Lambeth Academy students receiving their A-level results - source South London Press
Lambeth Academy students receiving their A-level results - source South London Press

Cllr Nanda Manley-Browne is Lambeth’s Education and Schools Policy Lead, and a councillor in Thornton ward.

Wow, what an academic year it has been!

Firstly, I’d like to CONGRATULATE all our bright young Lambeth stars; students who have worked incredibly hard, demonstrating resilience and determination to succeed, amid the backdrop of the Covid pandemic and the significant educational disruption.

The past 18 months have been a unique educational experience for us all, and every one of you should all be immensely proud of your achievements; we salute and applaud you.

No matter what your results, these are a tremendous platform for future success. There will be some pupils that achieved below expectations. From adversity comes many a good story, so regardless, everyone should hold their heads up high. Lambeth will do everything we can to create opportunities and a brighter future for all.

As Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. It really does take a village to raise a child, and we’re thankful for all of you – families, teachers, mentors, and friends, who have been placed along our young people’s paths, and helped contribute to today’s success.

With a combination of coursework, mock exams and essays used by teachers to decide this year’s grades. Your excellent results are a direct reflection of the capable, highly motivated, and ambitious students you all are, and the unwavering diligence you have invested, into securing your future dreams and aspirations. Hard work really does pay off; well deserved!

Nearly 45% of A-Level entries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were awarded top grades this week. For private schools, the figure was 70% getting A or A*, compared with 39% at comprehensives and 42% at academies.

However, despite achieving such fantastic results, the broader trends clearly indicate, that the Tory chaos has opened the door to unfairness and inequality. Not necessarily relating to grade inflation, but specifically the gaps between the wealthy and the poorest; with the attainment gap widened, for black pupils, pupils on free school meals and pupils from low income areas.

Based on the Department for Education (DfE) initiative to bring forward the annual date for counting those eligible for the pupil premium, so that children who have become eligible between October 2020 and January 2021 will not be counted until October 2021, schools in Lambeth could potentially lose about £1 million in funding, for pupils living in poverty, whilst being pushed to break their links with the council.

As I said earlier in the spring, “losing this funding is terrible for Lambeth children where Covid and the lockdowns have hit our families harder than most places, and the number of unemployed Lambeth residents is now twice the average”.

The results don’t match the Tories’ “levelling up” rhetoric and I struggle to see how the past 18 months has not embedded inequality further and for longer. “Who you are or where you’re from shouldn’t decide your grades. Labour’s Recovery plan will invest in all children, so they can learn, develop, and have a bright future”.

Well done to this year’s pupils. I know the results are just the beginning of their amazing stories and wish them all the very best with their endeavours. Lambeth Labour is committed to give every child an opportunity to thrive. We call on the Government to learn on the lessons from the last 18 months, and invest in our children’s futures.

Cllr Nanda Manley-Browne

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