Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Don't Want Rich Parents Trying to Avoid Private School Fees Here; Head of 'East End Eton' Vows Not to Let Academy Be Victim of Its Own Success

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Don't Want Rich Parents Trying to Avoid Private School Fees Here; Head of 'East End Eton' Vows Not to Let Academy Be Victim of Its Own Success

Article excerpt

Byline: Anna Davis Education Editor

THE headmaster of the "Eton of the East End" has said he will prevent the school becoming dominated by wealthy families trying to avoid private school fees.

Scott Baker said he wants to ensure the London Academy of Excellence in Newham continues to promote social mobility and does not become a "victim of its own success".

It comes after a record 22 pupils were offered places at Oxford and Cambridge universities. The school's results rival the success rate of many public schools, and many of those offered Oxbridge places will be the first in their family to go to university.

Mr Baker described keeping a "close eye" on the make-up of the school's population, saying: "You can be the victim of your own success. Aspirational parents will seek you out as an alternative to private education."

He added: "We have to look hard for tangible examples of social mobility success stories and LAE is a genuine success story."

The sixth-form college was set up in 2012 in Stratford with the aim of encouraging London teenagers from deprived backgrounds to apply for courses at Oxford and Cambridge.

This year 69 pupils applied to Oxbridge, 49 were interviewed and 22 received offers.

The school is hugely oversubscribed almost 3,000 GCSE students applied for just 240 places last year.

In order to ensure it continues to favour social mobility, children on free school meals and those in care are automatically offered places first as long as they meet the grade requirements. Pupils must have at least five 7-9 (A-A*) GCSE grades, with a 6 or above in maths and English language or literature.

Of the remaining offers, 50 per cent are ringfenced for pupils from Newham state secondary schools.

Mr Baker said: "Part of the magic of what makes us work is we have over 100 feeder schools.

"The students arrive and they very quickly find themselves surrounded by like-minded students, when they were perhaps the only ones [who were academic and aspirational] at their previous school there is something very powerful about bringing together aspirational students. …

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