Danny Thorpe: Delivering outstanding education for all children

Danny Thorpe is leader of Greenwich council

This week I have visited some of our borough’s great schools, including the ones that I attended myself as a child, and those I have taught in.

I am determined to make sure we do all we can to deliver an outstanding education for all children in Royal Greenwich so they all have the opportunity to develop and achieve their potential.

A strong focus on education is one of the key priorities I identified when I took up the helm at the council in May.

My education and the support I received from teachers had a transformational impact on my life and enabled me to break out of the poverty I grew up in.

I went to Haimo Primary School in Eltham and Thomas Tallis School in Kidbrooke, which both gave me the skills and qualifications to enable me to achieve my goals, as well as the support I needed to develop as a person.

The schools across the borough have a great track record of continuing to improve children’s achievements, and I want to work with school leaders to build upon this.

The most recent Key Stage 2 results for primary schools revealed 70 per cent of children achieved the national benchmark for reading, writing and maths – which placed the borough joint seventh best in the country.

Ofsted has also recognised the success of our primaries and has judged 98 per cent as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, compared to 91 per cent nationally.

Our secondary schools have seen continual increases in top grade A-levels and the number of students taking up places at prestigious universities.

Last year teachers from one of the schools I visited yesterday, Plumstead Manor, went on strike to demonstrate against cuts to education funding.

This is something affecting pupils up and down the country – last week the Institute for Fiscal Studies announced that the amount of funding per pupil has fallen by eight per cent across England since 2010 – but London boroughs like Greenwich have been hit even harder.

If any parent or teacher reading this has been affected by the cuts, please email me or find me on Twitter.

We need to tell the Government to secure a better deal for our children, and your stories will help me do that.

The school year is drawing to a close but there is still a great chance for children to be inspired in a fun and entertaining way over the holidays.

I feel tempted to take part in the annual Summer Reading Challenge myself as the theme of the event, on offer at all our libraries, this year is “Mischief Makers”.

Youngsters aged from four to 11 can take part in the free challenge to read six books over the holidays and discover more about the famous Beano comic characters and their epic pranks.

There is also a whole raft of free craft sessions on offer for children at libraries across Royal Greenwich with wonderful sounding titles such as ‘Make a gnasher’ and ‘Slime making’.

For more information visit better.org.uk/greenwichlibraries.

One of the greatest gifts we can leave the next generation is cleaner air and a greener environment.

This is why I am delighted our Cleaner Air Borough has been upheld by the Mayor of London.

The status recognises our work on a number of green projects to improve air quality.

These include the £1.5m project to connect the break in the Thames Path in Charlton which was recently opened to encourage more people to cycle and walk.

Don’t forget there are three Better Together public meetings this week which provide a great chance for residents to take part in a debate on community safety and raise any issues with their ward councillors.

For more information visit www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/bettertogether or call 020 8921 5585.

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