The City of London is best known as a global centre for financial and professional services – and rightly so. But there is so much more to the City. This year I will use a series of posts on my blog to highlight how the City makes a difference to our communities in London and beyond. Starting with something very close to my heart: education.

Recently the Department for Education published secondary school league tables, featuring the results of the first students to sit new GCSEs in English and maths. The tables evaluate how well students progress in a school since starting in secondary school and sitting their exams. The City Academy, Hackney – of which I am a Governor – came out as one of the two top performing schools for progress in Hackney.

Together with KPMG, The City of London Corporation is co-sponsor of the Academy – located in the Homerton area of the London Borough of Hackney. I used to live in Hackney, so it is a privilege that I am now representing the Corporation as one of the sponsor Governors.

Established in 2009 the school set out to build an exceptional academy for its students based on the highest expectations of academic achievement and personal development. The Academy’s students have achieved outstanding GCSE results and all of the sixth form students have progressed to university or high-level apprenticeships.

The City supporting world-class education

The City has a long tradition of supporting education and apprenticeships. In addition, many Livery Companies actively support schools and educational programmes.

The City the sole sponsor of a multi-academy trust, the City of London Academies Trust. The Trust currently sponsors four secondary schools in Southwark, Shoreditch Park, Highbury Grove, three primary schools, and City of London Primary Academy Islington. Newham Collegiate Sixth Form joined the Trust last month.

The City also co-sponsors two secondary academies, The City Academy Hackney and the City of London Academy Islington, and is the local authority for a maintained primary school, Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School.

In a recent report by the Sutton Trust, the City academies were placed first in the country for pupil progress and attainment of disadvantaged students. The City of London Academies Trust was named by the TES earlier this year as the top performing multi-academy trust in the country.

Historically the City also runs three leading independent schools (City of London School, City of London School for Girls, City of London Freemen’s School).

This year, the City Corporation is planning to increase spending on its academies – something I will push hard for as I am committed to ensure the City strengthens its support of schools in neighbouring boroughs providing opportunities for all Londoners.

Education Board

Last week I joined head teachers, City colleague, businesses and pupils of schools supported by the City at our annual Education Board dinner.

Sixth form student Shenice, City of London Academy (Southwark) and Lloyd’s of London Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown were keynote speakers.

Speaking for her generation, Shenice said young people need more clarity from both schools and businesses on what work experience is available and how to get it. She said firms need to do more to show what qualifications they regard highly – and what they don’t – and which non-academic skills are really valued in the workplace.

Carnegie-Brown said changing methods of recruitment, including through social media, are now key for employers and an important platform for candidates to get right.

For full report see article in FE news – click here.

FE news photo: keynote speakers Shenice and Bruce Carnegie-Brown

Extending the City’s Culture Mile vision

Last year the City of London Corporation, together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London, announced plans for a major destination for culture and creativity in the Square Mile known as the ‘Culture Mile’.

This ambitious and transformational initiative will create a vibrant cultural area in the north-west corner of the City over the next 10 to 15 years. Stretching just under a mile from Farringdon to Moorgate, Culture Mile will have creative exchange, cultural collaboration and learning at its core in an area where 2,000 years of history collide with the world’s best in culture.

Education forms an integral part of this vision. Culture Mile Learning will bring together organisations across the City and beyond to work together on an unprecedented scale to build a world-leading learning destination, specialising in the fusion of the creative, technical, educational and emotional skills needed for success in the 21st century. Culture Mile Learning is responding to research highlighting that employers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit people with the fusion of creative and technological skills that they need to stay innovative.

Over the coming months when the City will work with partners to shape the Culture Mile end education programme I will make a strong case for close collaboration and involvement of the City’s Academies.