pupils and 4,000 jobs, two new reports review the impact of Excellence
in Cities - the government's flagship education programme for urban
New research shows many city schools are improving, with standards
rising faster than in their suburban counterparts, education and
skills secretary Estelle Morris said today.
Launching the Excellence in Cities Annual Report at Charles Edward
Brooke School in Lambeth, Estelle Morris met pupils and teachers to
see first hand the innovative work that is aimed at cutting bad
behaviour and raising standards in city classrooms.
Since its launch in September 1999, the Excellence in Cities
programme has provided over£500m of additional funding to
pupils in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country.
Provisional findings from a major independent evaluation of
Excellence in Cities published today reveal that there is 'a near
consensus existing between the different parties involved as to the
benefits of EiC' and note that 'to date, there have been some
significant early impacts of Excellence in Cities, particularly in
relation to Learning Mentors, Learning Support Units and City
Also published today, the department for education and skills'
Excellence in Cities Annual Report reveals that nearly one-third of
the country's secondary school population currently attend an
Excellence in Cities school. EiC provides:
- A Learning Mentor for all who need it, to help raise achievement
and reduce disaffection by removing barriers to pupils' learning;
- Learning Support Units, where disruptive pupils can be given
teaching and support in small groups, helping to address their
specific needs without the need for exclusion, but without
disturbing the education of their classmates;
- City learning centres, full of state-of-the-art technology, which
can be used by pupils, parents and the local community;
- Special provision for gifted and talented pupils, including more
challenging everyday lessons, special lessons and activities both
in and out of school time and the expertise of a gifted and
The Excellence in Cities programme has also increased the number of
beacon and specialist schools in inner-city areas; established over
100 Excellence in Cities Action Zones; helped supply high-quality
governors to inner-city schools through the school governors
One-Stop-Shop and supported research and innovative projects in
schools and LEAs through its innovative projects fund.
Speaking at the launch, Ms Morris said:
'Excellence in Cities was designed to help remove the postcode
lottery of education. Through a substantial programme of investment -
the equivalent of over£270 per pupil - we are providing urban
schools with additional resources to really make a difference to the
education of their pupils. This investment is already beginning to
pay off - for instance, improvements in national tests taken by
14-year-olds last year were stronger in Excellence in Cities schools
than elsewhere, with English standards rising four times as fast in
'Excellence in Cities has been introduced with speed and commitment.
It would not have been possible without the dedication of schools and
local authorities and those who work within them, and we are looking
forward to building upon the success of EiC as we roll out more
Excellence Clusters and Excellence in Cities Action Zones in
The Excellence in Cities Annual Report is available hereand
the interim report of the Excellence in Cities evaluation consortium
will be published in the next few weeks.
1. Excellence in Cities was launched by the prime minister and
David Blunkett in March 1999 initially in six key
urban areas: Inner London; Manchester/Salford; Liverpool/Knowsley;
Birmingham; Leeds/Bradford and Sheffield/Rotherham. Since then
there have been two successive expansions and the initiative now
covers 58 authority areas across all our major cities. In addition
the initiative is being piloted in some primary schools in the
original EiC areas. The programme also now includes Excellence
Clusters where the government is building on EiC - and Education
Action Zones - to target smaller pockets of deprivation.
2. To date, the government has made£511.2m available for
Excellence in Cities. By 2003-2004 this will rise to over£300m
a year as the programme is fully implemented across all
3. The main 'strands' of Excellence in Cities include:
- Specially-trained learning mentors in every secondary school and
many primaries, who work with pupils to remove barriers to learning
and reduce disaffection;
- City learning centres, equipped with cutting-edge technology which
can be used by local schools and the community;
- Extra opportunities for gifted and talented pupils through summer
schools, more challenging everyday lessons and out-of-school
- Self-contained learning support units to give challenging pupils
intensive help and support without disrupting the education of
- More specialist and beacon schools.
- Excellence in Cities Action Zones to raise standards in one or more
secondary school(s) and associated primaries.
4. Standards are rising faster in EiC areas than elsewhere. The
latest statistics compiled by the Department indicate that
improvements in English and maths for 14-year-olds are particularly
good, with an improvement four times greater for English in EiC
areas than in non-EiC areas. In the first phase LEAs, where
Excellence in Cities has been in place for two years, the
percentage of pupils gaining five or more A* to C GCSEs rose by
2.9% between 1999 and 2001, compared with 2.1% for non-EiC areas
and areas which have been included in EiC for less than two years.