Welcome back to the spring term 2020 and a belated happy new year to you all; I hope you all feel rested and had an enjoyable festive period.

As we enter the second decade of the twentieth century, many may feel the impulse towards catastrophe in the world today seems to be stronger than the power of education, but perhaps the strongest quality in Camden’s educational system is the collective belief in the transformative power of education, to give everyone an opportunity, to challenge inequality, to ensure, in the words of our Camden 2025 vision, ‘where everyone has a chance to succeed and where nobody gets left behind.

On Monday 20th January 2020, there is a member’s debate on Camden education at Full Council. In the debate, we will hear the experiences of learners and students, leaders, teachers and governors, who will give their views on the structure and quality of education in Camden Furthermore, the debate will explore how successful our schools are in preparing our children and young people for the changing world of employment, how effective we are in equipping all our citizens to enjoy the opportunities that the borough provides, the importance of the Camden family of schools, and the significance of Camden educational values. A range of invited speakers, which include Christine Gilbert and some of our head teachers, will give their views on the challenges we face and how they believe we can overcome them.

It is worth reminding ourselves that children attending Camden’s schools achieve well overall, all Camden schools are either good or outstanding. Camden primary schools are placed 5th in London and 7th nationally for Key Stage Two attainment. We recognise that our Key Stage Four and Progress 8 scores still need to improve, although our Progress 8 scores did improve this year and are still ranked 39th out of 152 local authorities (26th percentile). This is within the Camden context of 43% of children living in poverty with 30.7% of all pupils eligible for free school meals. Overall, disadvantaged pupils in Camden do better than disadvantaged pupils nationally, and the performance of disadvantaged pupils in the primary years is much higher than national comparators, where the attainment gaps have narrowed. At the end of Key Stage Four, disadvantaged pupils made up 56% of the 2019 Key Stage Four cohort, compared to 27% nationally; in 2017, 59% of Camden, disadvantaged pupils achieved a standard pass in English and maths, which remains well above national and London averages.

If you have the evening free on the Monday 20th January 2020, it would be tremendous to see some of our head teachers and governors in attendance at the debate, to hear what is said about education in Camden and provide moral support, as we unite in what is often called the Camden family of schools, and an approach that is inclusive, non-selective and seeks to provide a rich academic curriculum, as well as fostering the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of all children.

Please note that the Camden Leaning AGM will be taking place on Tuesday 11th February 2020, 16.00pm-18.00pm, Regent High School, formal invitation to follow.

One final date for your diary is the Camden Learning Headteachers Conference which will be taking place in Brighton on 26/27 March 2020. Further details and booking information to follow next week.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning

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