London Academy of Excellence
In 2011 Brighton College was the driving force behind a project to found a brand new Sixth Form College in Stratford, East London, for 400 Sixth formers from in and around the London Borough of Newham, where academic opportunities are limited. With its roots in the successful Brighton/Kingsford partnership, the aim was to provide pupils with the sort of education offered in an independent school to help them gain access to the country's top universities. The government's Free School scheme provided the funding for the school; and other independent schools were invited to oversee curriculum areas and in some cases provide teachers on secondment.
In September 2012 LAE opened in a former office block skilfully re-furbished to provide all the classroom and laboratory facilities needed for the 12 A level subjects that are on offer; and with its attractive communal spaces and light and airy café it has the feel of a university faculty building. The Sixth formers themselves, who are required to dress in a smart and business-like way, are delighted with their new school and are impressing their Head Master, John Weeks, formerly a Deputy Headmaster at Brighton College, with their hard work and positive attitude.
The timetable is more rigorous than many have been used to in their previous schools. All are expected to participate in games and after-school activities, in addition to contributing to the LAE's OutReach programme, whereby once a week they go out into local primary and secondary schools helping to nourish the aspirations of younger pupils.
The House system is an integral part of the LAE. There are 8 Houses, all named after partner schools. Brighton House visits the College each Michaelmas term and part of the day is given over to a forum to discuss how the relationship might be developed in cultural, sporting and social ways.
In addition to providing members of staff to assist the geography and economics department at the LAE, the College also assist in their Duke of Edinburgh expeditions with planning and transport. The Year 12 members of Brighton House at the LAE are also buddied with Lower Sixth (Year 12) pupils at the College who share the same A-level subjects, and there is a visit involving these pupils each term. In the Michaelmas term, LAE pupils visit the College to share lessons with their College buddy, and in the Hilary term, there is a reciprocal visit to the LAE by the same College pupils who get the chance to sample school life in Stratford. In the Trinity term, the LAE pupils of Brighton House are invited to our careers and university open days in June, as they begin to firm up their choices of degree course, and this gives them a further opportunity to meet with their buddy and discuss progress.
The relationship with the LAE remains as strong as ever, with members of the College staff acting as Governors to the Academy. The College also offers the opportunity of mock interviews for LAE sixth formers as part of their university application process. The LAE entered thirty pupils for Oxbridge this academic year, and twenty have been offered a place.
To discover more about the work and ethos of LAE, do visit the website on http://www.excellencelondon.ac.uk/