For many, London has been the education success story of the last decade. But new research has found that of six major UK cities, the capital’s residents are the least satisfied with their city’s schools.
The findings suggest that years of improvements – at the start of the millennium, London exam results were the worst in England, now its schools are widely regarded as among the best in Europe – have yet to feed through to public perceptions.
Just two-thirds of Londoners said that they were either “very satisfied” or “rather satisfied” with schools in the city, according to the European Commission survey.
That compares with three-quarters of residents of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in northeast England, a region that Ofsted has recently condemned for poor standards in secondary education.
Levels of satisfaction with schools were also higher than London in Belfast, Glasgow, Cardiff and Manchester – another city where standards have been criticised by Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw.
London finished 48th in the league table of 79 European Union cities. But it did come higher than many other national capitals in the satisfaction survey of 40,000 residents.
Eight capital cities – Vilnius, Budapest, Rome, Madrid, Athens, Bucharest, Sofia and Istanbul – featured in the list of the ten cities with the lowest levels of satisfaction with education.
Palermo, in Italy, was bottom with only 43 per cent of its residents satisfied with the city’s schools.
Groningen, in the Netherlands, and Renne, in France, finished top, both with 88 per cent of residents satisfied with their local educational provision.
The findings are the second blow to London’s educational reputation in two days. They follow yesterday’s publication of research showing that London teenagers are academically lagging behind those in many other cities around the world.
This is an edited article from the 26 February edition of TES. Subscribers can read the full article in the TES digital edition. This week’s TES magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here