The Northumberland Park ward of Tottenham, where the school is situated, is amongst the 2% most deprived wards in the country. Over half of our students were eligible for free school meals at secondary school. Alongside the disruptions that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to all our lives and all children's education, members of our student body have experienced extreme financial hardship, parental job losses and bereavements in their immediate family.
In spite of these challenges, our students have the potential to achieve great things: in August 2020, two-thirds of our students were awarded places at Russell Group universities, including 11 to Oxford or Cambridge, compared to the 1% of Tottenham students gaining places at Russell Group universities before LAE Tottenham opened.
This is all the more remarkable given the backgrounds of our students. 40% of our families suffer some financial hardship; over half of our students have been eligible for free school meals in their time at secondary school, compared to just 4.5% at selective state schools. The Northumberland Park ward of Tottenham, where the school is situated, is amongst the 2% most deprived wards in the country; currently, 45% of Tottenham’s working age population is unemployed or furloughed.
The difference we are making has already been recognised: not only in our being named as The Sunday Times State Sixth Form College of the Year, but also with financial support for the Chrysalis East programme: a partnership project, working with four Tottenham secondary schools to raise aspiration and GCSE outcomes of local students with academic potential. This exciting partnership will mean that the opportunities provided by LAE Tottenham can reach further into our local community in a genuinely transformational way.
We want to do more to support our students, now and in the future, by providing independent school standard experience – four A Levels, a co-curriculum provision, mental health support and careers guidance – as well as much-needed hardship support.
The transformational difference LAE Tottenham has made to the lives of our students has been made possible, in part, by the support of our donors.
More than ever, we want to be able to offer support to our students, to help them realise their potential. We do not want the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent today’s students from realising their talents. The educational, personal and emotional impact on disadvantaged students is likely to be significant, at LAE Tottenham and in our feeder schools.
School closures have a greater effect on students at LAE Tottenham than on their middle-class peers. Students from lower income groups rely on their schools: many live in multigenerational, busy households without access to technology or a quiet place to work; LAET provides vital pastoral support and academic resources for these young people.
"We aspire to deliver a truly enriched 6th form experience, in line with what is available at the best independent schools. This costs approximately £1,862 more per pupil per year than we receive in funding from the government" - Jan Balon, Headteacher
Areas of support
LAE Tottenham provides a world-class education to those who otherwise might not be able to access such provision. Our students benefit from outstanding teaching, a wide range of co-curricular activities, and comprehensive assistance in navigating the university admissions process.
“It’s an exciting achievement knowing that I am the first in my family to go to university. LAE Tottenham has contributed to my development as an individual; the support that I received over the past two years has been amazing”
Viktoriya earned a place to study Biochemistry at Bristol
We are seeking support for the following areas, which run to the core of who we are as a school.
1. Mental Health and Wellbeing
60% of students at LAE Tottenham come from disadvantaged backgrounds and research shows a strong link between disadvantage and poor mental health.
- There are rising rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm in children and young people, and good mental health is fundamental to be able to thrive in life.
Therefore, the school invests heavily, far beyond what government funding can provide for a pastoral team including a counsellor and mental health lead.
In order to maintain the quality and responsiveness of the school mental health support as the school grows to its capacity, additional resource is required.
- To maintain our mental health and counselling provision at its current £36,000 per year.
- Our need in this area is increasing - both due to increased student numbers and increased demand for these services - and, to reduce waiting times for our services, we would like to employ an additional counsellor, at a cost of £6,000 (to work a day a week, all year).
2. Academic coaches
- Covid-19 has affected all students. The biggest impact has been on those from disadvantaged backgrounds, widening the attainment gap between them and their peers.
- We want to do more to enable students to catch up from disruptions to their learning, especially when their home circumstances are difficult.
- We know young people thrive with support from positive and trusted role-models, who can provide advice and guidance, helps them develop positive learning behaviours and who encourages them to grow and learn new things.
- Academic mentors work with our students who may benefit from further support - ones who need it more - furthest behind and disadvantaged most.
- Schools and students need support now more than ever and there is extensive evidence of the value added by close working with students. Evidence indicates that one to one tuition can deliver, on average, approximately five additional months’ progress for a student per year; crucial in ensuring that our students do not suffer additional disadvantage.
- LAE Tottenham currently employs academic coaches in our Mathematics and Science departments; the impact of this has been significant, with targeted deployment resulting in some students making as much as two grades of progress between September and December
- Students studying arts and humanities also need this support, so we would like to employ additional academic coaches.
- £25,000 would pay the salary, plus on costs, for an academic mentor, who could work with 25 children each week of the academic year.
“In these most challenging of circumstances, we refuse to limit our expectations of what our students can achieve. Academic coaches can provide the individualised support which can be transformational; ensuring no student falls behind” - Jan Balon, Headteacher
3. Careers and employability
By providing significant, specialist support, we want to enable our students to develop crucial employability skills and make informed choices about potential future careers.
The addition of a qualified careers adviser would enable student 1 to 1 contact with a trained professional, able to give advice to individual students at key points in the 6th form journey.
4. Beyond Tottenham
- In their first half term at LAE Tottenham, all students are taken to the University of Oxford - to raise aspirations and demonstrate that this could be within their reach.
- As well as raising aspirations, we want to provide our students with tangible support, in particular helping them to apply to top universities in the UK and abroad and to ensure that money isn't a barrier to this.
- Put simply, we do not want students to turn down a future at a Russell Group university because they are unable to pay the train fare to an interview.
- Already, the school subsidises most educational experiences for the majority of students.
- Whilst the government gives bursary funding which can be allocated to educational experiences, the criteria for successful bursary applications are stringent and many of our families struggle to provide the necessary paperwork to qualify.
- But more than this, the school also aims to raise aspiration in the local community through the development of an outreach function, designed to support students in local secondary schools to achieve success in their GCSEs and secure places at LAE Tottenham.
5. Digital access - at LAE Tottenham and in our Chrysalis East feeder schools
- The COVID-19 crisis has done much to reveal existing inequalities and injustices in our society.
- Members of our school community, as well as those in our feeder schools, lack adequate access to digital resources: children at our partner schools are falling behind in their education because they have little or no access to a computer: we have seen examples of families of five sharing one smart phone between them.
- Most of these children are eligible for free school meals, where the digital divide mostly correlates
- The impact of ‘digital poverty’ on children’s education and futures might not be something that we’d considered in life pre-lockdown.
It currently costs around £75,000 to maintain our existing IT provision. As our numbers grow, our need increases.
- £220 could buy a Chromebook for a student.
- As many students rely on their school for a quiet place to work, £25,000 could enable us to keep the library open at weekends and through the school holidays.
- As we increase the number of students using Chromebooks, it will be increasingly important to provide adequate WiFi access. This will come at a cost of around £40,000.
Many donors choose to support our Unrestricted fund, which allows us to direct support to where the need is greatest.
Regular donations help us plan for the future. To recognise those who pledge ongoing support to our community, we have launched The Friends of Tottenham. Click here to find out more, or to make a regular donation.
For a confidential conversation about supporting LAE Tottenham, or simply to find out more, please email Jessica Austin - firstname.lastname@example.org.