London Academy of Excellence opens for business in Stratford

Newham students work harder than their independent school counterparts, the head of one of the borough’s newest schools says.

The London Academy of Excellence, the first sixth-form free school in the country - has opened its doors at Broadway House in Stratford.

The first intake was given a tour of top universities, including Kings College London and Oxbridge, to give them a taste of what they might achieve.

The sixth-form is backed by independent schools such Brighton College and Eton. Headteacher Robert Wilne came from Highgate School in Hampstead, north London.

He said: “We are really pleased at how it has gone so far, it is starting to settle down now in week two.

“We came here because we wanted to provide choice, I don’t for one moment think we are better than other sixth form providers.

“With the visits, we wanted to open students’ eyes to the specifics of university.”

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The school was opened with the aim of getting students into the elite institutions. Subjects on the curriculum include maths, physics, English literature, Spanish and religious studies.

Mr Wilne said he was most impressed at how organised and focused his new students are. Most of the initial applications came from Langdon School, Kingsford Community School and Plashet School.

The LAE has joined School 21, also in Stratford, as a new sixth-form provider. Newham Council has also started a process which will eventually see it open a college of its own.

He said: “I have found that the sixth formers have been a much more hard working than those at independent schools.

“Obviously we have to think about results and the results that they get will help them get into university.

“But we are also looking at how they engage with their lessons and how they communicate. We want to teach them three things - knowledge, skills and interests.”