New group will tackle inequality in school system

Dawn Gill, left, and Dame Anna Hassan are founding members of the London Education Associates Founda

Dawn Gill, left, and Dame Anna Hassan are founding members of the London Education Associates Foundation Ltd. - Credit: Archant

A Hackney educationalist is the brains behind a new London-wide organisation which has been set up to improve attainment in inner-city schools.

Dawn Gill, a former Hackney Council humanities advisor who has managed two education projects to raise achievement in the borough, has set up the London Education Associates Foundation (LEAF) to address inequality.

The chief executive, who lives in Clapton, said: “We’ve had no London-wide education authority since the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) was disbanded in 1990.

“Some families, communities and their schools find themselves in disadvantaged circumstances but educationalists understand that the future is ours to create.

“That’s why we have set up London Education Associates Foundation – to help create better futures for children and young people, and a better world for them to grow up in.”

The not-for-profit and politically independent organisation intends to raise funds for London-wide initiatives in order to break the link between poverty, disadvantage and low attainment.

This will be done through initiatives such as teachers’ networks and a Greater London Head Teachers’ Forum. It will support all kinds of schools – academies, community schools, special schools and pupil referral units.

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High-profile names from the education world have signed up, including Dame Anna Hassan, a former consultant head at Daubeney Primary, Daubeney Road, Clapton, who is credited with turning around Millfields Community School in Hilsea Street, Clapton; former director of London University’s Institute of Education, Emeritus Professor Geoff Whitty, and Sir William Atkinson, who was labelled Britain’s most successful headteacher in Britain after turning around Phoenix Academy in White City.

Dame Anna Hassan said: “Some local education authorities are fantastic but others have struggled for some reason. So many local authorities have little money and expertise is drifting away.

“The expertise in ILEA was very successful and it was a forward-thinking group in London.

“I hope LEAF will become a respected and valued organisation that people will choose.

“The fact that the trustees and people who have signed up have inner-city experience will stand the organisation in very good stead.”

A launch conference on equality will be held on January 28.

Ms Gill added: “All of our advisers have expertise in equality education. London is one of the most diverse cities globally and schools here have a lot to share and a lot to offer both nationally and globally.”

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