I read with real delight about the amazing achievements of the first students graduating from this newly formed Sixth Form College. Large numbers have qualified for Russell Group universities including Oxbridge. These are young people from Newham, one of our most deprived boroughs, where this kind of success was hitherto unheard.
It has undoubtedly been achieved by assiduous students inspired by excellent teaching. The College unashamedly focuses on traditional academic subjects. Demand for places is massively oversubscribed.
LAE is the ultimate, for now, realisation of two visionary heads. Richard Cairns of Brighton College and Joan Deslandes of Kingsford Community School. It all began with a fortunate few Kingsford sudents moving to post 16 places at Brighton. I recall hearing them speak so eloquently of their experience. Now thanks to the Free School initiative, Richard and Joan were able to expand the opportunity to hundreds of young people by opening a sixth form that combined the best of Kingsford and Brighton right on their Newham doorstep.
The key to the whole thing was collaboration between a state and an independent school. Now LAE collaborates with a group of some 10 independent schools. Each contributes to their strength. The results are there for all to see.
Forest School in East London where I am a governor has contributed to the teaching of English and UCAS preparation. Forest is in no doubt that that they have benefitted equally from the partnership.
It is clearly a win win formula. Let us see more such collaborations between state and independent schools committed to equality of opportunity and mutual benefit.
Congratulations once again to the first LAE Year 13 cohort and to their teachers and indeed to Richard and Joan for their sustained commitment.