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Working collaboratively with staff from Highgate School, the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham (LAET) has been making use of state-of-the-art design, technology and engineering (DTE) equipment to produce vital supplies for National Health Service (NHS) staff engaged in battling the coronavirus. LAET is producing protective face shields at a rate of around 1,000 pieces a week that are provided to local health and clinical facilities. The equipment used to do this, which includes 3D printers and laser cutters, is part of the sponsorship offered by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (FC), whose investment in LAET is geared at providing the area’s brightest students with the best chance of a quality education.

LAET’s sponsors Tottenham Hotspur and Highgate School have played an instrumental role in ensuring the institution can play a part in shoring up supplies of vital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In commenting about this latest development, Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Daniel Levy was happy that the school had put to good use the equipment it invested in.

LAET Headteacher Jan Balon, on the other hand, praised the staff for giving up their free time to help health workers on the front line. His counterpart at Highgate, Adam Pettitt, was equally delighted by the ingenuity of the teachers and support staff during this difficult time.

London Academy of Excellence

LAET provides state-funded Sixth Form education to deserving young people in the Tottenham area. Financial support for LAET’s activities is provided by the football club, while Highgate School provides educational support. In recruiting students, the school prioritises those from disadvantaged backgrounds (from a socio-economic perspective) and local students who will likely benefit from its academically rigorous curriculum. The school is located at Lilywhite House, which is adjacent to Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium site.

LAET partners with eight other London-area independent schools that include Chigwell, Alleyn’s, Harrow, John Lon, St Dunstan’s, North London Collegiate, and Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’. The school’s model borrows from the successful London Academy of Excellence (LAE) Stratford initiative that was established in 2012 by leading independent schools such as Eton College, King’s College School, Caterham School and Brighton College, among others. In setting up LAE, these institutions had the aim of increasing the quality and supply of A-level students who could then attend university.

In the LAE model, the independent schools share their expertise in academics and co-curricular activities and are linked to a house within the LAE. This partnership ensures that houses can visit their associated independent schools and interact with their student counterparts. Beyond bringing students together, it allows close collaboration and the building of networks that can be useful in the future. Additionally, partner schools can support various departments within the LAE, while the latter schedules sporting fixtures against the former.

At LAE Tottenham, students have the choice of four A level subjects, with the curriculum consisting of courses that provide the best chance of progressing to top institutions at university level. The majority of students take up four courses until they finish Year 12, then study three in the following year.

Stepping in to Help

During the coronavirus pandemic, organisations have stepped in to help in various ways. Tottenham Hotspur is among them, having opened the doors to its stadium for use by the North Middlesex Hospital. Specifically, the club has repurposed and fitted out various facilities within the stadium to provide capacity for the hospital’s Women’s Outpatient Services, which provides healthcare and support to pregnant women. The club’s move has resulted in the transformation of areas such as the Media Entrance and Café, Auditorium, NFL Away changing room, football Away dressing room and Flash interview rooms for clinical use.

Tottenham’s show of support is among the many inspiring examples of organisations doing their best in uncertain times. By offering support, the club is helping the community in a big way and ensuring that its fans, from season ticket holders such as Kevin Neal to those who cheer them on from around the world, have a reason to keep supporting the team.