There is some excellent coverage of this year's encouraging GCSE results in today's Croydon Advertiser (unfortunately I can't link to it as not all of it appears online but here is an article about Addington High's results).
As you can see from the data below, which lists the schools in Croydon Central in the order of the percentage of pupils achieving 5 A*-C passes including Maths and English, Coloma and Archbishop Tenison's have maintained their very high standards and a number of schools have seen significant increases in the percentage of pupils achieving 5A*-C passes:
Coloma 98% 5A*-C passes (-1), 87% 5A*-C passes including English and Maths (-4)
Archbishop Tenison's 99% 5A*-C passes (+13), 78% 5A*-C passes including English and Maths (+1)
Shirley High 97% 5A*-C passes (+2), 60% 5A*-C passes including English and Maths (+1)
St Mary's 60% 5A*-C passes (-3), 46% 5A*-C passes including English and Maths (-1)
Edenham 77% 5A*-C passes (+12), 45% 5A*-C passes including English and Maths (+2)
Oasis Academy 90% 5A*-C passes (+35), 43% 5A*-C passes including English and Maths (+17)
Addington High 76% 5A*-C passes (+8), 37% 5A*-C passes including English and Maths (no change)
Selsdon High 62% 5A*-C passes (+13), 23% 5A*-C passes including English and Maths (-6)
Congratulations to the pupils and teachers whose hard work has delivered those results. But it is noteworthy that by far and away the biggest improvement when you include English and Maths has been delivered by the Oasis Academy Shirley Park, which replaced Ashburton last September. There is a similar picture elsewhere in the borough with the Harris Academy Purley which replaced Haling Manor also showing a significant improvement.
As The Advertiser says, this is a vindication of the Council's decision to close under-performing schools and replace them with academies, a decision supported by the then Labour Government but opposed by complacent local Labour councillors. My Labour opponent at the General Election, Gerry Ryan, called Ashburton a "good community school" when its results were far from good and most local parents had lost confidence in the school. Not only has Oasis Shirley Park delivered a dramatic improvement in performance, more local parents are now choosing to send their children to the school, I get far fewer complaints about the behaviour of pupils on the way to and from school, despite being independent of the council the school is if anything more engaged in the local community and most importantly pupils themselves say the new school is much better. I am confident that the Quest Academy, which replaces Selsdon High this September, will - with support from the outstanding Coloma Convent Girls' School - deliver similar improvements.
But The Advertiser is also right to stress the importance of a level playing field. The previous Government only allowed under-performing secondary or all-through schools to become academies. The new coalition Government has changed the law so that all schools - primary as well as secondary, outstanding, good or satisfactory as well as under-performing - can apply if they wish to. And we need to ensure that academies receive their share of what the council spends on central services, not a penny less and not a penny more.