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Thousands of families miss out on secondary school places

Moving from primary to Secondary School is a big decision which parents make for their children. It’s important that this process is made simple with quality information advice and guidance for families. Most families want the high achieving school for their child, but is this the right school for them?

State schools have mixed intake of students and it’s important that the schools stretch the high performing students, provides the right support and challenge for pupils with learning needs as well as supporting the growth of talented students should that be in academia, sports or the arts. Parents also want their children to be safe and attend a school that will provide the right environment for their social development as well as academic progress and attainment.

At London Enterprise Academy, we do this.

Ofsted commented that ‘students make sustained progress’ and senior leaders are meticulous in tracking progress’. They have also commented that ‘children are safe’ and ‘bullying is rare’.

1st of March was national offer day for secondary school places. Most families get there first, second or third place places.  Thousands of students in London did not get their first, second or third choice school. Nationally 83.5 per cent of pupils were granted their first choice. However, in London the figure was just 66 per cent. Almost 4000 extra pupils applied for secondary places compared to2017.  Some students did not get any school place and therefore it’s important that they do a bit more research and visit schools that may have places.

Sometimes local authorities have not been fully honest with parents and have directed them to schools that they have traditionally had control over. This may not be the nearest school and may not be the best school for the child either.

Some primary school I have found have also expressed their own political views and misled parents- they now cannot give places to these families as it is outside their remit. Families of year 5 pupils need to challenge the transition team in primary schools to ensure that they are giving good impartial advice to families.

Parents therefore need to ring up schools and email schools about possible place. Often in London schools, places become available as there tends to be higher mobility rate (families move in and out of an area either by choice or sometimes through housing allocations).

In a borough like Tower Hamlets, Academies and Free schools have not been popular with politicians and therefore the local authority. These institutions including the one I set up and lead are here to stay and are providing the desperately needed extra school places in the borough as well as high quality education along with their unique educational offers.

We have a small school with small class sizes but big goals. Our teachers are well qualified and well trained. We have an extended day which allows us to offer exciting enrichment programmes as well as targeted interventions.

London Enterprise Academy officially opened in Whitechapel in September 2014 and is now on the verge of seeing through our first GCSE cohort. Our school offers state of the art facilities; a broad curriculum; highly experienced teachers; a high number of diverse enrichment programmes and extracurricular activities.

In a relatively short time we have been able to achieve the following:-

We came 3rd out of 255 London schools in the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge 2017
All of our year 9 students passed the Step Up to English exams
Over a quarter of our year 10 students have achieved the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award
Many students have achieved Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in the UK Maths Challenge as well as Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in the UK Junior Maths Challenge
A number of students have qualified and joined MENSA – the high IQ society
Our students have visited several universities including Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Queen Mary’s and UEL
We have had residential trips to Barcelona, Brussels and Norfolk as well as regular day trips and visits
We have grown from 94 students in 2014 to 415 in 2018 and from 16 staff to 70
We have 28 classrooms, a fitness suite and sports centre.
We raise funds for numerous charities every year
All our students have excellent careers advice and take part in work experience
Our students compete in inter school sports fixtures
Our students have won ward for Jack Petchey Speak Out and taken part in Debate Mate
Our projected progress looks to be much higher than the local and national average.
Our projected GCSE results for 2019 are forecasted to be much higher than the local and national average
In 2017, Ofsted commented that “students make sustained progress” and “senior leaders are meticulous in tracking progress”. They also commented that ‘children are safe’ and ‘bullying is rare’.

This is a testament to the hard work of our students, teachers, parents and governors.

If there are parents in and around Tower Hamlets who did not secure a preferred school place, I would welcome them to visit our school so that they can see first-hand what we offer. We have limited spaces available in year 7 and 8. For further information, visit our website Www.londonenterpriseacademy.org  The last few available places will be offered on a first come first served basis.

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