I have raised deep concern about the precipitous decline in the proportion of pupils attending top universities that come from Camden: driven, of course, by Camden’s schools falling behind other London boroughs. The Camden New Journal has highlighted my concerns.
Despite being home to one Russell Group university and within metres of two more, pupils in Camden are half as likely to go to a Russell Group university as pupils in Barnet. Indeed, they’re half as likely as pupils in Newham, so it’s not because Barnet is leafy and suburban, or even because it’s Conservative.
Within Camden, there is a huge divide between UCL Academy and Camden School for Girls on one hand and all other state schools – with pupils at those two schools being 3-4 times as likely to get into a top university as those at Haversock or LaSWAP.
It is notable, of course, that UCL Academy and Camden School for Girls are two of just three secular mainstream schools that are independent of the council’s control (being an academy and a voluntary-aided school respectively).
In the last five years, the chances of a pupil from Camden going to a Russell Group university have fallen by 22% compared to pupils from across the rest of Inner London. Given Russell Group universities have 430,000 undergraduates, that’s equivalent to 100,000 top university places now being off-limits to Camden pupils compared to just five years ago!
Camden Conservatives raised this in our 2018 manifesto, and proposed that UCL Academy and Camden School for Girls take a lead in sharing best practice.
This is no longer an issue that Labour can ignore. Most state school pupils in Camden are being left further and further behind private schools and those two super-schools: creating an educational divide that no local authority should tolerate.