Figures released by the Government last week show Tower Hamlets is the second most improved local authority for GCSE results in the country.
The national ranking, published by the Department for Education, includes all local authorities across England and places Tower Hamlets as the second most improved in 2011, just behind Darlington in the north-east.
It highlights the fact that 61.4 per cent of students in the borough achieved at least five A* to C grades including English and maths, the highest ever figure for Tower Hamlets and higher than the national average of 58.9 per cent.
Isabel Cattermol, Corporate Director for Children, Schools and Families in Tower Hamlets borough said: “We have got a very strong focus on teaching and learning and a great relationship with teachers, parents, council and all our partners. What we have done is relentless in trying to get a education achievement. Extra classes after school, extra classes in the holiday period, sometimes it was not too popular with the pupils but they have got the results.”
Mayor Lutfur Rahman congratulated pupils and teaching professionals who for their contribution to the succes. Rahman said: “We’ve known for months that our pupils exceeded the national GCSE average but to hear that the borough is the second most improved in the whole of the UK is the icing on the cake.
“With success like this and programmes such as Building Schools for the Future providing our pupils with first-class learning facilities, I hope we’ll continue to lead the way in delivering improved educational attainment.
“Every headteacher, member of teaching staff, pupil, parent and school governor in Tower Hamlets should be very pleased with the news.”
In Tower Hamlets the main spoken languages are Bengali, Somali, Panjabi, Gujarati, Arabic, Turkish, Tamil, Yoruba and French while almost 75 per cent of local school children speak English as a second language –the highest percentage of any borough in the UK. More than 28,000 pupils speak EU languages other than French, Portuguese and Spanish, while more than 19,000 speak Arabic. Also, 53 per cent of children coming from families living on unemployment benefits.
Recent research compiled by CentreForum, which looked at the difference between the expected and actual GCSE performance of 151 local authorities across England in 2009/10, ranked Tower Hamlets as ninth nationally.