Camden Council pledges �2million to create country’s best schools

Camden Council will invest �2million to help to realise an ambitious strategy to have the country’s best schools within a decade.

An education commission, led by the former head of Ofsted Sir Mike Tomlinson, warned that some pupils are being let down by the current education system.

The report sketches out a new vision for Camden’s schools in which links are forged between schools, universities, businesses and voluntary organisations, giving every pupil the environment to excel.

The commission also urged headteachers to create more vocational opportunities for pupils, and “greater exposure to the workplace” to help ensure that every young person is in education, employment or training.

Sir Mike Tomlinson CBE said: “Young people are facing some of the toughest challenges for a generation.

“We have come across many who share our ambitions in Camden but not all of the borough’s young people are served well enough by the current system.

“There is an urgent need for it to move with the times and ensure that they are all given the best chance.”

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Specific recommendations include the establishment of a bursary scheme to help the poorest students with tuition fees, establishing links with schools and universities, and the creation of a Camden Partnership for Educational Excellence.

The commission was set up in May to help Camden respond to changes in government policy which have weakened the link between local authorities and schools – such as the introduction of free schools and academies which are state funded and free from council control.

It remains unclear how many of the recommendations will be taken up by the council however.

Cllr Nasim Ali, leader of Camden Council, said: “This report comes at a critical time for young people, with high youth unemployment, higher university tuition fees and cuts to benefits for poorer students.

“We set up the education commission because we are determined to continue to meet the education, training and employment needs of our children and young people.”