The East End’s ‘engine of progression’.

The East End’s ‘engine of progression’.

In September, the Mail Online and others published articles extolling the achievements of the ‘Eton of the East End’, one of the highly selective sixth forms in Newham which have opened in recent years. In the interests of balance, here is the story of their comprehensive neighbour’s results told in a similar style:

The East End’s ‘engine of progression’.

Inner city college with some of the poorest students in the country dubbed the ‘East End Engine of Progression’ sent 96 students to top Russell Group universities this year.

  • Newham Sixth Form College (NewVIc) in Newham sent 661 students to university this year and nearly 7,000 over the last 10 years.
  • The college has been getting students into Russell group universities for 25 years including over 400 over the past 5 years.
  • Mughees Hassan is going to Cambridge to study Natural Sciences this year, he is the latest of 13 NewVIc students to go to Oxbridge in the last 10 years.
  • Both NewVIc students who went to Oxford University in 2014 graduated with First Class degrees this year.
  • 3 students: Bibire Baykeens, Fatima Habib and Nadia Jama are going on to study medicine.
  • NewVIc saw 28 of its A-level candidates achieving A* grades this summer and over 70 achieved at least an A grade.
  • On of the college’s A-level Biology candidates achieved the highest mark in the country in one of her papers this year.

A comprehensive inner-city college in one of London’s most deprived areas dubbed the ‘East End Engine of Progression’ sent 96 students to the country’s most prestigious Russell Group universities including one to Cambridge this year. The students all attended Newham Sixth Form College (NewVIc) and are starting degree courses in Medicine, Maths, Engineering, Law, Accounting, Psychology, English, History, Drama, Politics and Nursing amongst many other subjects.

Principal Eddie Playfair said: ‘NewVIc students have been progressing to university in large numbers for 25 years, including to Oxbridge and other Russell Group institutions. This year’s 98 per cent A-level pass rate is our best result to date and the proportion of high grades is also our highest ever, but, most importantly, it means that students who come to NewVIc make great progress and achieve the grades they need to help them progress to their chosen degree course at university.’

Two thirds of the college’s A-level grades are in the A*-C range.

Many of the students at NewVIc are from the London Borough of Newham, which is one of the most deprived in the city. According to census data, 46.5 per cent of the 330,000 residents describe themselves as either Asian or Asian British. Some 26.5 per cent say they are white, while 18.1 per cent are black or black British.

Clearly both sixth forms have great results to celebrate. One difference is that in a comprehensive college, these ‘top’ results are just a small part of a bigger story of success and progression across the board. And this particular comprehensive college has been doing the heavy lifting to improve the participation, achievement and progression of tens of thousands of Newham students over the last 25 years. Too long to be newsworthy perhaps!

Good luck to those who can persuade the national media to blow their trumpet for them. The rest of us will just have to blow our own!

For the full story of NewVIc’s 2017 results and progression see:

NewVIc class of 2017 progress to university (October 2017)

NewVIc results 2017 (August 2017)

And for the longer term story of success:

Newham’s outstanding record of widening participation (August 2017)

About Eddie Playfair

I am a Senior Policy Manager at the Association of Colleges (AoC) having previously been a college principal for 16 years and a teacher before that. I live in East London and I blog in a personal capacity about education and culture. I also tweet at @eddieplayfair
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