Council leader is ‘impressed’ with progress made by technical college
PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 March 2020
Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell has visited a Dagenham technical college to see the progress being made.
He was accompanied by Jane Hargreaves, director of children's services, during the trip to the academy.
Elutec, which specialises in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) education for 14 to 19-year-olds, had been put into special measures by Ofsted in 2017.
Cllr Rodwell said he was impressed with the improvement and the school had turned a corner.
Friday's visit began with a look at the school's engineering workshop, before the councillor was met by members of Student Voice, the school council.
Of the concerns raised by the pupils, the most pressing was the lack of higher level technical opportunities, with particular hopes for possibilities at nearby Network Rail, TfL, and Coborn Engineering.
Mr Rodwell promised he would speak to firms to set up greater possibilities for local students.
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Other promises the council leader made included to create a racing day to showcase the pupils' Green Power racing project - which sees the pupils build their own electric cars - and to be interviewed by one teenager with ambitions to be a journalist.
Speaking about the visit, the council leader said meeting political representatives was an important part of helping young people have a broader outlook.
"I'm very much about that we don't have is gentrification in Dagenham," he said.
"What we have is aspiration. That has to start when you are young.
"What I want to see is our young people to say we like being in Barking and Dagenham, but we want to change the world."
Before leaving the college, the councillor toured classrooms to meet some of the students and hear about aspirations that ranged from Royal Navy engineer and robotics designer, to pilot and working for MI5.
Principal Kim Donovan said it was an excellent visit and it was fantastic the council leader showed such strong support for the school.
"We're an improving school that provides an excellent offer with world-class facilities for students that have a passion for subjects such as biology, physics, maths, computer science and engineering," she said.
"Taking advantage of the forthcoming studios, we have also introduced digital media and welcome students with a passion in that area."