Walworth Academy opened in 2007, the country’s eighth best specialist school for adding value to pupils’ achievement at GCSE. The latest BSF-funded school to be completed is St Michael’s Catholic College in Bermondsey, built on the existing site by Balfour Beatty, and designed by architect BDP, at an investment of around £18 million. Learning spaces here are used flexibly. “The library is also a teaching area and the social spaces are also used for business mentoring – it works perfectly,” says headteacher Grainne Grabowski. “The much-improved student dining environment means they actually sit and talk, so it matches the real world. There is now harmony and an enriched culture. Pupil behaviour is much more self-regulated.” But improvements aren’t all down to investment. Kingsdale Foundation School benefited from pre-BSF council funding. Identified for six years by the Department for Schools and Families (now the Department for Education) as one of the country’s most improved schools, it was in the top 10 at key stage 3 nationally for two successive years. The borough is also involved in establishing some new schools, including a secondary
school on the Aylesbury Estate, due to open in 2014, and Harris Boys’ Academy, the first allboys’ academy in England. Southwark is home to satellites of several well-respected higher education institutions, including the London School of Economics and King’s College. The University of the Arts London (UAL) has two colleges based in the borough, Camberwell College of Arts and the London College of Communication. The council has approved the conversion of four listed buildings on Peckham Road into affordable student accommodation for UAL. Natalie Brett, dean of Camberwell, said: “The refurbishment of these beautiful landmark buildings will provide a campusstyle education for our students and significantly improve the surrounding area.” The success of an area depends on a wide range of factors – but one constant is education. Sam Fowler, project director of Southwark Schools for the Future, says: “When people make the decision about where they want to live, the quality of the education provision is a key consideration. Our investment and strides in attainment are making Southwark an attractive place
to live and work. The improvements that we’re making to schools locally, particularly around regeneration areas, provide new places to support that regeneration. It’s a bright future for education in Southwark and for regeneration alongside it.” ❚
Funding per pupil aged 3 to 19 2005/6
*Data courtesy of Department for Education
8 winter 2011/12 47
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