More on the 446 state schools where poorer children perform better than average (and where they’re located)

by Stephen Tall on May 14, 2012

At the weekend I blogged the graph first published in the TES magazine highlighting research from the charity I work for, the Education Endowment Foundation, showing The 446 state schools where poorer children perform better than average.

Well, we now know a little more thanks to the work of the Financial Times’s education editor Chris Cook who’s delved deeper into what he describes as this “real core of excellent schools who are market-beaters” in two posts today:

1) How to spot successful schools

Here Chris shows how those 446 schools really are helping to make a real difference to their most disadvantaged pupils’ lives, significantly reducing (by up to a half) the impact of poverty on their attainment: “These schools do better on efficiency (better results) and equity (more evenly spread).”

2) Capital ideas on school reform

Here Chris looks at where those 446 schools are located, and finds that one region stands out: “London’s school system, once a renowned catastrophe, is now excellent”. This will come as no surprise to those who’ve read Gill Wyness’s recent CentreForum report showing the success of London’s schools — though it will apparently surprise the Telegraph’s Matthew Norman who in an otherwise entertaining column indulged the fatuous stereotype that London state schools are just training grounds for crack-dealers.

Chris lists the different regions of England and how many of the 446 schools can be found in each. Over 40% of London’s 383 comprehensive secondary schools qualify as schools where disadvantaged children out-perform the national average — that’s a stark and worrying contrast to the North-East (just 11 schools out of 152, c.7%) and Yorkshire & the Humber (17 out of 282, c.6%), the two regions where fewer than one-in-10 schools are successfully narrowing the attainment gaps between rich and poor.

PS: and a bit of good news today

for the Education Endowment Foundation… Nick Clegg this morning announced the government is allocating up to £10 million to the EEF to pilot projects that will help disadvantaged pupil premium pupils during the transition from primary to secondary school. More info here.