By Jaria Mirza (Year 11)
London Enterprise Academy in Tower Hamlets is one of the many school that thrives in this community but it’s not always seen or noticed, unless an expert says so! There is not many more high profile in education than Sir Michael Wilshaw.
On the 26th of March, London Enterprise Academy welcomed Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesties former Chief Inspector for Ofsted to inspect and tell the school how to improve and what makes LEA great. A few year 11 and year 9 pupils had been given the opportunity to be in the meeting and have a discussion with Sir Michael Wilshaw.
Mr. Ashid Ali, our Principal had said, Sir Michael was “Probably the toughest Head teacher in the UK when he was at Mossbourne Academy”, when I inquired. He says it as it is.
In light of this honour, it was also daunting but once engaging in conversation, the pupils felt the passion and need to discuss life at London Enterprise Academy.
Sir Michael Wilshaw had asked the students what they thought of the school. Aneesa (year 11) had said, “The school’s almost like a community and makes us feel like we are a part so that’s why I enjoy being here.” In my opinion, I couldn’t agree more, being a small school has its perks too one of them being the legacy we create and leave behind at London Enterprise Academy. The students discussed the one-to-one help teachers provide the students with as well as all the exam preparation and resources. Every student was provided with a laptop or Ipads which made learning and engaging easy during the two lockdown.
Sir Michael spent four hours at the school, visiting lessons in all year groups, talking to teachers about their experience in the improvement journey and senior leaders as well as students. He also enjoyed our school lunch.
This lead to the consequential question, what do you think, Mr. Wilshaw? His adept expertise had responded with blithe, he had said that LEA provides standard education facilities and learning flows throughout the infrastructure, “it is a normal school with normal day activities.” One can question the significance of “Normal” however for students who’ve lived through the pandemic and death of family, friends and neighbours, normal is something they seek.
Sir Michael was impressed with how well the pupils were engaging in lessons and was pleased learn about some of the talented pupils in the school including meeting a young author – myself.
On the other hand, Mr. Wilshaw had also communicated things that LEA could work on. He has seen the importance of an outdoor space and he said “movement should be sorted” throughout the building. The school has been working on its plans of providing pupils with a larger roof top garden and outdoor platforms. If they can’t expand the school grounds, they promise to expand the horizons both metaphorically and literally. In addition, Mr. Wilshaw had also left us with the advice of “moving ahead” and “accelerating” which I believe is very important especially in the comatose situation of the GCSE exams.
Students were also inquisitive about Mr. Wilshaw’s endeavours after retirement. He stated that he spends his days reading, gardening and travelling. Strikingly, Mr. Wilshaw has travelled almost all over the world! He has been to Asia, South America, and the Middle East. Most importantly, Mr. Wilshaw spends his retirement helping friends and providing his principled advice to school leaders.
I was curious about Sir Michael Wilshaw’s regrets so I asked: he had replied flippantly with working at Ofsted. Being an inspector is difficult; sometime Mr. Wilshaw would receive hate and would be called names such as “stupid” but at the end he believes his job is important as social money is spent on these schools thus its rightful people know how it’s spent and if it’s spent in accordance.
Furthermore, Education isn’t just about core subjects and intelligence, it’s also about building relationships and understanding the world. At London Enterprise Academy we are “learners for life” whilst still maintaining safety standards which is something Mr. Wilshaw agrees we should be proud of.
Ofsted inspected London Enterprise Academy on the 23rd of March to see how pupils are being educated at current times. The inspection feedback was very positive and will be shared with parents and the community when the report comes out.
Our Principal, Ashid Ali also stated that he was incredibly proud of his staff and students who have worked so hard throughout the pandemic to support pupils with their learning. The school provided daily live lessons for all pupils using MS Teams and invested in Covid Safety measures to provide a safe working and learning space for everyone.