From Nashville to Nottingham: the recipe for school success

A decade ago, the performance of high schools in Nashville, Tennessee, was among the worst in the US. Attendance was poor and the graduation rate of just 55 per cent was well below the national average. Rising youth unemployment and crime rates were also causing concern.

Today, however, Nashville is acclaimed as a centre of educational excellence, known nationwide for the quality of its schools as much as for the quality of its music, thanks to a transformative programme linking education and business. Last year it was even praised by US president Barack Obama.

Now a similar revolution could be heading to these shores, with schools in Nottingham planning to learn from and build on Nashville’s success.

Last year, vocational learning charity the Edge Foundation funded two trips to Nashville to learn more about the seismic changes that have taken place in the city’s schools. Earlier this month, business and education leaders from Tennessee spoke about the secrets of their success at a special conference at Nottingham’s Bulwell Academy.

To read the full story, get the 22 May edition of TES on your tablet or phone, or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

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