Tower Hamlets schools are an example to the world, says IOE Director

19 December 2013

A new report, 'Transforming Education for All: the Tower Hamlets Story', shows that schools in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets are among the best urban schools in the world.

The report is co-authored by IOE Director Professor Chris Husbands, Dr Chris Brown, a John Adams Research Fellow at the IOE and Professor David Woods CBE, former head of the Department for Education's Advisory Service and later Chief Adviser for London Schools and the London Challenge.
In 1997 schools in Tower Hamlets were rated the worst in the country and the following year Ofsted declared the council's education department, the best-funded in the country, to be failing.
The report says other local authorities in areas of deprivation around the world could learn the lessons of Tower Hamlets, particularly as the improvement of schools was borough-wide, rather than simply focusing on a few schools.
The authors compiled their report after poring through hundreds of documents, running an in-depth questionnaire with headteachers and interviewing key personnel past and present.
They attribute the dramatic improvement in Tower Hamlets schools to seven key factors: ambitious leadership at all levels; very effective school improvement; high quality teaching and learning; high levels of funding; external integrated services; community development and partnerships; and a resilient approach to external government policies and pressure.
 They said in a statement as the report was published: "The Tower Hamlets story demonstrates that deprivation is not destiny and is an inspiring example to other schools, local authorities and the education system as a whole."
Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman welcomed the report, saying: "The transformation of the borough's schools is a wonderful success story.
"This success has been hard won. It is the result of tremendous work by students, parents, headteachers, school staff, council officers and politicians over the past 15 years."