As a governor of a secondary academy in Haringey, Gerard Kelly should be better informed of the borough's educational record.
Haringey's primary schools are, in fact, improving and at a faster rate than the country as a whole. Last year, 71 per cent of pupils achieved level 4 or above in English and maths - a 5 per cent increase from 2008, which far outstrips the 1 per cent national increase during the same period. At GCSE level, grades improved for the eighth year running in 2011. The proportion of pupils attaining five or more A*-Cs including maths and English is now closer than ever to the national average.
It is disingenuous of Mr Kelly to suggest that parents choose not to send their children to schools in the borough because of poor performance. We know that the majority of children who attend out-of-borough schools - which is fewer than in boroughs such as Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster and Wandsworth - do so because their parents want them to attend faith or single-sex schools. Haringey is actually the fifth-highest borough in London in terms of the percentage of primary-age pupils who reside in neighbouring boroughs but attend our schools.
While we face challenges in terms of poverty, mobility and languages, like all inner-city boroughs, we do not use these as an excuse or rely on them to explain underperformance. Our headteachers, staff, governing bodies and Haringey Council are all fully committed to raising standards. We are determined to see our schools continue to improve and continue to create more opportunities for all children in the borough. Mr Kelly's public support of these aspirations would be welcomed.
Cllr Lorna Reith, Cabinet member for children, Haringey Council.