This London sixth form is now officially one of the world’s best schools

A Stratford sixth form has become the only UK state school in the World Leading Schools Association

India Lawrence
Written by
India Lawrence
Contributing writer
Students at LAE Stratford
Photograph: Jamie Smith Photography

You don’t have to go to a private school to get a top-drawer education. A sixth form in London for students from deprived backgrounds has become the first state school to join the uber prestigious World Leading Schools Association.

London Academy of Excellence (LAE) will give Eton, Harrow and Winchester a run for their money by being the fourth UK school to be added to the elite list. LAE has proven it really has the chops when it comes to education – it is also the only state school outside of China to join the association.

Being a member of the prestigious group means that students from LAE Stratford will be able to access exclusive scholarships to elite American universities. 

Dubbed the ‘Eton of the East End’, most students at LAE Stratford come from low income households. 

Headteacher Alex Crossman said the opportunity to attend Ivy League colleges, which are increasingly popular to high achievers from the UK, is ‘life-changing’.

‘We’re honoured to join a network of schools dedicated to providing needs-blind university access to students from all backgrounds,’ said Crossman.

‘Most LAE students are ambitious, brilliant young people from low-income homes. Attending a US university is a dream they can only realise by winning one of the handful of fiercely competitive full scholarships available per university.’

At the moment, an average of four LAE students a year attend top US universities, including Harvard and Yale. But thanks to their admission to the World Leading Schools Association this number is expected to go through the roof.

To join the group, schools must have excellent academic results and show a willingness to exchange ideas with the other school members. Schools are also required to provide ‘need based aid’. Simon Henderson, headmaster of Eton, and Alistair Land, headmaster of Harrow, both backed LAE’s application to join the group and gave their written support. 

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