Tale of two boroughs!

Being neighbouring boroughs with similar population profile and inter community links, Brent and Harrow have opportunities to learn from each other, especially in the field of education.
Therefore, an interest whether Harrow could learn from Brent once again, this time from the Brent’s education action plan (2014) based on the recommendations of the Brent Education Commission, chaired by Christine Gilbert, a well known educationist who progressed from Harrow.
“There are things that we in Harrow could learn from our colleagues in Brent, the flow of learning has clearly been in the opposite direction” said Chris Spencer, corporate director of Harrow children’s services.
IMG_4760dIn 1985, the ‘Two Kingdoms’, Brent’s education report that forcefully located pupils’ under-achievement in the education system, came at the time when Harrow was struggling to adopt an equal opportunities policy as its school population was rapidly changing, raising concerns about the achievement by different groups of pupil.
Education initiatives like the Development Programme for Racial Equality (DPRE), inspired Harrow education in a number of ways at the time, but by 1990s, the value of the Brent’s educational initiatives was lost in the mist of the local and national politics.
While Brent, with a higher deprivation factor, has struggled to address its educational achievement, Harrow has made progress in pupils’ academic care, partly because of the thriving private tutoring and excellent leadership of the well established Harrow School Improvement Partnership (HSIP).
Chris_Spencer_photos2Mr Spencer informs that senior officers from Harrow and some of the  HSIP associates have been advising schools in Brent on all aspects of school improvement.
But things are changing. While the Harrow’s education direction is uncertain because of the management restructuring and LA savings (still short of £7m), Brent is fully determined to excel and the Brent Schools Partnership under the strategic direction of the HISP leadership is all set to positively impact Brent’s educational outcomes.
Brent is not short of good practices either: for example, its education authority is more community orientated with readily available information about its work and the school matters like the school funding from various streams, keeping the Freedom of Information requests low.