London Academy of Excellence

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by London Academy of Excellence's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from London Academy of Excellence is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Scott Baker, head teacher
Aspiring medics, vets and dentists receive unparalleled
London Academy of Excellence (LAE), Stratford, is a state
sixth form free school located in the London Borough of
Newham. It was established in 2012 to provide a high-
quality A-level education for students in east London aspiring to
win places at the UK’s best universities. Head master Scott Baker
discusses the school’s excellent provision – which has seen one
in ten of the upper sixth receive invitations to Oxbridge – and
frames the success of the school against a wider backdrop of
UK social mobility.
LAE has rapidly gained a well-deserved local and national reputation for academic
excellence, consistently achieving some of the best A-level results of any school or
sixth form college in the country. In 2017, 60 per cent of all grades achieved were
A* to A, and 88 per cent were A* to B. LAE has been placed in the top 1 per cent
of schools and colleges for “value-added” for the past three years.
Since the first cohort of students sat their A-level examinations in 2014, LAE has
helped more than 450 students secure places on degree courses at Russell Group
universities, 30 to win places at Oxford and Cambridge, and over 50 to go on to
study medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine courses.
LAE offers students a truly world-class educational experience, rivalling that offered
by the UK’s top independent schools.The ongoing support of six of these schools
– Brighton College, Caterham, Eton College, Forest, Highgate and UCS – and
HSBC has been instrumental in helping design and deliver what we refer to as the
“LAEexperience”. 
»Head teacher: Scott Baker
»Founded in 2012
»Based in Stratford, Newham
»Type of school: State sixth
form free school
»No. of students: 460
»No. of staff: 50
»Ofsted: “Outstanding”,
November 2017
»22 students (one in ten) of the
upper sixth received offers to
study at Oxbridge in 2018
London Academy
Highlighting best practice
The LAE experience
The “LAE experience” has four key
strands. Firstly, the rigorous academic
A-level curriculum that we offer is
comprised almost exclusively of those
subjects most favoured by leading
universities – so-called “facilitating
subjects”. All students in year 12
embark upon four A levels, with
many also opting to pursue additional
electives such as the Extended Project
Qualification (EPQ). This not only
provides stretch and challenge but
enables all students to fully explore
their interests and maximise their
options moving forwards.
Secondly, academic achievement at LAE
is driven by outstanding teaching from
highly qualified subject specialists.Our
exceptional teaching staff, many of
whom hold postgraduate qualifications,
are uniquely placed not only to support
students through to examination
success but also to develop their
scholarship and passion for their
chosen disciplines well beyond the
confines of the specifications.
Thirdly, in addition to promoting
excellent outcomes, LAE is firmly
committed to developing the whole
student and offers the kind of
broad co-curricular and personal
development opportunities that all
evidence suggests is integral to the
success of independent schools. A
wide range of enriching experiences
including sports, lectures, clubs,
volunteering and fundraising provide
a wealth of opportunities for students
to develop their character and
leadership, refine their goals, and,
ultimately, make very compelling
Finally, preparing students effectively
to make well-informed choices and
equipping them with the knowledge
and skills necessary to compete
at the highest level is central to
everything that we do. LAE offers an
unparalleled programme of UCAS
and careers guidance. In addition
to university visits, subject lectures,
personal statement and interview
workshops, all students participate
in LAE’s “Pathways Programme”,
which provides students with valuable
insights and work experience in
a wide range of fields including
business, law, medicine, healthcare
and education.
Successes and difficulties
LAE’s success has been influential
in helping to transform the wider
educational landscape of Newham and
east London. Five years on from its
establishment as the first free school
state sixth form college, LAE remains
firmly in the vanguard of raising
educational standards in the capital
and has established a model that other
schools have sought to emulate.
Despite the academy’s unprecedented
success and growing interest in
replicating the LAE model in other
parts of the country, the feasibility
and financial sustainability of this kind
of specialist sixth form provision has
been called into doubt by deep and
sustained cuts to post-16funding.
Fostering intellectual
curiosity, independent
thinking and scholarship
LAE has
helped to
transform the
landscape of
Newham and
east London
As a recent report by the SFCA
highlights, sixth form funding has been
cut three times since 2011 and has not
been adjusted to account for inflation
or cost increases. This 12 per cent real-
terms cut means that 16-19 funding is
now 21 per cent lower than funding
for 11- to 16-year-olds nationally.
As a result, many sixth form colleges
have been forced to reduce costs by
increasing class sizes, narrowing their
curriculum offer and reducing the
range of enrichment and personal
development opportunities on offer.
For LAE and other sixth form providers
to maintain and expand provisions to
benefit more young people (and the
UK as a whole), it is imperative that the
government urgently seeks to address
the current funding shortfall.
Social mobility
From the outset, LAE was intended as
a vehicle to promote social mobility
in the capital. LAE is situated on
the border of Newham and Tower
Hamlets, two of the most deprived
local authorities in the UK. More
than two thirds of LAE’s students
are from families who haven’t sent
a child to university before, 25 per
cent are eligible for free school meals
and 30 per cent qualify for a means-
Against the backdrop of tense
conversations and controversies
surrounding social mobility in the UK,
culminating last December in the mass
resignation of the board of the Social
Mobility Commission, LAE emerges
as a rare example of a genuine social
mobility success story.
Despite significant improvements and
investment over the past ten years
in raising standards and widening
participation, the achievement
gap remains stubbornly wide. In
2017 young people from the most
disadvantaged backgrounds were
still almost six times less likely to
enter universities with the highest
entrance requirements than their more
advantaged peers.
LAE has shown, however, that while
formidable barriers to social mobility
remain in the UK, relative economic
disadvantage need not be a barrier to
success. With hard work, the aspiration
to succeed, excellent teaching and
the right support and guidance, there
really are no limits on what young
people can achieve, irrespective of
their gender, ethnicity or background.
LAE is a rare
example of a
genuine social
success story
Sports clubs and
societies prepare
students well for

This article was sponsored by London Academy of Excellence. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister