Invest More in Urban Schools, Urges Newly Knighted Headmaster

By Hayes, Dominic | The Evening Standard (London, England), December 31, 2007 | Go to article overview
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Invest More in Urban Schools, Urges Newly Knighted Headmaster


Hayes, Dominic, The Evening Standard (London, England)


A LONDON headteacher who has been knighted for his services to education believes the Government should invest more in urban schools.

Alasdair Macdonald, head of Morpeth School in Tower Hamlets, was today celebrating becoming the latest head to be honoured for raising standards, as Gordon Brown continued Tony Blair's policy of rewarding those who achieve success in tough inner city schools.

Mr Macdonald, 58, who is in his 16th year as head of the mixed comprehensive and is now regularly consulted by ministers, warned that success in schools like his was "fragile", as they faced the full range of social problems caused by poverty and family breakdown, and required high levels of investment to sustain it.

His comments came after the Government was criticised for giving inner city authorities many of which are Labour-controlled more money for schools than those in the suburbs and rural counties. Schools also face a winter of discontent as teacher unions threaten industrial action unless the Government increases its two per cent pay offer.

Mr Macdonald said: "If you want to sustain improvement, you have to pay decent salaries. I think one of the reasons education has improved in London is for the last few years it has been relatively well paid." Morpeth School is a past nominee for an Evening Standard School Award and has just been rated as "outstanding" by education watchdog Ofsted.

Last year, 49 per cent of pupils at Morpeth achieved at least five Cs or better, including in English and maths, which was above the London and national averages.

Mr Macdonald stressed that much of the school's success was down to having a stable staff a difficult thing to achieve in London where many teachers move out of the city in order to get onto the housing ladder.

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