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Tottenham Hotspur and Highgate to open free school

Highgate School and Spurs partner on a new sixth-form school to open in 2017

Posted by Stephanie Broad | May 12, 2016 | Facilities & buildings

Tottenham Hotspur football club and independent Highgate School are to open a new sixth form free school in the heart of Tottenham, the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham, in 2017. 

London Academy of Excellence Tottenham (LAET) will open as a state-funded sixth form in September 2017, welcoming A-level students into year 12 and following the model of the highly successful first London Academy of Excellence in Stratford. The proposed new school in Tottenham intends to adopt similar admissions arrangements to LAE Stratford, prioritising local students most likely to benefit from an academically-rigorous curriculum, and those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. 

Highgate School, the co-educational independent day school for pupils aged three to 18, will be principal education sponsor of LAET and recruit and deploy the full-time equivalent of five members of the total teaching staff, as well as providing wider administrative, pastoral and management support. Tottenham Hotspur will be the principal business sponsor, providing financial support, as well as the school premises and facilities management. LAET will have its own governing body and executive and will shortly be recruiting its Head. 

LAET will be based in the premises currently occupied by Tottenham University Technical College, whose governors have elected to enhance their educational offering to the LAE 16–19 model. The proposals for LAET have been drawn up with Haringey Council and the DfE. 

Adam Pettitt, Head of Highgate School, said: “Although Highgate School is situated in an affluent area of London, some of the least affluent and most challenged parts of the whole city are on our doorstep. With LAET, we want to enable bright, local children, especially those with disadvantaged backgrounds, to access a high-calibre academic education and first-rate preparation for university and employment. 

“We want to create opportunity at the heart of Tottenham, in what is the most stunning educational building. This kind of collaboration is our way of being both a charity, which fundamentally we are, whilst remaining true to our educational ethos”. 

For the last ten years, Highgate has worked with a wide range of state primary and secondary schools across north and east London, including LAE Stratford, which opened under the leadership of a Highgate teacher, Robert Wilne.

Donna-Maria Cullen, Executive Director, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club added: “What has become evident to us is both the thirst for teaching at the highest level and a real need to retain the brightest schoolchildren in Tottenham. The LAE model represents an outstanding opportunity to provide an aspirational educational offering in one of the poorest parts of Britain, supported by a leading public school. We are working hard to bring about the regeneration of this area of North Tottenham and this is another, exciting step forward”. 

A four-week statutory consultation process will begin on 18th May 2016 to consult on the changes, including on the proposed curriculum and admissions arrangements for the school.  This will include surveying young people across Tottenham about what academic subjects they would wish to see offered. The proposed admissions arrangements will be modelled on those in place at LAE Stratford and will be based on identifying strong academic performance and potential, with priority going to young people from the immediate local area, and those at socio-economic disadvantage. A minimum of 50% of places are offered to local pupils at LAE Stratford and a similar percentage is envisaged for Tottenham.  

Claire Kober, Leader of Haringey Council, said: “The proposal for a London Academy of Excellence in Tottenham to open next year is excellent news. The school would give more young people from the area access to world class 16-19 education. This is yet another significant step in our ambition to ensure that young people in Tottenham have access to the same level of opportunity as any of their peers in London.”

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