Capital's schools tsar seeks extra resources

2nd July 2004 at 01:00
London's schools tsar has called on the Government to put more resources into its project to revive secondary education in the capital and for more collaboration between schools.

Tim Brighouse's comments came as Stephen Twigg, London schools minister, spoke in Parliament about the achievements of the London Challenge scheme during its first year.

Professor Brighouse, who is now known as London schools chief adviser rather than commissioner following his decision to halve the time he spends in the role, praised the scheme for contributing towards raising the aspirations of schools and teachers in the capital. He said: "I will always regret that we have not got as much resource as we want - although I am always greedy about that - and that we have not quite got the degree of interdependence and collegiality that is crucial in overcoming the problems of schools in the most difficult positions."

Mr Twigg told the House of Commons on Tuesday that targets for numbers of academies and specialist, extended and training schools set by the London Challenge at its May 2003 launch had all been exceeded.

London education was good and improving, contrary to some perceptions, he said, with more teachers and better attendance and GCSE results.

Around pound;20million, exclusive of school building costs, has been spent on schemes set up through the London Challenge in its first year. They include a programme for gifted and talented pupils, and loans to help teachers to buy homes.

Jackie Valin is headteacher of Southfields community college, Wandsworth, one of around 40 London schools with less than 25 per cent of pupils achieving five A*-C grade GCSEs that are receiving extra help through the London Challenge.

She said the scheme, which has given her school an extra pound;20,000 to provide booster classes on Saturday mornings and during school holidays, was "very positive and very beneficial".

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