Luton boasts pioneering academies, high achieving schools and a world-class university Luton has the highest proportion of school-age children in the country and the figure is expected to increase. 51 percent of children aged 0-15 in Luton are of BME origin. The Barnfield Federation, the first further education college in the country to run an academy, opened its third academy this spring – the UK’s first Further Education Enterprise Academy. While increasing academic attainment is the stated aim for all Luton’s schools, our pupils have already made real strides. In 2010 a higher percentage of pupils attained five or more GCSE grades A*-C and a higher percentage achieved two or more A-level passes than the English averages. Luton’s young people only need to look to Love Luton Academic Champion, Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, the pioneer of DNA fingerprinting, to know that their hard work can be rewarded with achievement and recognition. He attended Luton Sixth Form College, England’s first, which has just opened a new £56 million redevelopment educating 2,300 students.
The University of Bedfordshire, renowned for its dedication to driving social mobility through widening participation to higher education, has added to Luton’s diversity and skills base by attracting students from over 100 countries. Achieving royal charter in 1993 and becoming today’s recognised 6 site regional institute in 2006, the university is now an esteemed education provider spanning all of Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.
Some 22,500 students study at the University of Bedfordshire with more than 12,000 taught at the Luton campus. The University of Bedfordshire contributes a massive £300m to the local economy and has growing, global reputation for high quality teaching, excellent employability record and strong student support which goes to attracting its large student base. The University’s graduate employment rate sits at 92% employment 6 months after graduation as well as being ranked 11th in the UK for graduate entrepreneurial output, that is, for estimated graduate start up turnover. All of this success is supported by state of the art classroom facilities which has had over £180m investment over the past 5 years on 3 new academic buildings, sports facilities and a new library.
In its last quality audit by the Quality Assurance Agency (2015) the university was commended for its enhancement of student learning opportunities – the highest rating possible – and identified eight other areas of good practice. The university’s research was assessed through the Research Excellence Framework recently to find that nearly half of all its research is considered to be world leading or internationally excellent. All these quality marks go to show that the university offers exceptional educational opportunities at all levels for both its residents and those who come to study here.
51% of school children (aged 0-15) are of BME origin6and Luton has a range of high quality schools which are attaining or beating national attainment averages.
Luton’s three academies are run by the Barnfield Federation. In September 2007, Barnfield broke new ground by being the first Further Education College in the country to sponsor two significantly under performing secondary schools, create academies and form a federation.
In under three academic years, GCSE results have more than tripled in both academies, and, from a position of special measures, they are now judged as ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ by Ofsted.
In September 2010, Barnfield opened the Barnfield Enterprise Academy Studio School, the first of its kind in the world.8The new school provides a full-time 14-19 academy offering a practical work-related learning environment designed to equip young entrepreneurs with the enterprise and employability skills to be successful. Without doubt, this will provide a further boost to the entrepreneurialism already demonstrated in Luton.
Education Attainment. Out of 888 secondary schools in England inspected by Ofsted in 2009/10, 13% were rated outstanding, 36% good, 41% satisfactory and 11% inadequate. The ten secondary schools most recently inspected by Ofsted in Luton show that 20% were rated outstanding (higher than the 2009/10 English average), 50% rated good (higher than the national average) and none rated inadequate.
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Arriva; A Thin Place; Barnfield College; British Land; easyJet; FCC Environment; Gulfstream; Heart FM; Keepmoat; London Luton Airport; Luton Borough Council; Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa; Luton on Sunday; The Mall; Signature Flight Support; University of Bedfordshire; Vauxhall Motors; VolkerFitzpatrick and VolkerHighways.