New London Academy of Excellence tells rivals to ‘raise their games’

More than eight in 10 students accepted at the new sixth-form college opening in Stratford this year are from Newham schools.

The London Academy of Excellence (LAE) which has just agreed a 10-year lease to move into Broadway House, received about 530 applications for just 150 places.

The LAE, the first sixth-form college to be set up under the government’s free schools scheme, is sponsored by top independent schools.

Most Newham applications came from Langdon School, Kingsford Community School and Plashet School.

Co-ordinator Simon Smith said the college expectedsome applicants to eventually decide not to join the LAE but there had been surprise at the level of interest.

He said: “We won’t be turning people away and it occurs to me that there will be in excess of 150 students here.”

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The LAE will offer a limited number of subjects to prepare students for top universities, but its arrival has not been welcomed by all.

Managers at Newham College and Eddie Playfair, the New VIc college principal, have questioned the need for another college.

Mr Smith said: “Competition isn’t always a bad thing. I think we should all raise our games, both students and schools. We are not trying to steal students, we are trying to provide access to the top universities.”

Contractors will start work in early June for it to be ready for the new academic year.

Mr Smith added: “The work will take place around the Olympics, meaning there will be a lot of night work.”

The deal, with the Department for Education, is expected to save the council up to �30,000 a month. The LAE will occupy the building rent free for a year.