School bosses: We'll stop the academic rot

BOSSES at Camden s planned academy school believe they have what it takes to halt the decline in standards in maths and science among the borough's pupils

Ben McPartland

BOSSES at Camden's planned academy school believe they have what it takes to halt the decline in standards in maths and science among the borough's pupils.

Last Thursday, the release of annual test results for 14-year-olds revealed the borough's pupils were falling behind the national average in these key subjects.

But Michael Worton, vice-provost of University College London, which will open a specialist science and mathematics academy in Swiss Cottage in 2011, said he could help to stop the rot.

"This is precisely why we want to sponsor an academy - so we can deal with these issues," he said.

"This is also why we feel the academy model is useful, because we will be able to be innovative with the curriculum and pass that on to other schools in Camden. We will be taking new approaches to teaching."

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The results published last week showed 74 per cent of 14-year-olds in Camden achieved the expected levels in maths. This was two per cent down on last year's tally and the same margin below the current national average.

In science, 69 per cent of pupils reached the required level. This was also two per cent down on the previous year and four per cent below the national average.

It was a different story in English, where 77 per cent of pupils achieved the expected levels - three per cent above the national average and two per cent above last year's score.

There was also success for individual secondary schools, particularly Hampstead School on Westbere Road and La Sainte Union Convent School on Highgate Road. Both were ranked in the top five per cent of schools in the country for their contextual value added score. This measures pupils' progress between the ages of 11 and 14 and takes into account factors such as deprivation and special needs.

Hampstead School's headteacher, Jacques Szemalikowski, said: "We are delighted with our outstanding results at Key Stage 3. It reflects the commitment and dedication of our staff and the hard work of our students, now well into their Year 10 GCSE year.

"Moreover it reinforces my belief that we can have it all - terrific results backed by creativity and innovation, richness and diversity and social development."

St Aloysius' College in Highgate was also celebrating after being ranked as one the most improved schools in the country.

Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead Garden Suburb was also one of the top schools in the nationwide list.