Chalk Talk: A state-school success story - but there's still a long way to go
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Wednesday 28 November 2012
To the top of London's Millbank Tower for the 15th anniversary of the education charity the Sutton Trust, set up by the millionaire philanthropist Sir Peter Lampl to get more disadvantaged pupils into top-performing schools and universities.
Sir Peter described his first meeting with ministers to discuss his plans when David Blunkett was Education Secretary. "I thought it might be just a cosy chat with me and the minister, but I was met by a football team [of civil servants]," he said.
"You won't be any more after he [Michael Gove] has done his work," quipped Blunkett, who was a guest at the lunch. Mr Gove is cutting 1000 civil service jobs as part of the Government's austerity measures.
Meanwhile, another guest at the luncheon was former National Union of Students president Wes Streeting, who now works with the gay rights group Stonewall. Streeting was a beneficiary of the Sutton Trust's university summer schools – designed to give disadvantaged young people a glimpse of Oxford and Cambridge in an attempt to persuade them to try their luck with applying to the two world-famous universities.
Streeting, who was born and brought up on a Tower Hamlets council estate and then went to a secondary school in Westminster that was declared failing while he was being taught there, was at pains to point out he had not been at Millbank the last time students visited it – during the student riots over tuition fees two years ago, His presence, though, was just one indication of how successful the summer school scheme was – the number of state school pupils going to Oxbridge has gone up by 10 percentage points since the Trust was launched.
There is still a lot to be done, though, Lampl admitted. He likened the battle to improve social mobility in the UK to the "war on cancer". "It can never be won but you can make progress," he said.
Of course, his ongoing campaign is to persuade the Government to back "open access" schools where students are admitted on ability rather than ability to pay – with cash aid to those parents who cannot afford the fees. Let's see how that's going in another 15 years.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Ottawa shootings: Terror strikes Canadian capital as attacks leave one soldier and one suspect dead
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Main Teacher Pay Scale : Randstad Education Leeds: Teacher of Psychology An en...
£19200 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...
Main Teacher Pay Scale : Randstad Education Leeds: Physics Teacher January 201...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: General Cover Teachers required ...