Hackney schools to help improve education in Suffolk

Schools in Hackney and Suffolk are joining forces to help share the expertise that have helped to turn around education in Hackney.

The agreement follows a 10-month inquiry into Suffolk’s under-performing schools. By working together it is hoped that Hackney’s ambitious and focused approach to education will help to boost results in Suffolk.

Cllr Rita Krishna, Cabinet Member for Education and Children's Services, Hackney Council
We are happy to develop a more formal relationship with Suffolk County Council to help raise educational standards in the county. Hackney has provided support to colleagues in Suffolk over the last two years, since we were first approached by Halifax Primary School in Ipswich. I cannot overemphasise the hard work, dedication, commitment and strong moral fibre of teachers, governors, and the entirety of the associated workforce to say nothing of the children themselves, that will be needed. Our success was brought about by a huge collective effort in which the whole community joined, willing Hackneys children to succeed. We are pleased that Suffolk County Council, in agreeing to formalise our partnership, recognises and shares the strength of our ambition for all children.
Cllr Rita Krishna, Cabinet Member for Education and Children's Services, Hackney Council

A report by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) points to these improvements and argues that gains can be achieved if a similarly ambitious and focused approach is taken in Suffolk.

In Hackney, the number of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs (grades A*-C including maths and English) has almost doubled to 60% - just above the national average – since 2005. It is considered one of the most improved local authorities in England, and 93% of secondary pupils now attend a school rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

During the same period, the percentage of Hackney children achieving Key Stage 2 (level 4 or above) in English rose from 69% to 86% - matching the national average for the first time in seven years. In the same period, the percentage of children achieving the equivalent level in maths rose from 64% to 86%, beating the national average. 82% of Primary pupils attend an outstanding or good school.

The new Hackney-Suffolk partnership will see a cultural, professional and educational exchange programme set up to benefit both areas - designed to enrich pupils’ learning, broaden teachers’ professional expertise and strengthen leadership at all levels. A new exchange programme for teachers tipped to one day become heads will also be set up.

Councillor Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member of education, skills and young people, said: "The proposed partnership with Hackney is something we're very positive about and have already started to implement. This isn’t about replicating exactly what Hackney has done because that wouldn’t necessarily work in Suffolk. We know that much can be achieved from closer working with them and that fresh ideas will come from partnerships like this.”