SCHOOLS in Southwark's education action zone have used the London borough's unrivalled cultural attractions to fire their pupils' enthusiasm for reading and writing.
Artists-in-residence, storytelling and music projects have proliferated as the zone worked with the Globe theatre, English National Opera, Tate Modern, Southwark Playhouse and British Film Institute. The Royal National Theatre also has placed actors and dancers in primary schools and worked with Year 5 and 6 pupils to put on clasics such as Romeo and Juliet.
The OFSTED report described this as "exceptional and, at times, inspirational" for pupils. Its schools' KS2 English results rose by 20 percentage points between 1998 and 2000. In maths, the gain was 17 points. In both subjects, improvements were above those recorded nationally and within the borough.
Since the zone was set up two years ago, links have grown between schools which shared the usual inner-city problems of deprivation and disaffection.