70689/(as)/134693_296195.pdf

They rated the school as 'outstanding' in every category.

10:27 am, September 01, 2009

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

I posted this on a similarly-themed thread recently but didn't get a response.

Can you remind us why it is necessary to remove schools from democratic oversight and place them in the hands of millionaire used car salesmen in order for them to succeed?

The investment is great, the new buildings where needed and when built well are great, but it's pretty much all coming from the government rather than the sponsors. Why does all that excellent new investment need to be tied to privatisation?

PS Please don't reply with any guff about academies "out-performing" non-academies. You know perfectly well that there is no decent evidence for that, comparing like with like and factoring in changes in intake etc.

11:00 am, September 01, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@SJM

Just another six or seven months before you and Luke become irrelevant for a decade or so.

Repeat. Read the Ofsted report.

As for the 84% for Mossibollocks, it is another lie. Read the report.

Prudence. Boom and bust. Dodgy dossiers. Every MP like the mighty midget scamming.

What a shower the Labour Party is?

12:31 am, September 03, 2009

 
Anonymous Lady Astor's son-in-law said...

TRACTOR PRODUCTION REACHES ALL-TIME HIGH!!!

12:47 am, September 03, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One shiny new academy that is creaming off all the brightest kids in the area, doth not make an excellent LEA. Can we straighten out this myth that Diane Abbott ever sent her son to a school in Hackney - He went to Ambler Primary School in Islington before going on to City of London Boys School. She's NEVER supported education in Hackney.Islington's schools were privatised in 1999 by the Labour Government, when it was still a LABOUR COUNCIl, becuse education was the worst in the country. The contract was given to a private company - CEA, who have continued to run the greatly improved schools ever since. If its true that the arch Blairite and architect of Academies, Adonis, is not intening to send his kids to one of the new Academies or schools in Islington where he lives, then what a fucking hypocritical NuLabour lickspittle, and example of the calibre of self serving place people running the country under this terrible government.

2:26 pm, September 05, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2.26pm.

Thank you for that contribution. I didn't that stuff about Ambler but it fits.

Abbott had a disease affecting the colour of her skin long before Michael Jackson suffered a similar ailment.

One of the problems with Islington's secondary schools is that they have been unable to control applications from Hackney's primaries.

Islington's primaries perform well. The middle-class have bought in.

But Islington's secondaries have been destroyed by its statutory shackles for open entry.

Just stand outside Angel centre at 4pm every day, among a full compliment of PCSOs and see that pile of crap who've buggered up Elizabeth Garret Anderson and Islington Green piling on the bus back to Hackney.

8:28 pm, September 05, 2009

 

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