Star schools go underground

19th January 2007 at 00:00
pimlico station has been replaced with comedy actress Catherine Tate, and Highbury and Islington has morphed into an Essex comprehensive. The bizarre logic of a new London Underground map would have the most seasoned commuters scratching their heads.

Anyone wondering why Keira Knightley has taken over Gunnersby station need only speak to the Department for Education and Skills.

The alternative map, called Your Tube, was drawn up as a celebration of state schools in London, their teachers and those successful people educated by them. To qualify for a place on the network, schools needed an above national average of pupils achieving five grades A to C and have a contextual value added score of more than 1,000.

But celebrities were not judged on academic records. For some - such as David Beckham who replaces Leytonstone - it seems that being famous and a former Londoner was enough.

Sir Michael Caine, who now occupies Rotherhithe, dropped out of school, but his impressive film career has put him on the map. More intellectual heavyweights such as the award-winning writer Zadie Smith have also been included.

The layout has bemused some headteachers and led a few to point out glaring errors.

Clive Moore, head of Chingford foundation school in Waltham Forest, was shocked to find his school moved to Highbury and Islington. "I'm glad we are on a list of good schools," he said, "but I'm not sure what to say about the map. We are in an odd position."

Barnaby Shaw, head of the DfES London Challenge programme, said: "We couldn't think of a more iconic way of signalling that there are some fantastic and improving schools across the capital."

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